USC tries to put behind last week's loss to Washington State as unbeaten Boston College visits the Coliseum for the first time since 1987. Staff writer Gary Klein examines the story lines:
Last Saturday, fans booed USC Coach Lane Kiffin's play-calling, much of the Coliseum crowd exited with the score still tied in the fourth quarter, and some of those who remained chanted "Fire Kiffin."
Not an intimidating setting for a visiting team.
USC announced a crowd of 77,823 against Washington State. With a noon kickoff after an embarrassing defeat, the crowd for this game could be significantly smaller.
And, if the Trojans do not play well, angrier.
New and old
USC quarterback Cody Kessler will start for the third time, the first since Kiffin announced that the third-year sophomore would no longer share time with Max Wittek.
Kessler has completed 18 of 32 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions. He has also rushed for a touchdown.
Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig will start his 35th consecutive game.
The 6-foot-3, 206-pound senior, who played at Pasadena La Salle and San Clemente high schools, completed 23 of 30 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles' 24-14 season-opening victory over Villanova. Last week, Rettig completed seven of 14 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception, in a 24-10 victory over Wake Forest.
Back to back
Tre Madden is the first Trojans tailback to rush for more than 100 yards in each of USC's first two games since Marcus Allen achieved the feat in 1981.
Madden rushed for 109 yards against Hawaii and followed with 151 yards in 32 carries against Washington State.
Boston College's Andre Williams was selected offensive player of the week in the Atlantic Coast Conference after rushing for a career-best 204 yards and a touchdown in 35 carries against Wake Forest. The 6-0, 227-pound senior ran for 114 yards and a touchdown in 23 carries against Villanova.
Marqise Lee, who caught 118 passes last season in winning the Biletnikoff Award, has 15 receptions and has not scored a touchdown. Lee had seven receptions for a career-low 27 yards against Washington State.
Boston College's secondary is not regarded as a strength, but cornerback Bryce Jones has two interceptions, cornerback Manuel Asprilla and safety Sean Sylvia one each.
Boston College receiver Alex Amidon has 18 catches, two for touchdowns. Bobby Wolford and Spiffy Evans also have touchdown receptions.
Safety Dion Bailey has two of USC's six interceptions. Because of injuries, USC reconfigured its secondary against Washington State. Josh Shaw moved from safety to cornerback and started opposite Torin Harris. Bailey, Su'a Cravens and Demetrius Wright started at safety.
In their defense
USC, under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast, has featured a stout front and opportunistic secondary.
The Trojans rank first among 123 major college teams in rushing defense, and tackle George Uko has three of the Trojans' nation-best 11 sacks. USC is third in interceptions, 11th in total defense and 19th in scoring defense.
Boston College linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis had 11 of his Atlantic Coast Conference-leading 15 tackles against Wake Forest. Linebacker Steven Daniels had 10 tackles. Senior end Kasim Edebali has three of the Boston College's seven sacks.
The Eagles waged goal-line stands in each of their first two games.
After kicking three field goals against Hawaii, USC's Andre Heidari saw one attempt blocked and also missed from 43 yards against Washington State.
Kris Albarado is averaging 41.8 yards per punt.
Lee has averaged 17 yards per kickoff return. He lost a fumble on a punt return against Hawaii and muffed another against Washington State.
Boston College's Nate Freese kicked a 39-yard field goal against Villanova and 33-yarder against Wake Forest. Freese also has averaged 39.2 yards per punt.
Evans is averaging 16 yards on kickoff returns, 10.3 yards for punts.
Twitter: @latimeskleinCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times