A.J. was unable to find a stream for this game, so I've got his back in this week's version of "The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly."
The CliffsNotes version of this is "It was bad and also ugly." But we'll go into detail for those of you who need to burn some time before the NFL kicks off this afternoon.
Nate Freese's Punting. Wow was there a substantial improvement in the punt game. Freese punted eight times and pinned the ball inside the 20 on four of them, got one of them nicely inside the 5, and very nearly had a second on one that just barely rolled into the end zone and a BC player couldn't down it in time. His long was a booming 65 yarder. He looked excellent.
There was one blocked punt that was called back because the Trojans were offsides, but that's not exactly his fault. He did a nice job rolling to his right to get away from the pressure (See: Marqise Lee coming through the lines on special teams) and had some of his best punts that way.
Bates sent the band. This is a man who is after my heart, ladies and gentlemen.
We scored a touchdown at one point I guess. This one courtesy of Mrs. Salzano.
Apparently the weather was nice. That's gotta count for something, right? Also, based on all of the pictures my friends were posting to the interwebs Friday and Saturday, southern California is pretty sweet.
We traveled well. Yayyy we traveled well.
Anything else? [Crickets...] No? Alright then, moving on.
I'm going to preface these sections with the following:
I know others are going to disagree, but BC just flat out got beaten yesterday. Were there problems? Of course. Did we play well? God, no. But sometimes I think you need to just look back at a loss, tip your cap to a better team, and realize you just got beat.
Having said that...
The Defensive Line. Hoo boy did they get gashed in the run game. USC averaged 6 yards per carry, and there weren't any 90 yarders in there skewing the average that much, either. It seemed like every time they ran the ball up the middle on first down it was 2nd and 3 or 4. That's supposed to be our M.O.! It feels pretty impossible to stop a drive when you're getting 6-7 yards on the start of every set of downs.
The Offensive Line: Run Blocking. As our resident Humble Genius points out, 16 of our 26 rushing attempts went for 1 yard or less. That is... pretty goddamn poor. While Day certainly could have been more creative (Chase's keeper where he ran for a good 20 yards or so was the right idea, as well as the misdirection play that went in for our only touchdown), I didn't really have too much of a problem with the playcalling. It was a pretty even split between running and passing (24 passing attempts, 26 rushes) and neither were working.
We averaged more yards per attempt rushing (3.9 yards) than passing (3.5 yards) for Christ's sake. Think about that for a second. Looking at you, Humble Genius.
The Offensive Line: Pass Blocking. Poor Chase Rettig. That kid was running for his life all day. It felt like last year. He didn't manage to get off too many throws, and when he did, his feet weren't planted and he couldn't make the play. Now, having said that...
Chase Rettig. I'm definitely Team Chase, when it comes to my opinion on how good our quarterback is, but he had a rough day. He was hurried all day, yes, but he did make some pretty bad throws. One screen play in particular, in which he was not rushed because he got rid of the ball as soon as it was snapped, was about 3 yards behind the receiver. That just isn't going to get it done.
Chase was 11 for 24 (45.8% -- yikes) for just 83 yards. That's pretty bad. I'm sure he would be the first person to tell you that he had a bad game. And I'm willing to chalk it up to just that, a bad game. He's not Peyton Manning.
He's a bit inconsistent but has the ability to manage a game well. He didn't do that today at all, but he wasn't the reason we lost the game. So, we move on.
This Goddamn Song:
Apologies for opening up fresh wounds to those of you who were there.
What the hell happened at the end of the first half? No, seriously, what happened? I have no idea what the turn of events were that allowed USC to run down the clock to get to the locker room while inside their own 5 yard line.
From the way I understand it (and I'm basing this off the Pac-12 Network announcers who also had no clue what was going on, the turn of events was as follows:
1) USC runs the first play and gets a couple yards. BC does not call timeout, as they only had 2 to use.
2) USC runs a second play and Boston College calls timeout. Meanwhile, a USC player is down hurt, causing a mandatory 10 second runoff (incorrect if Boston College called timeout, and also B.S. since USC was clearly hoping to burn clock, not conserve it for a drive).
3) After the player is off the field, the referee winds the clock (also incorrect if BC had called timeout).
At this point there is is about 10 seconds left on the clock and USC runs the ball into the line to take it to the locker room.
The only logical explanation here is that BC never did call that timeout, but the TV announcers were pretty convinced that we did.
Who the hell knows.
The coverage on Marqise Lee's 80 yard touchdown.
Not the USC Song Girls. Not ugly.