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Boston College shocks No. 9 USC

Sep 14, 2014 - 5:16 AM Chestnut Hill, MA ( - Tyler Murphy led a punishing Boston College ground attack with 191 yards and a touchdown, and an inspired Eagles team ended an 11-game losing streak against ranked opponents with a stunning 37-31 victory over ninth-ranked Southern California at Alumni Stadium.

On a night they paid tribute to an alumnus killed while saving several lives during the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001, the Eagles churned out 452 rushing yards and scored 24 straight points at one stretch to record their first win over a top-25 foe since besting Florida State in 2009.

Murphy, who managed just 54 passing yards on a 5-of-13 completion rate and was intercepted once, put the finishing touches on the upset by tearing off a 66- yard touchdown run that gave Boston College (2-1) a 37-24 lead with 3:30 remaining.

Jon Hilliman had two of the Eagles' five rushing touchdowns, while Boston College's fired-up defense sacked Cody Kessler five times and held USC to a mere 20 rushing yards.

Kessler did throw for four touchdowns and completed 31-of-41 attempts for 317 yards, but was mostly held in check after the Trojans built a 17-6 lead less than a minute into the second quarter.

Javorius Allen finished with 118 yards and a touchdown on nine catches for a USC (2-1) squad fresh off last week's hard-earned win at defending Pac-12 champ Stanford. Nelson Agholor added 64 yards and a touchdown on nine grabs.

The heavily favored Trojans appeared on their way to a rather effortless win after Allen took a screen pass 51 yards to the end zone to give his team a 17-6 advantage early in the second quarter.

It would be the last big play produced by the USC offense for quite some time, however.

The Trojans went three-and-out on their next four drives as Boston College closed out the first half with 14 unanswered points to forge ahead, with Hilliman starting the comeback with a 3-yard run that capped an 8-play, 75- yard march.

The teams then traded punts until BC's Sherman Alston took a pitch on an end around and followed some strong downfield blocking en route to a momentum- shifting 54-yard touchdown that sent the Eagles ahead by a 20-17 count 1:27 prior to the intermission.

Boston College's defense came up with another quick stop on USC's initial possession of the second half, inducing a punt that Alston took 22 yards into Trojans' territory.

The Eagles needed just five plays -- all runs -- to reach the end zone again, with Hilliman plowing in from a yard out for a 27-17 lead midway through the third quarter.

USC's offense continued to sputter, punting the ball away on its next three trips. Murphy brooke loose for runs of 25 and 27 yards following the last of those punts, putting Joey Launceford in range for a 25-yard field goal that made it a 13-point game with 7:42 left.

With the Trojans now nearing desperation mode, Kessler stepped up. The junior triggerman made good on 8-of-9 throws in engineering a 10-play, 75-yard jaunt that culminated in Agholor's 10-yard touchdown reception that pulled USC within 30-24 with 4:32 to go.

The Eagles, who donned their helmets, shoes and gloves with a red bandanna pattern in honor of Welles Crowther, a former BC lacrosse player and equities trader responsible for ushering several World Trade Center workers to safety before the South Tower collapsed, weren't done fighting, however.

Two plays after Agholor's score, Murphy broke containment on a read option play and outraced the USC defense for a back-breaking 66-yard touchdown.

Kessler's fourth TD strike of the day, a 14-yarder to Darreus Rogers, cut the lead to 37-31 with 1:18 left, but the Eagles recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt before running out the clock.

Both defenses were strong early on, as the game began with a series of punts that resulted in the Trojans starting their third drive of the night at the BC 38. Kessler went 4-for-4 on a 6-play trek he ended with an 8-yard delivery to George Farmer that put USC up 7-0 just under nine minutes in.

The Trojan defense then forced a third straight three-and-out, with J.R. Tavai's sack of Murphy and Agholor's 11-yard punt return setting up Andre Heidari's 52-yard field goal with 3:16 left in the opening quarter.

Boston College's offense finally got untracked on its next possession, which Myles Willis began by ripping off a 52-yard run off left tackle to ignite a 7- play sequence that ended with Tyler Rouse scoring on an option pitch from Murphy on the first play of the second quarter. Launceford missed the extra point try.

The 10-6 score lasted just 48 seconds, though, as Allen weaved his way down the right sideline while hauling in a short pass from Kessler on 3rd-and-12 to put USC back up by double digits.

Game Notes

The win was the Eagles' first over a top-10 opponent since a 36-17 triumph over No. 10 West Virginia on Nov. 13, 2004 ... USC played the first half without linebacker Hayes Pullard, who was serving a suspension for being ejected in last week's game against Stanford ... USC had won all four of the previous meetings between the schools, including a 35-7 decision in Los Angeles last season.