With a deep pass that fell incomplete on the first play of the game against Boston College on Saturday, head coach Lane Kiffin sent a message that the USC offense would be different. Gone were the bubble screens that so infuriated fans and puzzled observers, but one thing that didn't change was the punishing running of Tre Madden.
The former linebacker rushed for 102 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries in the 35-7 win, his third consecutive game topping the century mark in only his third college game as a running back.
Madden impressed during spring practice in 2012, but tore knee ligaments and missed all of last season. At 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds, the redshirt sophomore brings a physical presence that USC has lacked since the departure of LenDale White after the 2005 season.
With Madden gashing the Eagles on the ground, USC's passing game finally showed signs of life. Cody Kessler was 15-of-17 passing for 237 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions, looking very relaxed after being announced as the starter earlier this week and benefitting from a game plan that better suited his skill set.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee caught two passes for 90 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season.