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Josh Adams powering Notre Dame run game against BC; Irish up 14-10

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Two first-half touchdown runs by Brandon Wimbush to finish off drives have given Notre Dame a 14-10 lead on Boston College at halftime. Both of the Wimbush touchdowns have finished off scoring drives fueled by Notre Dame running back Josh Adams, who already is up to 167 rushing yards so far this afternoon.

After the teams exchanged punts on the first two series of the game, Boston College was first to put some points on the scoreboard with a 38-yard field goal from Colton Lichtenberg. Notre Dame wasted little time responding with a quick, four-play touchdown drive. Wimbush punched one home from two yards out on a drive highlighted one play earlier with an Adams run of 65 yards. In the first half, Adams became the 17th Irish running back to go over 2,000 career yards.

Boston College took the lead in the second quarter with Anthony Brown completing a 22-yard pass to Charlie Callinan for six points. The touchdown drive took nine plays to cover 85 yards in just over three minutes. Jon Hilliman started the drive with a 29-yard run from the BC 25-yard line.

Wimbush finished off a second touchdown drive once again led by Adams to give the Irish the 14-10 lead before halftime. Wimbush was picked off on an overthrown pass in the last minute of the half, but Boston College was unable to take advantage and seemed to give up on the half with timeouts to spare. I’m not sure anyone is capable of explaining this coaching decision.

USC TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe “doubtful” for Texas game

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USC’s win over Stanford this weekend showed the Trojans may be prepared to live up to the offseason hype following a red-hot finish to the 2016 season, but the Trojans offense could be without a key player for at least one more week.

Tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is said to be doubtful for the Trojans this week when the Texas Longhorns make a trip to the Coliseum. USC head coach Clay Helton announced the latest injury status for his tight end during a conference call on Sunday, and Helton reportedly contemplated the possibility of shutting Imatorbhebhe down until he is ready to rejoin the team. A hip injury is to blame.

Imatorbhebhe caught one pass for 12 yards in USC’s season-opening win against Western Michigan. He sat out of the Week 2 Pac-12 battle with Stanford. Last season, he was responsible for 17 receptions and 250 yards and four touchdowns, including five receptions for 78 yards and a touchdown in a key upset of Washington.

Helton also announced the Trojans will be without redshirt freshman kicker Michael Brown due to a torn ACL. The Trojans will give place kicker Chase McGrath the kickoff duties moving forward.

Helmet sticker to Reign of Troy.

Sam Darnold, No. 6 USC run win streak to 11 by beating up No. 14 Stanford

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USC has the history, the trophies and the lofty rankings but, at least in Pac-12 play lately, there was one team the Trojans have had consistent trouble beating in their in-state rival Stanford.

On Saturday night at the L.A. Coliseum though, it was the cardinal and gold that was the big bully in the trenches and the team whose tailbacks were running wild on a good defense. What looked like a shootout early on wound up being an impressive opening statement to conference play as No. 6 USC won their 11th in a row with a 42-24 victory over No. 14 Stanford.

The win comes after six days of wondering what was up with quarterback Sam Darnold, the prohibitive Heisman Trophy favorite who struggled a little in the team’s opening win but responded to all the nay-sayers with a vengeance by starting the game off with 11 straight completions. The redshirt sophomore wasn’t perfect (two interceptions) but was still masterful when moving around the pocket and posted eye-popping numbers of 21/26 for 316 yards and four touchdowns.

As good as he was, his two teammates in the backfield were even better.

That would be the one-two punch at running back in Ronald Jones and Stephen Carr. The former racked up 116 yards and two scores on the ground while the latter, just a freshman, recorded 119 yards. The two not only ran hard to keep the chains moving but showed plenty of burst and quickness to give rise to a potentially new combo of thunder and lightning in Los Angeles.

When all was said and done, the Trojans stayed remarkably balanced and had over 300 yards passing and rushing on the night. Then there was the defense that allowed just a late touchdown in the second half and started to tee off on their opponents with a terrific pass rush.

The loss was undoubtedly one of the more disappointing ones for David Shaw and the Cardinal — more so because they failed to win in the trenches for the first time in forever. Tailback Bryce Love did have some solid numbers with 160 yards and a touchdown on the ground but most of it came on an untouched score from 75 yards out. Quarterback Keller Chryst likewise started strong but the high scoring game quickly got too much for him in the second half.

Few teams were questioned quite like USC was after their opener but Saturday’s blowout win was quite the statement that yes, the program was indeed back on the college football scene. Judging by what happened to Stanford though, it doesn’t seem like the team is done either.

USC leads Stanford 28-17 at halftime of a West Coast shootout

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Stanford and USC have regularly given us some of the best games of the year out West and the two California rivals are well on their way to doing so once again this season.

Well, unless you like defense that is.

The Trojans managed to hold onto a 28-17 lead going into halftime of a WAC-esque shootout at the L.A. Coliseum that will send all four coordinators involved back to the white board at halftime to come up with something new.

A week after everybody wondering what was wrong with Heisman favorite Sam Darnold, the young quarterback responded in a big way by completing 11 consecutive passes to open the contest and finishing the first two quarters with 225 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t the only one who looked impressive in cardinal and gold though, as the run game was hitting on all cylinders between Ronald Jones (29 yards, one score) and freshman Stephen Carr (62 yards).

But for everything the Trojans could do, so could the Cardinal. Bryce Love became the latest tailback to torment a Southern California rival as he rushed for 137 yards and a score — most coming on an untouched 75 yard scamper that set the tone for the offense early in the game.

Everybody expected this to be the one of the biggest games of the year and the Pac-12 opener has certainly lived up to that early billing after one half in Los Angeles.

No. 4 USC escapes Western Michigan’s upset bid

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When USC accepted the ball to open its season and rolled 75 yards in six plays, capped by a 16-yard Ronald Jones II scoring rush, it looked to be business as expected for the Trojans.

But then the Trojans went 3-and-out on its next possession, and Western Michigan responded with an 8-play, 59-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. And then, when USC went 3-and-out again, and Western Michigan again capitalized with a lengthy touchdown march — 84 yards in 11 plays — it was obvious nothing about Saturday’s opener was business as expected for USC.

That moment did not arrive until the 3:49 mark of the fourth quarter, when Stephen Carr raced for a 52-yard touchdown, providing put-away score of No. 4 USC’s 49-31 defeat of Western Michigan.

This game remained so close for so long because the Broncos, playing their first game under new head coach Tim Lester, performed every bit like the defending MAC champions that they are. Four players carried the ball at least seven times and all gained at least 30 yards. LeVante Bellamy led the way with 102 yards on nine carries, and WMU as a team rushed 43 times for 251 yards and two scores.

Jones far and away outperformed USC’s purported Heisman candidate Sam Darnold. Jones racked up 159 yards and three touchdowns on only 18 carries, while Darnold completed 23-of-33 passes for 289 yards and no touchdowns against two interceptions, though he did run for an 11-yard score.

The teams traded touchdowns for much of the game. After Jones’s opening punch, Western Michigan notched two consecutive scores to grab a 14-7 lead, marching 59 and 81 yards in the process. Jones’s second touchdown, a 1-yard plunge, tied the game at 14-14 just before the half.

Western Michigan moved 75 yards, punctuated by a 27-yard scoring strike from Jon Wassink to Keishawn Watson, to reclaim the lead at 21-14 to open the second half, then had a chance to take complete control after intercepting Darnold for a second time. But the Broncos punted on their ensuing possession, and USC took advantage with an 83-yard touchdown drive. In fact, Western Michigan would not stop USC again after Darnold’s second pick.

The Trojans pulled ahead for the first time since 7-0 on a 1-yard Carr run, but Western Michigan immediately responded when Darius Phillips went goal line to goal line on the ensuing kickoff.

USC needed only three plays to move 83 yards to reclaim the lead at 35-28 thanks to a 37-yard Jones run and, after a WMU field goal, put the game away on Carr’s 52-yard sprint. Marvin Tell III provided the exclamation point with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:13 left to play.

The loss was Western Michigan’s (0-1) first regular-season setback since falling to Northern Illinois on Nov. 18, 2015, a streak of 14 games. USC (1-0) extended its winning streak to 10 games, trailing only Oklahoma’s 11 for the longest active winning streak in FBS.