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USC's Rushing Attack Completely Suffocated, Trojans Falter 37-31

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USC goes from solid win against Stanford to one head-scratching loss.

Another mind-blowing loss for USC football.
Another mind-blowing loss for USC football.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

It was supposed to be a night filled with celebration before the Trojans' off-week.

That was certainly not the case, even after USC jumped out to an early 10-0 lead over the Boston College Eagles. Tyler Murphy broke free for over 250 yards of total offense and the Trojans looked completely befuddled facing the read-option attack.

"We got a very disappointed locker room, but I believe we'll bounce back...(the) bye week coming at a good time," Steve Sarkisian said following his first loss as USC's head coach.

The Trojans had their sights set on a 3-0 start and a possible No. 8 slot in the AP Poll, but USC's offense went completely silent and unleashed the floodgates for a dual-threat Eagles attack that sliced up huge chunks of yards with relative ease.

After Andre Heidari nailed a 52-yard field goal, making 50-plus yard kicks in back-to-back weeks, the Trojans were seemingly off and running with a 10-0 lead over the inept Boston College attack. Starting their next drive on the 22-yard line, Boston College marched right down the field proving they would not go down without a fight.

Almost in a horrific flash of ESPN's coverage, highlighted by gashing running plays, six-straight USC three-and-outs and plenty of BC sacks (five to be exact), the Eagles stormed out to a 30-17 lead with just 12:22 left in the fourth quarter.

"Don't look too far ahead in the season," said an upset Su'a Cravens when asked what the Trojans learned after their first loss of the season. "We've just got to get back to basics and play 'SC football."

Cody Kessler completed 31-of-41 passes for 317 yards distributing the football between eight different targets. George Farmer caught his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter, and then Darreus Rogers joined him in that department during the closing moments of the fourth quarter. But that couldn't account for the lack of a USC rushing attack.

One week after carving apart Stanford for over 150 yards on the ground, after only averaging 27 yards against the Cardinal each of the past two seasons, the Trojans hit the Boston College brick wall.

Buck Allen managed just 31 yards rushing on 15 carries, the rest of USC's rushing attack fared even worse combining for 14 carries and negative two yards (sacks included).

While the Trojans finally started to move the football in the fourth quarter, allowing their superior athletes to make plays in space, the damage came far too late against a defense that had the upper hand over USC's offensive line.

Dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball, the Eagles rushed for 453 yards, averaging over eight yards per carry. To be brutally honest, the Trojans did not look like a team that was capable of overcoming adversity, focused on powering through a lighter game on the schedule filled with possible distractions.

Kris Albarado shouldered a big load, blasting a career-high 10 punts against the Eagles. USC went almost two-and-a-half quarters with unimaginative play calling on offense, something that must change as Pac-12 play approaches.

"It falls squarely on my shoulders," Coach Sarkisian said, "I've got to do a better job."

In a bye week that was supposed to be filled with tremendous optimism heading into the Trojans' second Pac-12 game, against a pass-happy Oregon State squad, USC will have to answer a ton of questions about run defense. The red zone defense saved USC last week, but Boston College -- especially Tyler Murphy -- were on target in Chestnut Hill.

On offense, the Trojans faced a Boston College defense that applied solid pressure and sat back in coverage limiting USC's ability to fire the ball deep down field. On defense, USC's undermanned unit looked fatigued, struggling to keep up with the quarterback-led read option attack that has given the Trojans immense trouble in years past.