Fresh off a stunning 10-7 defeat to Washington State, USC (1-1 overall, 0-1 Pac-12) will try to get back on track this Saturday when it plays host to a Boston College (2-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) squad that has shown signs of improvement under energetic first-year head coach Steve Addazio. Featuring a rejuvenated, attacking defense and a more-balanced offense, the Eagles took down Wake Forest 24-10 last Friday, and they've already matched last year's win total in the first two weeks of the 2013 season.
Scoring: 24 points per game (No. 10 ACC, No. 83 overall)
Rushing: 159.5 yards per game (No. 8 ACC, No. 69 overall)
Passing: 204 yards per game (No. 9 ACC, No. 80 overall)
Total: 363.5 yards per game (No. 8 ACC, No. 83 overall)
Quarterback: No. 11 Chase Rettig (6-foot-3, 206 pounds, Sr.)
Rettig, a San Clemente (Calif.) product, has started 34 consecutive games and is coming off a junior campaign in which he threw for more than 3,000 yards. But with Addazio searching for more balance, Rettig hasn't been asked to carry quite as much of the load this season. Last week he put the ball in the air only 14 times, connecting on seven for 123 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
With more of an emphasis on the ground game, the physically imposing Williams has flourished, toting the ball 58 times for 318 yards and two touchdowns. Wolford, a fullback, made six receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown in the team's opener against Villanova.
Amidon is a dangerous weapon that the USC secondary will have to be mindful of. Having set single-season school records for catches (78) and receiving yards (1,210) last fall, he has hauled in 18 of the team's 30 total receptions in 2013.
Serving a significant function in the rushing attack, Boston College frequently will use offensive sets with multiple tight ends. A unit filled with sturdy blockers, they haven't been utilized in the passing game too often so far, with Parsons standing as the only member to record a reception.
Offensive Line: LT No. 77 Matt Patchan (6-6, 300, Sr.), LG No. 76 Bobby Vardaro (6-5, 310, Jr.), C No. 59 Andy Gallik (6-3, 302, Jr.), RG No. 64 Harris Williams (6-3, 298, Jr.), RT No. 62 Ian White (6-5, 302, Sr.)
Allowing a total of 36 sacks while spearheading a rushing attack that averaged just 93 yards per game, the performance of the BC offensive line was a definite weak point in 2012. Under the new regime, however, this unit appears to have made tremendous strides, particularly in terms of its run blocking, but the Eagles will face a prolific USC defense this weekend that leads the country in sacks (11) and rushing defense (allowing 15 ypg).
Scoring: 12 points per game (No. 5 ACC, No. 20 overall)
Rushing: 138.5 yards per game (No. 9 ACC, No. 54 overall)
Passing: 182 yards per game (No. 6 ACC, No. 43 overall)
Total: 320.5 yards per game (No. 7 ACC, No. 37 overall)
Lining up in a 4-3 alignment, the Boston College defensive line helped limit the Demon Deacons to just 55 rushing yards on 39 carries last week. Last year, BC surrendered an average of 215.3 yards per game on the ground. Edebali leads this group with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks, and as a team the Eagles have compiled six sacks, equaling the number that the BC defense collected in all of 2012.
A fast and aggressive bunch who have taken off in the new system, Pierre-Louis, Divitto and Daniels each recorded at least 10 tackles last week versus Wake Forest. Pierre-Louis is pacing the entire defense with 23 stops.
An emotional leader, Sylvia anchors a Boston College secondary that, while it hasn't faced the stiffest of competition, has proven to be extremely opportunistic, collecting four interceptions as a group for an Eagles team that is plus-5 in turnover margin -- No. 7 nationally.
Jones, the reigning ACC Defensive Back of the Week, was all over the field against Wake Forest, making two solo tackles, one interception, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery. Still, USC wideout Marqise Lee could present a daunting challenge for this unit, so long as the Trojans are able to get what has been an anemic passing game going.
Punter/Kicker: No. 85 Nate Freese (5-11, 192, Sr.)
A Lou Groza Award candidate, Freese has connected on 52-of-63 career field goal attempts (82.5 percent). He also has punted 13 times this season for an average of 39.2 yards.
Kickoff/Punt Returner: No. 7 Spiffy Evans (6-0, 184, Jr.)
Evans is averaging 16 yards per kick return in 2013, and 10.3 yards per punt return.