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July 10, 2014

Study Guide: Southern Cal

Over the next few weeks, EagleAction is creating quick-hit study guides for fans to get to know each of BC's opponents for the 2014 season. Today, we look at the USC Trojans.








GETTING TO KNOW USC



TIME 8:00, Sept 13, 2014; Chestnut Hill, MA.



NUTS AND BOLTS




Coach: Steve Sarkisian, 1st season
2012 record: 10-4 (6-3 PAC12)
2013 record: 7-6 (5-4 PAC10)
Record vs. Power-5 schools since 2009 (non-conf): 10-4
Record Away/Neutral vs. Power-5 schools since 2009 (non-con) 6-2


A LOOK AT THE OFFENSE



Returning starters (based on final 2013 depth chart): 7

The Big Names: After having Robert Woods and Marquise Lee drafted in the last two years the Trojans have their next star at wide receiver in Nelson Agholor. Like Lee and Woods, Agholor has a lean and athletic frame to go along with fast speed. Last season, Agholor took advantage of Lee being injured and managed to put up 918 yards receiving and six touchdowns even with a shaky situation at quarterback most of the year. It's not an exaggeration to say that Agholor is the most dangerous receiver that the Eagles will have to defend all season.

As if Agholor isn't enough to deal with, USC has one of the best running back duos in the country with Javorius Allen and Tre Madden. BC fans should be somewhat familiar with Madden since he ran for 102 yards against them last season. Madden was the starter at the beginning of last year, but an injury forced Allen into the starting role. Allen didn't disappoint as he finished the season with 785 yards rushing at an impressive 5.8 yards per carry.

Reason for BC to worry:As is the case when BC plays a team like Florida State or Clemson in the ACC, speed is a huge concern. The Trojans have a handful of players---including 2nd string players---who are faster than anyone on the BC defense.

Reason for BC to rest easy: The Trojans have 3 starters returning on the offensive line. This is probably the weakest part of their offense. Count on Don Brown to come up with plenty of confusing blitz packages to try and trip up the young USC offensive line.

A LOOK AT THE DEFENSE




Returning starters (based on final 2013 depth chart): 7

The Big Names:There is no bigger name literally or figuratively than defensive lineman Leonard Williams, a 6'5" 290 pound defensive tackle that his NFL scouts salivating right now. Williams is a consensus top five pick in just about any Mock Draft for next year. The BC interior line will have its hands full.

In the middle of the USC defense is linebacker Hayes Pullard, a 1st team PAC12 performer last year. Pullard was the team's leading tackler (94) and also had 5.5 tackles for a loss.
In the secondary is a future NFL high draft pick in safety Su'a Cravens, who was a 1st Team Freshmen All American last year. Cravens had 52 tackles and 4 interceptions in his first year. At cornerback Josh Shaw and Kevon Seymour have lived up to their high recruiting rankings.

Reason for BC to worry: USC will have one of the toughest lines to run against this year. Between Williams and 310 pound tackle Antwaun Woods there won't be a lot of running lanes for the BC backfield. Next to FSU, this figures to be the best defense that BC will go up against all year.

Reason for BC to rest easy: "Rest easy" might not be a great term here, but BC does get a break in that the Trojans have to play against a physical Stanford team the week before. The Cardinal always play a tough, physical game against USC and should be able to give the Trojans some bumps and bruises heading into Chestnut Hill. There might be a 1st half like the one against FSU last year where the visiting team's defense just isn't ready to strap it on at game time.


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