USC at Boston College: USC Offense vs. BC Defense

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Sep 6, 2014; Stanford, CA, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler (6) reacts after the Trojans recovered a fumble against the Stanford Cardinal in the fourth quarter at Stanford Stadium. The Trojans defeated the Cardinal 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

USC Offense vs. BC Defense: Stat Analysis

Let the previous page serve as a lesson for why stats after two games should be taken with a grain of salt. If one looked at Boston College’s defensive numbers, one might think they are fine, but the averages shown are almost certainly going to worsen following Saturday.

We do see that Boston College has not allowed a bunch of passing yards so far, but that is because teams like Pittsburgh can rush against the Eagles, and because UMass could not do anything in any offensive phase.

What we also see is that the Eagles’ sack totals are nowhere near on pace for their 2013 totals, just two games into the season. The Eagles were up over 2.7 sacks per game last season following a pass rush resurgence, given Don Brown’s blitz-happy philosophy, but that 1.5 sacks/game includes three against UMass and none against Pittsburgh, despite the Eagles eventually putting some big hits on Chad Voytik.

That USC’s numbers are still decent even having played Stanford last week does show that the Trojans at least look capable on offense again this season.

Stats don’t totally tell you what’s going on up front, however, and in that department, Boston College suffered greatly in line play against the Trojans last season. Even with two freshmen on the line, Damien Mama and Toa Lobendahn, USC should still be respectable at the line of scrimmage. Please also kindly note that Mama is 370 pounds, but 330-pound freshman Viane Talamaivao could play in his stead.

USC Offense vs. BC Defense: Notable Injuries

• USC RB Tre Madden reportedly is not “100 percent” and his status for Saturday is unknown, though sounding doubtful.

USC Offense vs. BC Defense: Key Matchup

WR Nelson Agholor vs. DBs Bryce Jones/Manny Asprilla. Either one of those Eagles could end up covering Agholor, but USC’s leading receiver is going to get some work this weekend. Pittsburgh showed that you can run on Boston College, and junior RB Javorius Allen is a big enough guy to get things done, but the Trojans and Cody Kessler aired it out against Boston College to great success last season, and can do it again.

With Agholor as the go-to guy, expect to see him with targets. If the Eagles can slow him down, that would be a step in the right direction.

USC Offense vs. BC Defense: Final Analysis

Boston College’s defense has had a fair amount of trouble tackling in the first two games of this season (though not like this is a new problem), and against a team as talented as USC, that is a recipe for disaster.

The Eagles have at times bent but not broken, but the Trojans bring to Boston College a big offensive line and skill players who are showing promise, even in the likely absence of Tre Madden.

The Boston College defensive line got some pressure on Voytik last week, but will need to find a lot more to make an impact in this trench battle. Meanwhile, USC could easily score 30 points if the Eagles continue their issues with tackling.

USC Offense vs. BC Defense: USC Favored