Everything seemed to be going according to the script early in the second quarter with USC growing a comfortable 17-6 lead. Then the Eagles added two touchdowns to grab a slim lead before halftime. Surely the Trojans would make the necessary halftime adjustments and assert their dominance in the second half. Instead, the Eagles put up another touchdown in the third and held the Trojans to 0 points in the third quarter. The Eagles added another field goal in the 4th to make it 30-17 with just under 8 minutes to play. USC seemed to finally figure out the Eagles defense and marched down the field in just 3:10 and scoring a touchdown, relying almost entirely on the passing game to move the ball. USC was now trailing by just 6 points with just over 4 and a half minutes to play and all 3 timeouts. This is where Boston College stalled out on offense or made a mistake and USC would come roaring back down the field for the win. Instead, Tyler Murphy immediately answered back by breaking off for a 66 yard run for a touchdown to make it a 2 score game with just 3 and a half minutes to play. USC again imposed their will and put up 7 more to bring the lead to just 6 points, but time was running out with just over a minute to play. Would they recover the onsides kick? Could they hold the Eagles offense to a 3 and out and give themselves just enough time for a shot at the end zone by burning all 3 timeouts? The Eagles recovered the kick and Jon Hilliman iced the game by getting two first downs on the ground, allowing the Eagles to take a knee at the USC 7 yard line to end the game.
This was a huge win for Steve Addazio and the Boston College Football program as a whole. Their last win over a top 10 ranked opponent while unranked came back in 2002 over #4 Notre Dame. It's only happened 6 times in school history and only 3 times in my lifetime. This is a once in a decade kind of upset for BC.
Quarterback Tyler Murphy was a 1-man wrecking crew accumulating 191 yards on the ground. Murphy did very little with his arm going just 5/13 in passing attempts for 54 yards and an interception, but he more than compensated with his legs.
The most encouraging part of this game was that the Eagles didn't steal this one at the last minute. USC wasn't shooting themselves in the foot with stupid penalties, turnovers and broken plays. They outplayed the Trojans for long stretches of this game. They completely stifled the USC running game holding them to just 20 yards on 29 rushing attempts. The BC running game put up more rushing yards against USC than any team in over a decade and they seemed helpless to stop them. There was a good game plan here and it was well executed. They found USC's weak point and attacked it relentlessly.
This changes the expectations that a lot of experts held for the Eagles this season. Before the season it was considered unlikely that the Eagles would be bowl eligible, in light of this win that goal seems far more attainable. It seems unlikely that the Eagles will be able to compete with a juggernaut like Florida State, but with a strong freshman class could they be a team on the rise?
The Eagles will hit a soft spot in their schedule with FCS Maine coming to Chestnut Hill followed by Mountain West Colorado State before hitting their ACC schedule for the rest of the season.