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USC FOOTBALL FYI

Trojans headed to the Emerald Bowl

USC lost out on a bid to play in the Holiday Bowl by losing to Arizona on Saturday and will play Boston College on Dec. 26 in San Francisco.

December 07, 2009|By Gary Klein
  • USC tailback Allen Bradford brings Arizona cornerback Devin Ross along for a ride as he gains yardage in the second quarter Saturday.
USC tailback Allen Bradford brings Arizona cornerback Devin Ross along… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)

A USC season that went south in the second half will conclude with a bowl game up north.

The Trojans will play Boston College in the Emerald Bowl on Dec. 26 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, it was announced Sunday.

Kickoff is at 5 p.m., and the game will be televised by ESPN.

Both USC and Boston College are 8-4.

The Trojans are playing a postseason game somewhere other than the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2004 season.

"I think it's a good matchup with Boston College, a good chance to get a new setting for us," said Coach Pete Carroll, who was born in San Francisco and grew up in Marin County. "It's going home for me."

USC lost out on a Holiday Bowl bid by losing to Arizona in its regular-season finale. The Trojans finished 5-4 in the Pacific 10 Conference and 24th in the Bowl Championship Series standings.

On Sunday, they tumbled out of the Associated Press top-25 media poll, where they had been a fixture since the start of the 2002 season.

"We're going into this with an opportunity to get a couple more weeks of practice," Carroll said.

With final exams coming up and the game less than three weeks away, however, USC will not use the maximum 15 workouts allowed under NCAA rules.

Senior safety Taylor Mays said after the Arizona loss that the Trojans would be motivated for a bowl game despite a season that fell well below expectations.

"We like playing football," he said. "We get excited for practice, so playing in a game obviously will be exciting for us. It's not going to matter."

Senior cornerback Kevin Thomas agreed.

"It's not going to be tough to get up for the bowl game because it's one more chance to play together and play well," he said.

USC is 6-2 in bowl games under Carroll. With the exception of the 2001 Las Vegas Bowl against Utah, the Trojans have mostly played well in the postseason. USC defeated Iowa in the Orange Bowl and beat Michigan, Illinois and Penn State in the Rose Bowl. USC routed Oklahoma in the 2005 BCS title game in Florida and came up short against Texas in the 2006 championship game at the Rose Bowl.

Boston College, under first-year Coach Frank Spaziani, finished 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Eagles feature running back Montel Harris, who has rushed for 1,355 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Quarterback Dave Shinskie, who played minor league baseball for six seasons, has completed 53% of his passes. Shinskie has passed for 14 touchdowns, with 13 interceptions.

Linebacker Luke Kuechly averages 11.8 tackles a game.

USC and Boston College shared only one common opponent this season: Notre Dame.

The Trojans defeated the Fighting Irish, 34-27, on Oct. 17 at South Bend, Ind. The next week, Boston College lost at Notre Dame, 20-16.

The Eagles' other defeats were at Clemson and Virginia Tech and at home against North Carolina.

USC has played Boston College twice, winning, 23-17, in 1987 and, 34-7, in 1988. The schools are scheduled to have a home-and-home series in 2013 and 2014.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

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