USC vs. Boston College: Previewing the Eagles Defense


Through two games this season, the USC Trojans offense has been a bit of Jekyll and Hyde. The Trojans had over 100 offensive plays in their season-opening win against Fresno State and were then brought to a grinding halt against the Stanford Cardinal.

Some of the reason for the Trojans’ decreased tempo was due to Stanford’s offensive style of play that kept the ball away from the Trojans. However, the Cardinal defense also deserves some credit.

The Trojans now will attempt to regain their fast-footing against a Boston College defense that has lost plenty up front.

Gone from a defense that yielded an average of 428.2 yards per game in 2013 are Kasim Edebali, Kaleb Ramsey, Jaryd Rudolph, Dominic Appiah, Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto, among others.

Moreover, defending the pass proved difficult for the Eagles as opponents averaged 268.30 yards per game through the air last year. Losing safety Spenser Rositano to retirement the didn’t help matters — though his decision was certainly understandable.

For better or worse, the Eagles secondary remains intact. The team’s top five tacklers among the back four returned, so the unit has plenty of experience. In their first two games this season, the Eagles have given up 147 and 111 passing yards to Massachusetts and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Steven Daniels and Justin Simmons each have an interception this season. In their win over the Minutemen, the Eagles defense allowed just three third-down conversions in 11 attempts. However, they regressed and allowed the Panthers to convert on six of their 15 attempts.

As for the front seven, they lost significant production in the forms of Kasim Edebali and Kevin Pierre-Louis.

Replacing the linebacker corps figured to be the Eagles’ biggest stumbling block on the defensive side of the ball. Kevin Pierre-Louis and Steele Divitto are both gone, which left Steven Daniels as the lone returning starter.

While the relatively green defensive line hasn’t necessarily led to opponents sitting back and going pass-happy, stopping the run has not been the Eagles’ strong suit. The Panthers racked up 302 yards in their win, which means Buck Allen could be in store for another big day.

In their meeting last season, Cody Kessler threw for 237 yards on 15 of 17 passes. Tre Madden led the Trojans in rushing with 102 yards on the ground for a third consecutive game with 100 rushing yards.