USC vs. Boston College Report Card: Grading the Trojans’ Quarterback


Cody Kessler and the USC offense nearly pulled off a fourth quarter comeback in Saturday’s 37-31 loss to Boston College, but three quarters of inefficiency let the Trojans down.

For his part, Kessler performed admirably in an often shocking offensive performance.

In fact, his stat line was one of the few positive takeaways from the game. Finishing with 317 yards and four touchdowns, Kessler hit the 300-yard mark for just the third time in his career and the third time in four games.

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Of course it wasn’t just about the numbers.

In front of an offensive line which failed to take any pressure off, either by helping the run game get going or by handling the pass rush with any sort of consistency, Kessler showed great poise to deliver accurate strikes to his receivers.

Though he was sacked five times — and was perhaps guilty of not sensing the pressure quickly enough in a few of those instances — Kessler could have been hit even more if not for his improvisational skills and poise.

While the offense floundered through three quarters, Kessler picked it up in the fourth when the Trojans trailed and were forced to commit to the pass.

In the final seven minutes of the game, the redshirt junior marched USC down the field twice, hitting Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers for touchdowns. He threw for 124 yards on 15-of-18 passing attempts. Nearly half of those throws moved the Trojans downfield ten or more yards.

Those numbers, however, have to be taken with a grain of salt as Boston College sat back in a prevent defense for both drives.

Still, for all the ineffectiveness on offense earlier in the game, it was not Kessler who seemed the problem.

Although the Trojans lost, despite winning the turnover battle, Kessler also never looked in danger of throwing an interception, as he continues to show his ability to protect the football.

Kessler’s was by no means a perfect performance, but it was enough to keep the game close when perhaps it should not have been.

Grade: B

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