Yesterday's game was amazingly awesome. Instead of the usual "Good, Bad, and Ugly", we have decided to go with just the positives, because honestly I don't really care about what BC did poorly yesterday. If you want to point out the drops, the missed field goals, or the clusterbleep trying to get into Shea, feel free to mention it in the comments. You just won't see it from me. I haven't had this type of a feeling in a long time about BC football, and I'm not going to let it go to waste.
The Defense: Were they perfect? Absolutely not. But from the minute they took the field to the last whistle, the BC defense was animated and wanted this win more than the USC offense. They made mistakes, but they made big plays as well. During the first half they were all over Cody Kessler, sacking him five times and pressuring him constantly. Big shout outs have to go to Brian Mihalik, Kevin Kavalec, Christian Lezzer, and Seyi Adebayo who all made big plans at crucial points. Harold Landry played a lot during the first half and made some plays as well. This group looked so much more confident than last week. They finished their tackles, they didn't allow big plays, and you have to proud of their effort against a team full of blue chippers. Hat tip to Don Brown.
The Constant Squib Kicks: BC did this on almost every kickoff, and it worked to perfection. Every time BC kicked it off, it bounced around, the Trojans returner either botched it or fell on it, and without fail the Trojans started every drive around the 20 yard line. What a brilliant way to win the field position battle by Addazio and crew. How USC couldn't find a returner that could handle it is beyond me. It was like watching the Keystone cops on most of the returns.
Josh Keyes: Yesterday morning I was talking to my neighbor about the Pitt game and he said to me "Whoever that #25 was, the TV guy was glowing that he was a great sacker, and then the first play he got sucked up by the blockers! And it never got better that whole game!" Basically, that was what we all said about Keyes. He redeemed himself in a major way last night in front of a national audience. Keyes had a mind blowing 5.5 tackles for loss, and was a matchup nightmare for a very well coached USC team. It seemed in the first half that he was constantly flying past the offensive guard. I think this trend will continue against numerous teams on BC schedule.
Jon Hilliman: Before this season the coaching staff's public opinion was that Myles Willis and Tyler Rouse were going to be the starters and get a majority of the touches this season. The kids were going to be played here and there. I think that game plan has changed. BC has a four headed running monster right now, with Willis/Rouse/Murphy taking some runs, but Hilliman showed yesterday that he deserves to be getting a monster share of carries as well. He looked AWESOME yesterday, flashing signs of Andre Williams, running over defenders, and showcasing a motor that didn't stop after the first hit. An exciting player to say the least, he is going to be a player that will only improve as the season continues.
Sherm Alston: We have been clamoring about utilizing #6 more for weeks. And yesterday we got what we wanted. Ryan Day called a beautifully directed misdirection play that let Alston get his wheels rolling and the USC defenders didn't stand a chance. Clearly BC might want to figure out other ways to use him, as another end around got blown up in the second half, but Alston needs to be used early and often. Lined up with two running backs and Murphy is the equivalent of running spread offense with four wide receivers, any of the four could get the ball, and make a good play.
Tyler Murphy: It was only days ago that a vocal minority was clamoring to start Darius Wade because this season was lost. Man, things done changed. As I said before, we can not expect BC to be a passing team. Clearly they are not built that way right now. Murphy had a solid game though on most of his passes. There were two brutal drops today by the WR's that killed drives, but all in all I loved his managing on the field. The way he ran the read option was near genius, and he had the USC defense completely confused for most of the game. Plus his speed. Through three weeks we have seen what Tyler Murphy can and can not do, and I loved the game plan they used around him. He is going to be an above average ACC quarterback with great speed. Find holes in the future to use these strengths and BC will continue to win games.
Offensive Gameplan: Ryan Day deserves a game ball for the plan he put in place against USC. He and the rest of the BC staff clearly learned their lesson from the Pitt game and instead of asking Murphy to throw the ball more, they tailored an offensive gameplan that was perfect for their QB's strengths. They had USC guessing the whole game, which is mind blowing because this is the same Trojan defense that shut down Stanford just a week ago. BC finished the game with 450 yards on the ground, the most against a Trojan defense since Texas nearly forty years ago. And he deserves credit as well for the play of the offensive line, who played out of their mind just a week after looking horrible.
The Offensive Line: Speaking of the offensive line but holy crap did they play an awesome game. Everything they did wrong last week against Pitt seemed to be fixed against USC. They blocked brilliantly on the run, they pulled, they sealed corners, overall it was just a joy to watch how much they dominated the Trojans in the trenches. People keep pointing to the Eagles resilience in this game, and I would say that the offensive line was the reason why. Every time that USC responded, the offensive line just went right back out, opened running lanes, and BC scored. This was one of the most transcendent performances I have ever seen. Bravo big boys.
The Run Defense: Speaking of transcendent performances, let's talk about the BC running defense. Just a week after allowing 309 yards on the ground and six yards a carry, the rushing defense turned it around and held the Trojans to 20 yards on the ground. Don Brown had his dude prepared. They closed in on the runs, and most importantly they made their tackles, their seemingly was no broken tackles by USC. Just brilliant performance all around.
The Atmosphere: Everything about this game was awesome, but a special hat tip has to go to BC and our fanbase for putting on a show on national television. Not only were there the red bandanas as tribute to Welles Crowther, but BC had the Crowther family (who spoke to the team after and was given a gameball), they had a message from Pete Frates about the ice bucket challenge at halftime (if you weren't in tears you aren't human), but this was the loudest and craziest I have ever seen Alumni. 41,000+ fans packed the stadium, and it was rocking from kickoff to the moment the entire stands stormed the field. It was an AWESOME experience, something BC football has sorely lacked. So bravo to everyone involved from TeamOps, to the students, to Brad Bates.