McGillen Galleries: USC vs. BC

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The result was not pretty in Boston, but the pictures captured the drama as USC falls for the first time this season.  Here are three John McGillen galleries starting with pregame followed by 1st half and 2nd half...

6-Points: BC 37, USC 31

The Trojans fall to 2-1 on the season as Boston College pulls off the upset thanks to a dominant ground game.

Click here for the recap and final stats.

Click here for the post-game press conference.

10405540_850098808355659_7766945573362545835_n.jpgCouldn't Stop It

Boston College defeated USC despite only passing for 54 yards on 13 attempts.  How is that possible?  Well, the Eagles ran for 452 yards, the most by a USC opponent since 1977, led by their quarterback Tyler Murphy, who had 191 rush yards on 13 carries (14.7 yards per carry).  "We just needed to stop the quarterback, and unfortunately, we couldn't," said S Su'a Cravens. "I'm telling myself and I'm telling my guys, don't be sad over a game like this, be disappointed, because they didn't beat us.  We lost this game, and they did a great job of taking advantage of the mistakes we made."

Couldn't Start It

On the other side of the ball, the Trojans pounded away at BC's defense with Buck Allen but never made a dent.  After back-to-back 100-yard rushing games to start the season, Allen produced only 31 yards on the ground, and with sack yardage included, the USC offense was limited to 20 total rush yards.  "Obviously, the plays we were trying to run weren't the best plays," said head coach and play-caller Steve Sarkisian who took responsibility. "We've got to look at one, the game plan, two, the execution, and the third piece of this is that at some point, you have to defeat your man."

Sizzle Then Fizzle

With all the talk of a letdown, the Trojans actually started on fire.  They led 10-0 after the first quarter and 17-6 before BC ran off 24 unanswered points.  "I felt like the energy in the locker room getting ready to take the field was really good, and we probably played our best football early in the game," said Sarkisian. "For whatever reason, we lost that focus and that spark, and that's what I have to figure out."

Not All Gloom and Doom

The Trojans failed in terms of "execution" but the "effort" was there, according to Sarkisian.  They made a couple late pushes, but could not get over the hump.  Nevertheless, WR George Farmer scored his first touchdown, and CB Chris Hawkins secured his first interception.  S Su'a Cravens had three tackles-for-loss, and RB Buck Allen caught nine passes for 118 yards.  Also, Andre Heidari drilled a 52-yard field goal to keep his confidence rolling.

Keep Cody Clean

While it took the Trojans too long to get the passing game started, Cody Kessler delivered another sterling performance when given time.  He finished 31/41 for 317 yards and 4 TDs without a turnover.  However, he was sacked five times, which he explained was a combination of needing to make better calls at the line and a lack of physicality up front. "At the end of the day, I am not worried," said Kessler. "This team knows how to fight back and they are going to bounce back from this."

Been Here Before

These Trojans are no stranger to adversity, so while this loss comes as a shock after all the excitement from the Stanford victory, they have no intention of letting it linger.  USC enters its bye week with plenty on which to improve, but also carrying the "next play" mindset that the coaches preach on a daily basis.  "I am glad that we got this out of the way early," said WR George Farmer. "We're going to come back and fight on this bye week and clean up everything and come back and fight hard for Oregon State."

2014: Boston College Friday Night Video

The Trojans look to continue their impressive start to the 2014 season under the lights at Alumni Stadium with a win over the Boston College Eagles. To get ready for this primetime showdown, check out this week's Friday Night Video:

2014 Game 3: USC vs. Boston College

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No. 9 USC Trojans (2-0) at Boston College Eagles (1-1)

Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, MA, at 5 p.m. PT on ESPN and Watch ESPN

Eagle to Watch: Senior QB Tyler Murphy

tyler-murphy.jpgThe Florida transfer has been dynamic with his legs this season, although not always accurate with his arm.  The veteran QB has doubled up any Eagles running back in terms of rush yardage, but he is only completing 52% of his passes.  So far, how he goes, BC goes.  He was outstanding in the win over UMass (173 pass yards and 118 rush yards accounting for 2 TDs), but ordinary in the loss to Pitt (134 pass yards and 92 rush yards accounting with 2 interceptions).

Click here for more on the Eagles.

3 Keys

The L Word

The Trojans' biggest job this week is to avoid the dreaded letdown against a seemingly inferior opponent after an emotional game on the road.  Steve Sarkisian has seen no signs of complacency this week during practice, and the team leaders understand the task at hand.  By all evidence, the Trojans are more talented than the Eagles, so if they bring the same intensity as last week, the long flight home will be a celebratory one.

First of Many

In Tyler Murphy, USC will face its first true mobile quarterback of the new season, but certainly not its last.  The Eagles rank 26th in the nation in rushing largely because Murphy is averaging 105 yards per game with his legs.  While Murphy is not Brett Hundley or Marcus Mariota, he is a good first test for the USC defense which will spend much of the rest of the season chasing around speedy quarterbacks.

Restart the Ferrari

The Trojans raced out of the gate against Fresno State sporting a shiny new uptempo offense, which dropped 52 points in three quarters.  However, USC never found its rhythm in Palo Alto, and the offense resorted to ground and pound trying to balance out the disparity in time of possession.  Assuming the defense can provide more opportunities for the offense, the Trojans can start to rack up the play total that set records in week one and enabled Cody Kessler to distribute the ball to 10 different playmakers.


Stevens Academic Center Spotlight: Hayley Crone

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

USC athletes are more than just champions on the field, court, diamond
and pool, they're champions in the classroom as well. Throughout the year, we will get to know one of these scholarly Trojans a little better in our student-athlete spotlight.

Name: Hayley Cronechevron-athlete-wvb-crone.jpg
Year: Senior
Sport: Women's Volleyball
Major: Communications

Sarah Bergstrom (SB): What about USC made you want to come here? Was it the closeness to home or something else?

Hayley Crone (HC):
I have a lot of family that went here. I'm holding the legacy within the family. It is close to home, just an hour and 45 minutes so it's close but there's distance at the same time. Being able to have my parents come to every game is nice. I love SC, it's the best place ever.

Did any of the older girls on the team prepare you for what it would be like to balance playing collegiate volleyball and also having to take classes at USC?

The seniors are really good about taking the freshmen in, that's something we focus on. It's so crazy to think I was a freshman three years ago, it goes by so fast. But the seniors were so helpful when I was a freshman, telling me what classes to take. We always do this activity were we show the girls where their classes are at the start of the semester. The seniors are really helpful. Mick [Haley] always wants us to act like this is one team, we aren't the seniors and the freshmen. We are one team and that mindset helps the freshmen a lot.

SB: What was the hardest thing to adjust to in coming to college?

HC: I remember my freshman year we went to Penn State the first week of school. I had no idea what was going on at school, I was so focused on volleyball and I missed class. I was really lost. Traveling your freshman year is really hard because you miss so much. Just learning how to balance class, travel and volleyball was really hard. My freshman year we also went to the Final Four. We went from Hawaii to Texas and all of that was during finals. I took all my first finals on the road and that was really hard. You just have to learn to adjust to that. You learn to communicate better with your professors and TAs and it gets better.

SB: Obviously she's one of your best friends, so this might be a funny question to think about, but what did you learn from Natalie Hagglund when she was here both as an athlete and a student?

HC: (laughs) That is a funny question since Nat is one of my best friends. But Nat is a girl who excels in every aspect of life. She is so competitive.  Whether it's in the classroom, on the court, she just wants to do her best. Anything less than that she just won't accept. And I think I've really learned from that, to just play as hard as I can always. I remember when I was a freshman and sophomore I had the mentality where I told myself I just needed to get through. I didn't want to take a minor. But Natalie was always telling me to do it. She really challenged me to be the best Hayley that I can be.

SB: Switching gears a little bit, but you went to China two summers ago for the PAC-12 All-Stars trip. What was that experience like?

HC: It was a culture shock. I am so glad I was able to go. (laughs) It was really hard to adjust to the food. I'm so glad my mom packed snacks. The Chinese food is not like Panda Express. There's no such thing as orange chicken. But it was a great experience. I got to see things I would probably never be able to see otherwise. It was really awesome to meet all the other girls in the PAC-12. Playing against them my junior year was really special since we shared that experience. It makes the conference closer.

SB: Do you know what you want to do with your communications major? Or what you would like to do when you are done playing volleyball?

HC: That's the million dollar question, isn't it? I have no idea. I could go play professionally overseas but I don't know if that's really something I want to pursue. Otherwise, I'm not sure. I am definitely interested in sports. I am interested in event planning too. So maybe something in sports management which kind of incorporates both. Hopefully the Trojan Family and all the networking here will help me figure it out.

SB: I know you mentioned a lot of your family went to USC. What does it mean to you to have that heritage? What does it mean to you to be a Trojan?

HC: Being a Trojan is such an amazing thing to say, and an amazing thing to live as well. When I was in China we were at this silk market and I saw this guy with a USC shirt on. He sees me and says 'Fight On' and I just thought, 'Wow. That's powerful.' We are in China, no one else is speaking English and yet we're having a full conversation about USC. Being a Trojan is real and it's everywhere. That's so powerful within itself.

SB: So you have a full year left. Do you have an increased sense of purpose or a different mentality heading into your final year?

HC: It really puts things in perspective for me. One day practice won't be so great, but I just remind myself that I only have a certain amount of practices yet. So I just try to embrace it. Even traveling. Our team is really close, so I'm traveling with all of my friends. What other time am I going to be able to do that? I'm just trying to live day by day and really loving every second. I'm always on campus, I'm always seeing everyone. I know that I'm going to miss this so much so I'm trying to take everything in.

SB: What are your goals for yourself and your team this season?

HC: This year I really just want to lead this team. We have so much potential, we are really young and I think leadership is super important in that. Obviously our goal is to win the PAC-12 and go ahead and win the National Championship. I haven't been able to do that yet. I've been to the Final Four and been to the regional finals so I think it's time for us to win the National Championship. I think this team definitely has the potential to do so.

BC Thursday: Sarkisian Presser

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Written by Sarah Bergstrom, USC blog contributor

Among other football topics, head coach Steve Sarkisian relayed to the media that he spoke with the team about the tragic events of September 11 before the Trojans take off for Boston on this the 13th anniversary. 

BC Watch Party at Traddies

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If you are not making the trip to Boston, Traditions and Tommy's Place behind the Tutor Campus Center is the place to watch the USC vs. Boston College game. The FREE party starts at 4 p.m. PT, and we are going to be giving away stuff throughout the game including Nike apparel and a field pass for an upcoming home game.

All ages are welcome!  Food and drink specials for all who attend.  We recommend you park in PSA ($10).


The Red Bandanna

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USC is flying to Boston today on the anniversary of September 11, which revealed the true colors of one real life Boston College hero.  The Eagles will honor Welles Crowther this weekend by wearing his trademark red bandanna.

Here is why...

#USCtotheNFL in Context

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USC had 37 alums on active NFL rosters to start the season, which ranked only behind LSU's 38, but with Kevin Graf now signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Trojans are tied with the Tigers.  USC led all schools with 40 alums on opening day rosters last season.

Here is the official Top 5 from opening day rosters:

1. LSU - 38
2. USC - 37
3. Alabama - 36
4. Georgia - 34
5. Florida - 33
5. Florida St. - 33

Click here for the complete NFL release.

The Trojans also boast more quarterbacks (4) and linebackers (9) than any other school.  USC's three centers ties two other schools for the most at that position.

The Pac-12 has more starting quarterbacks than any other conference, while USC's Carson Palmer and Matt Cassel tie Michigan's Tom Brady and Chad Henne for the most starting quarterbacks by school.


Unbeaten Start

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The arrow is trending up at Troy.  While the new season is not even a month old, USC Athletics remains unbeaten on the 2014-15 calendar.

Football (2-0), women's soccer (4-0-1), women's volleyball (6-0) and men's water polo (4-0) have combined for a near perfect 16-0-1 record.