Lane Kiffin

USC Coach Lane Kiffin walks in front of his players prior to the start of Saturday's game against Washington State. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times / September 7, 2013)

While USC fans booed Lane Kiffin’s play-calling during the Trojans’ 10-7 loss to Washington State, the defense has mostly earned raves.

The defense has given up only one touchdown in two games. The Trojans, who play Boston College on Saturday, rank first nationally in rushing defense, surrendering only 15 yards a game, and in sacks with 11.

The Trojans are 11th in total defense (226.5 yards a game) and 19th in scoring defense (11.9 points a game).

In January, after Kiffin’s father, Monte, resigned as the top defensive assistant, Kiffin hired defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, who installed  a “52” scheme.

During the weekly Pac-12 Conference coaches teleconference, Kiffin attributed the Trojans’ early defensive success to a physical approach and the change in schemes.

 “Just really excited about how multiple we are,” Kiffin said. “The decision we made in January to make a change, and to make a change and go out and find a system that we want in here, and it’s been a great two games so far.”

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