The Boston College Eagles (2-0) travel nearly 3,000 miles to Los Angeles to play the University of Southern California Trojans (1-1) at Noon Pacific Time – an unusually early kickoff – September 14th in the L. A. Memorial Coliseum. This is only the fourth matchup ever by these two schools’ football programs. The telecast will be on the Pac-12 Network, meaning many fans won’t be watching the game on television.
Head coaches going in opposite directions
The Eagles have a new head coach in an energizing Steve Addazio and enter this gridiron battle undefeated with two victories which is as many as they had all of last season. The Trojans are coming off a disappointing upset loss at the hands of Washington State (see related articles) – a game that saw two USC quarterbacks throw for a paltry 54 yards total. And as a result, head coach Lane Kiffin appears to be on the hot seat at this point for the men of Troy.
Boston College is led on offense by a trio of seniors. The quarterback is Chase Rettig, a SoCal product, who over two games is 30 of 44 for a little over 400 yards and four touchdowns with one interception. Rettig’s preferred receiver is Alex Amidon while running back Andre Williams is averaging 159 yards per game on the ground.
Defenses may dominate
However, these Eagle seniors had better be prepared for a Trojan defense that has shown to be fast and quick with the ability to make life miserable for the quarterback – they lead the nation in sacks. George Uko and Leonard Williams anchor a strong frontline with Morgan Breslin doing his usual relentless attack of opposing offensive players. True, the USC secondary is flawed but so far, offenses have not been able to take advantage of the men of Troy's weakest unit.
As far as Boston College’s defense is concerned, they have played well although they haven’t really been challenged yet. The Eagles have given up some yards but not much in the way of points. They have an aggressive style not unlike the Trojans, plus Boston College often changes their defensive looks during the game.
This could confuse USC’s now full-time quarterback Cody Kessler who has only played roughly two halves of live action under center so far in his career. Still, he will have all snaps in practice with the first unit and that might help build some confidence and cohesiveness in an offense that at least has shown a decent running attack if not much else. Look for Kiffin to open it up a bit for Kessler and don’t be surprised if the Trojans' talented tight ends get in on the action.
Of course, as always, watch for the most talented player in any game he plays in: wide receiver Marqise Lee. By the way, Kessler ran for the only touchdown against Washington State - look for his play-making abilities to grow. Speaking of running, Tre Madden has become a stalwart at tailback and has given his team a rushing attack even without injured starter Silas Redd and his backup D.J. Morgan.
The contest will be played under clear skies with temperatures nearing 90 during the middle of the game. With Addazio upbeat style, the Boston College Eagles' confidence is obviously optimistic; but, they’ve not met up with a team as athletic and fast as the USC Trojans. Defenses may dominate the day but in the end, the Eagles will be overmatched by the Trojans talent. Final score: USC 27 – Boston College 13.
Following the game, although they get a bye next week, it doesn’t get any easier for the Eagles when they return home to play powerful #10 Florida State on September 28. Meanwhile, the Trojans stay home for another game in the Coliseum, this time against a dangerous Utah State squad on September 21.
Sources: Boston College, University of Southern California