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USC-Boston College Unfiltered

ABC

USC Falls to Boston College

ABC Boston College quarterback Tyler Murphy rushed for 191 yards, breaking free for a 66-yard touchdown with 3:30 to play on Saturday night as Boston College beat No. 9 Southern California 37-31 – the Eagles’ first victory over a top 10 team in a decade. Jon Hilliman ran for 89 yards and two touchdowns, and Myles Willis and receiver Sherman Alston each broke off runs of 50-plus yards to help BC (2-1) amass 464 rushing yards. USC (2-1) was coming off an emotional victory over Pac-12 rival Stanford that moved the Trojans up five spots in The Associated Press Top 25. Cody Kessler completed 31 of 41 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns, but he was also sacked five times. The Eagles had not beaten a top 10 team since a victory over 10th-ranked West Virginia in 2004. The last time an unranked BC team beat a top 10 team was a 2002 victory over No. 4 Notre Dame in South Bend that cost the Irish a chance at the national championship. The Eagles trailed 17-6 in the second quarter before scoring 24 unanswered points. Leading 27-17 with 12:22 to play, Murphy started the drive with back-to-back runs for a combined 52 yards and BC moved to the USC 5 yard-line. But the Eagles settled for a 25-yard field goal that – thanks to a missed extra point on their opening score – left them with a 13-point lead. USC took over at its own 25 with 7:42 left and engineered a 10-play drive that finished with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kessler to Nelson Agholor. Getting the ball at its 28 with 4:25 left, Murphy moved BC to the 34 before breaking through the line and streaking into the end zone. Kessler led USC to another score, hitting Darreus Rogers from 14-yards out to make it a six-point game with 78 seconds left. Shakim Phillips covered the onside kick for BC, and Hilliman broke off a 22-yard run to help the Eagles milk the clock. The Trojans gained their first advantage when punter Kris Albarado couldn’t handle the snap but he recovered to launch a low line drive that rolled all the way to the BC 10-yard line. The Eagles couldn’t move the ball before a punt that set USC up at the BC 38. An 18-yard pass from Kessler to Randall Teifer moved the Trojans inside the 10, and two plays later Kessler hit George Farmer for an 8-yard score. The Eagles again went three-and-out before a punt that allowed USC to start at the BC 33; the field goal made it 10-0. But what looked like the start of an expected rout never materialized. On BC’s next play, Willis broke free on a 52-yard run to the USC 26, and BC moved easily before Tyler Rouse ran it in from the 4 on the first play of the second quarter. The kick failed, leaving USC with a 10-6 lead, and the Trojans made it 17-6 with a 51-yard pass to Javorius Allen on a third-and-12. Again BC responded, thanks to a 16-yard run by Murphy, and a 23-yarder before he was pushed out at the 3. Hilliman took it in from there to make it 17-13. It stayed that way until the Eagles took over at their own 46-yard line and Sherman Alston broke loose on the opening play of the drive for a 54 yard touchdown run that give the Eagles a 20-17 lead. BC got the ball back and advanced to the Trojans’ 30 but missed a field goal in the closing seconds of the quarter. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery

#9 USC Heads East to Face Boston College

ABC No. 9 USC, coming off thrilling and hard-fought late victory at No. 13 Stanford, now travels across the country to face ACC foe Boston College in an under-the-lights East-versus-West matchup. This will be the teams’ third meeting in 6 years. Although USC played on the East Coast just 2 years ago (versus Syracuse in East Rutherford, N.J.), the Trojans have ventured only once before into Boston: a convincing season-opening win at Boston College in 1988, Troy’s first-ever appearance on ESPN (which also will nationally televise this week’s game). The series was kickstarted by BC/USC grad Jeff Keith, a Swim With Mike recipient. The Trojans have won two-thirds of their games against ACC opponents. Beware, it could rain on Saturday. USC gets a bye next week. Troy, under new head coach Steve Sarkisian, utilizes an up-tempo no huddle offense led by on-the-rise QB Cody Kessler (already No. 13 on USC’s career passing list), TB Javorius Allen (the Pac-12’s No. 2 rusher who has 2 consecutive 100-yard ground games and now is a 1,000-yard career runner) and WR Nelson Agholor, coming off a career-best outing for receptions. The stout Trojan defense, which is in the national Top 15 in interceptions, turnover margin, scoring defense and red zone defense, is led by All-American DE Leonard Williams, 2-time season tackle leader ILB Hayes Pullard and 2013 Freshman All-American S Su’a Cravens. USC, which has yet to suit up more than 60 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations, uses a number of true freshmen, including 3-way CB-WR Adoree’ Jackson and starting OGs Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama. Boston College, in the midst of a 4-game homestand, dropped its ACC opener last week to Pittsburgh after starting its 2014 slate with a victory over in-state rival Massachusetts. Head coach Steve Addazio’s squad, which returned just 9 starters from 2013 (only 3 on offense), is led on offense by dual threat QB Tyler Murphy, a Florida transfer who against UMass became the first BC signalcaller since the 1980s to run for 100 yards in a game. RBs Tyler Rouse and Myles Willis supplement a ground attack that is 25th nationally, while WRs Dan Crimmins and ex-quarterback Josh Bordner are the top pass catchers. LBs Sean Duggan and Josh Keyes help lead the Eagles’ defense. Following the trip to Boston College, the Trojans return to the Coliseum on Sept. 23 to take on Pac-12 rival Oregon State. USC Media Release (pdf)

USC-Stanford Unfiltered

ABC

USC Holds Off Stanford

ABC Andre Heidari kicked a career-long 53-yard field goal with 2:30 remaining, J.R. Tavai forced a fumble to end Stanford’s comeback bid and No. 14 Southern California held off the No. 13 Cardinal 13-10 Saturday. With Stanford threatening to tie or take the lead, Tavai came from Kevin Hogan’s blindside to jar the ball loose. Scott Felix recovered at the Trojans 26-yard-line with 19 seconds to play, sealing new coach Steve Sarkisian’s first major victory at USC (2-0, 1-0) and upending the two-time defending Pac-12 champions. Javorius Allen ran for a career-high 154 yards, and Nelson Agholor had a career-high nine receptions for 91 yards to help the Trojans do just enough on offense to win at Stanford Stadium for the first time since 2008. Heidari also kicked a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter. The Trojans had gained 701 yards while running a conference-record 105 plays in a 52-13 win over Fresno State last week. But Stanford slowed down Cody Kessler and USC’s up-tempo offense most of the afternoon. Stanford outgained the Trojans 413 to 291 but had too many mistakes to overcome. The Cardinal committed two turnovers, eight penalties for 68 yards and missed two fields. Stanford’s 17-game home winning streak – which was the longest in the country – also ended. Kessler underwent an unspecified procedure on one of his toes this week but showed no effects of the injury. Instead, the Cardinal’s physical defense proved to be the problem. Kessler completed 15 of 22 passes for 135 yards but directed the Trojans when it mattered most. Sarkisian sent his offense on the field for a fourth-and-5 from the 35-yard line before calling a timeout to go for a field goal at the end of USC’s final drive. Heidari connected from 53 yards, turned around and pumped his arms at the Trojans faithful in the far corner of the stands. USC stunned Stanford in similar fashion last season to end a four-game losing streak in the series. Heidari kicked a 47-yard field goal with 19 seconds to play in USC’s 20-17 win over the Cardinal last year in Los Angeles. Stanford still had one last chance to erase those memories. Hogan completed passes of 7 and 19 yards to Ty Montgomery and 16 yards to Michael Rector to put the Cardinal in position to come back. Then Tavai rushed from the outside to knock the ball loose, sending the USC sideline into a frenzy, including the Trojans faithful that sprinkled around the announced sellout crowd of 50,844. But it was the big plays on the field that led the Trojans to victory. USC stuffed Stanford fullback Daniel Marx on fourth-and-1 from the 3-yard line, and Heidari finished off USC’s next drive with a tying field goal late in the third quarter. Hogan also had a 28-yard TD pass to Austin Hooper that was wiped away by a 15-yard penalty on Remound Wright for an illegal block in the back. The Cardinal punted from USC’s 32 instead of trying a long field goal. Stanford had seven penalties, a botched snap and a missed field goal in the first half but still led 10-7 at the break. Fullback Patrick Skov, brother of former standout middle linebacker Shayne Skov, bulldozed through the line for a 2-yard TD run – the first of his career – in the second quarter. And Jordan Williamson, who missed from 49 yards out in the first quarter, kicked a 33-yarder in the final seconds of the half. USC started off strong, stopping Stanford before engineering a 12-play, 68-yard opening drive that Justin Davis capped with 1-yard touchdown scamper. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery

USC Heads to Stanford to Open Pac-12 Play

ABC The first Pac-12 game of 2014 is a dandy: #15 USC goes on the road for the first time this year and faces 2-time defending Pac-12 champion #11 Stanford. The Cardinal is Troy’s oldest rival (the first game was in 1905). Last year’s game saw the Trojans pull out a thrilling last-second victory over #Stanford, as USC fans rushed the Coliseum field. But not only has the Cardinal won 5 of the last 7 matchups between the teams, USC is barely over .500 in its past 11 trips to Palo Alto and the Trojans have won only a third of the time against ranked Stanford squads. Troy is hoping to continue the mojo of last Saturday, as the Steve Sarkisian era got off to a rousing start with a home rout over Fresno State. QB Cody Kessler (394 passing yards with 4 TDs) directed an up-tempo USC offense that set a Pac-12 record for plays (105) while rolling up 701 yards and 37 first downs. WR Nelson Agholor had 2 TD grabs and TB Javorius Allen ran for 133 yards. The USC defense, behind the play of All-American DE Leonard Williams and 2-year tackle leader ILB Hayes Pullard, came up with 4 interceptions while limiting Fresno State to 13 points and 317 total yards. USC’s touted true freshmen played key roles (11 played in the game), as CB-WR Adoree’ Jackson was a 3-way player, WR-S JuJu Smith had 123 receiving yards, OGs Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama became the first Trojan frosh pair to start an opener on the line and TE Bryce Dixon caught a TD. The NCAA sanction-free Trojans still have a limited roster (67 recruited scholarship players, with only 62 currently available to play and only 57 of those healthy for the opener). Stanford, under head coach David Shaw (whose uncle was an All-American cornerback and then assistant coach at USC), has seen his team win 2 consecutive league championships and string together a 16-game home winning streak, including an opening shutout over FCS foe UC Davis this past weekend. The Cardinal offense, led by 3-year starting QB Kevin Hogan, features WR Ty Montgomery, also a dangerous return specialist, and a runner who is the son of a Heisman winner (TB Barry Sanders). The Stanford offensive line consists of all juniors, including OT Andrus Peat, while the retooled defense is guided by veterans such as DE Henry Anderson, CB Wayne Lyons and S Jordan Richards. PK Jordan Williamson is the school’s career point scorer. The game will air live nationally on ABC. USC Media Release (pdf)

USC-Fresno State Unfiltered

ABC

USC Thumps Fresno State Behind Kessler’s Four TDs

ABC Cody Kessler threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns and No. 15 USC finished with a 52-13 win over Fresno State in Steve Sarkisian’s debut as the Trojans’ head coach. The Trojans ran a school- and Pac-12 record 105 plays while racking up 37 first downs and 702 yards of total offense to Fresno State’s 16 first downs and 315 yards. In all, 10 different Trojans caught passes in Sarkisian’s up-tempo offense. For the Bulldogs, the loss was their third straight in the series to USC. The Trojans scored early and kept going, with Nelson Agholor leading the way with two first-half touchdown grabs. Freshmen played a prominent part in the game as tight end Bryce Dixon and two-way player Adoree Jackson each had TD catches. Freshman JuJu Smith had four catches for 123 yards. Tailback Javorius Allen led the USC ground attack with 133 yards on 22 carries, including a nine-yard scoring run. Justin Davis added 30 yards on 12 carries. Fresno State alternated quarterbacks Brian Burrell and Duke transfer Brandon Connette. Burrell was 11 of 19 with one interception and was the more productive of the two. Tailback Marteze Waller scored both touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He finished with 97 yards on 16 carries. AP Recap | Final Stats | Photo Gallery

Steve Sarkisian Era Begins Against Fresno State

ABC The Steve Sarkisian era at USC begins with a Labor Day weekend home game against Fresno State. It is Sark’s fifth stop at Troy (student-athlete, grad assistant, assistant coach, offensive coordinator and now head coach after 5 years running Washington’s program), so he knows all things USC and has been part of some impressive Trojan teams (including the 2003 national champs). He is aiming to be the sixth Trojan head coach in a row to have a successful debut. Fresno State is a familiar foe for the No. 15 Trojans, who defeated the Bulldogs in the 2013 Las Vegas Bowl. It’s the first time in nearly 100 years that USC has played the same opponent in consecutive games. USC has won its past 15 openers. Although the Trojans’ NCAA sanctions are now behind them, they still sport a limited roster of recruited scholarship players (64 are currently available). Eighteen USC starters return from last year’s 10-4 team, including a trio of 2014 pre-season All-American first teamers (DE Leonard Williams, WR Nelson Agholor and S Su’a Cravens). Last year, Williams won All-American acclaim while getting 13.5 tackles for loss, Agholor was the nation’s No. 2 punt returner and caught 56 passes, and Cravens was a Freshman All-American (he had 4 interceptions). Other standout Trojan returnees are ILB Hayes Pullard (USC’s tackle leader for 2 seasons), QB Cody Kessler (he threw for 20 TDs and nearly 3,000 yards last year), TB Javorius “Buck” Allen (1,027 all-purpose yards in 2013, including 785 rushing) and CB-S Josh Shaw (4 picks last year). USC also brought in a Top 10-ranked recruiting class, and 2 of them (freshmen OGs Toa Lobendahn and Damien Mama) could start on the offensive line this week (something that has happened just once before at Troy) while several others could see action on both sides of the ball. USC has lost only once to a Mountain West Conference foe, and that was to Fresno State in 1992. Head coach Tim DeRuyter’s 2-time defending MWC champ Bulldogs, who won a school record 11 games in 2013, return 15 starters but only 5 on offense (among the offensive losses were record-setting QB Derek Carr and potent WRs Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse). WR Josh Harper, a 1,000-yard receiver last year, is back, as are the team’s top 2 rushers (TBs Josh Quezada and Marteze Waller). The quarterback will be either relatively-untested Brian Burrell or Duke transfer Brandon Connette, a dangerous runner. Headlining the veteran Bulldog defense are S Derron Smith (a 2-time All-MWC first teamer with 14 career picks) and 2013 tackle leaders Karl Mickelsen and Kyrie Wilson at linebacker. Fans will notice many enhancements to their game-day experience in the Coliseum, including free public pre-game clubs in the tailgating area as well as on-field suites and premium clubs located on the field and outside the Peristyle. There also is a new on-campus tailgating experience. A number of significant USC seasons mark anniversaries in 2014, including the 1974 and 2004 national championship years and the Heisman-winning campaigns of Charles White and Matt Leinart. Late USC Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini will be honored at the game (the Trojans will wear a special helmet decal in his memory) and Trojan All-American Tony Boselli will be saluted for recent induction into the College Football Hall of Fame. The game will be shown live nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes. Complete Media Release (pdf)

Fall Camp

ABC The Trojans will conduct their 2014 pre-season practices on the USC campus, unless noted. Drills begin August 4 and lead up to Troy’s August 30 home opener against Fresno State. 8/4 Monday 6:15 Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/5 Tuesday 6:15 Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/6 Wednesday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/7 Thursday 1:45 (at Coliseum) Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/8 Friday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/9 Saturday – No Practice 8/10 Sunday 8:45  and 7:00 Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/11 Monday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/12 Tuesday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/13 Wednesday 8:45 and 6:45 (at Coliseum) Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/14 Thursday – No Practice 8/15 Friday 8:45 and 7:00 Notes & Sark Video 8/16 Saturday 1:45 (at Coliseum) Notes & Sark Video 8/17 Sunday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/18 Monday 9:00 and 6:45 (at Coliseum) Notes & Sark Video | Photos 8/19 Tuesday – No Practice 8/20 Wednesday 9:00 and 6:45 Notes & Sark Video 8/21 Thursday 2:30 Notes & Sark Video 8/22 Friday 9:15 and 4:15 Notes & Sark Video 8/23 Saturday 2:00 (at Coliseum) – Salute To Troy at 5:30 Notes & Sark Video Pre-Season Notes (pdf) | 2014 USC Football Media Guide