Combining a strong defensive effort with a powerful running game, the University of Southern California Trojans (USC) won handily in Corvallis, Oregon, beating the high-flying passing attack of the Oregon State Beavers 31-14 (source: Daily News). The win keeps the Trojans in the thick of the battle for the South Division title and a shot at the conference championship.
USC (6-3 overall, 3-2 in Pac-12) came out strong and were never headed the entire night by Oregon State (6-3, 4-2). After blocking an opening drive field goal attempt by the Beavers, Trojans’ quarterback Cody Kessler fired a long touchdown strike to a wide open Marqise Lee on their first play on offense, and led early 7-0. Lee had been injured and was questionable for the game and played sparingly for USC but still managed 105 yards receiving on five catches. Kessler was solid all night and although he threw a pick-six in the second quarter that drew Oregon State even at 14-14, he ended the night with 17 of 21 passes for 247 yards passing.
However, it was the running attack and an aggressive defense that shut down the neon orange Beavers Thursday night. On a national stage, Oregon State came out in wild orange uniforms and helmets that you couldn’t miss. Yet quarterback Sean Mannion who has had an incredible year so far, misfired time-after-time and completed just 26 passes in 45 attempts with three interceptions. He had only three interceptions all year coming into the contest.
The Trojans defense stifled Mannion and the Beavers’ vaunted air attack that had been one of the best in the nation. Oregon State has been smothered two weeks in-a-row by superior defenses with first Stanford last week and now USC last night. The Beavers lead the nation in yards passing, but their running game is in the bottom 10 nationally. Oregon State managed 93 yards rushing for the night.
Punishing run game
On the other hand, the Trojans rushing attack pounded the Beavers all night, finishing with 242 yards on the ground. USC was led by senior tailback Silas Redd’s 140 yards, his best outing in over a year. However, a coming out game, so to speak, was evidenced by redshirt sophomore Javorious ‘Buck’ Allen who had by far his best performance of his career with 133 yards and three touchdowns. Allen averaged 8.3 yards per carry and also added 41 yards receiving on four catches.
This win was the first for men of Troy after three consecutive losses at Oregon State. The last time the Trojans won in Corvallis was their national title run in 2004.
Are they back?
The USC Trojans played one of their best games of the year and looked loose, yet passionate in their attitude all evening. That mind-set was due likely to head coach Ed Orgeron’s fired up but fun approach to the game. In fact, if the Trojans can continue to play like they did last night in Corvallis, the rest of the Pac-12 should be concerned.
USC is at California next week and then plays Stanford at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum the following week. They head to Colorado after that and then finish the regular season in the Coliseum against their crosstown rival UCLA. If the Bruins beat Arizona State the week prior to the UCLA/USC battle and the Trojans can run the table, it’s possible USC would end up in the Pac-12 Conference championship game. Crazy to even consider a month ago but then this is a reinvigorated team. The men of Troy may be back … and that can’t be good news for the rest of the league.
Additional source: Pac-12 Conference
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