September 7, 2013; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Connor Halliday (12) is brought down by Southern California Trojans linebacker Morgan Breslin (91) during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Morning USC Links: Trojans Have Nation's No. 1 Rush Defense and Other Links

Defense ranks first in several categories
(Gary Klein| Los Angeles Times)

While USC fans booed Lane Kiffin’s play-calling during the Trojans’ 10-7 loss to Washington State, the defense has mostly earned raves. The defense has given up only one touchdown in two games. The Trojans, who play Boston College on Saturday, rank first nationally in rushing defense, surrendering only 15 yards a game, and in sacks with 11.

Was Cody Kessler the Right Choice at Quarterback for USC?
(Kyle Kensing | Bleacher Report )

Obviously, a team does not accrue such paltry numbers with a reliable quarterback. Nevertheless, Kessler measurably outperformed Wittek against both Hawaii and Washington State, posting more yards, completions and the team’s sole passing touchdown through two games. Wittek’s window of opportunity was much wider than Kessler’s, dating back to the end of 2012 when he started against Notre Dame and Georgia Tech. It was his job to lose then, and his job to reclaim now.

Lane Kiffin’s quarterback selection sets strong precedent
(Evan Budrovich | Conquest Chronicles)

When Lane Kiffin announced Cody Kessler would be named starter over Max Wittek Monday, he not only cleared up a three-year dilemma surrounding the Matt Barkley quarterback replacement, but also opened up a whole can of worms surrounding the future of the much-maligned offense under his tenure as USC head coach

Kessler ready to lead USC as its starting QB
(Rahshaun Haylock | FOX Sports West)

With that cloud now lifted, Kessler can focus on trying to lead the team to wins instead of winning his own competition battle. Since he named Kessler the starting quarterback, Kiffin says he’s already seen a change in his newly anointed signal caller. He says he’s more confident and less hesitant to make throws, something that clearly showed up on film from the first two weeks of the season. Kessler calls it a relief. He’s ecstatic about the opportunity to show what he can do as the man.

BC Offense vs. USC Defense
(Joe Micik | Soaring to Glory)

There are no typos on the graphic. In two games, USC has allowed a total of thirty rushing yards, and it was on 53 carries. They also have 11 sacks in two games (1st in FBS), which right there tells you a lot about what this team can do. Consider also that the Eagles’ offensive line took its lumps on pass protection against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and you have a clear problem.

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Tags: Football USC Football

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