Oregon State vs. USC: Giant Killers Once More?

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 Oregon State vs. USC: Giant Killers Once More?
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Who could forget when the Oregon State Beavers took down the mighty No. 1 USC Trojans in Week Four of last season?

Most probably still remember when the Beavers upset the then-No. 3 Trojans again at Reser Stadium in 2006.

Maybe some have even seen enough Beaver football to recall the day when the Beavers took down O.J. Simpson and the rest of the No. 1 Trojans in 1967.

In each of those preceding seasons Beavers came into the matchup a middle-of-the-road team with some embarrassing losses and some decent wins while USC boasted an impressive record and outstanding ranking, with obvious advantages on both sides of the ball.

This year is a little different however. This Beaver team comes in second in the Pac-10 standings at 2-1, and is coming off wins against Arizona State in Tempe (first time in several decades) and an impressive win over a rising Stanford team.

The Trojans, on the other hand, have kept to their winning ways ... sort of. USC holds a 5-1 overall record and an AP ranking of No. 4 at this point in the season, keeping with traditional USC domination. Hidden in the ranking and record however are several lackluster performances, including an embarrassing loss to an unranked Washington Huskie team.

In addition to the loss in Seattle, the Trojans have a win over a heavily overrated Ohio State team by a field goal, a rather unimpressive win over an absolutely horrible Washington State team, and most recently, a nail bitter win over No. 25 Notre Dame.

While a win is a win, the Trojans are going to have to do more against Pac-10 opponents, especially an Oregon State team who has a history of sacking Troy.

Even having said that, it's hard to imagine the Beavers pulling another upset this year, for several reasons.

  1. This year's matchup is set at the Coliseum, where USC has been nearly unstoppable in recent years. A surely unforgiving environment for Oregon State.
  2. This year's Trojans have also dropped one embarrassing loss this year, the likelihood of another seems far-fetched.
  3. Matt Barkley's numbers, though modest, have been consistent; Barkley is also undefeated when starting for USC.
  4. Joe McKnight who had a forgettable game at Reser Stadium last year has been solid this year and is sure to be playing with a chip on his shoulder.
  5. Oregon State's quarterback play has been mediocre at best. Sean Canfield has struggled throughout the year and will find it tough to get in front of the Pac-10's No. 1 defense.

However, all is not lost for Beaver Nation. There are also some similarities between the teams' statistics that may surprise you.

  • Sophmore Jacquizz Rodgers who ran for an unprecedented 186 yards and two touchdowns last year against USC returns with 697 yards on the season (second in the Pac-10) and leading the Pac-10 in scoring.
  • Statistically, USC quarterback Matt Barkley holds only a slight edge over OSU quarterback Sean Canfield with a QB rating of 150.65 compared to 137.46. Canfield also has more passing yards on the season then Barkley.
  • James Rodgers, brother of Jacquizz in second in the Pac-10 in receiving yards, followed closely by USC's Damian Williams.
  • USC averages 29.7 points per game while OSU averages 28.8
  • Oregon State is first in the Pac-10 in first downs per game while USC is seventh.
  • USC is also third in the Pac-10 in penalty yards (417) while OSU sits at ninth with (291)

There are many interesting elements to the impending Oregon State USC matchup. At first glance one would consider USC a heavy favorite, but looking at the history of the two teams and this season's intriguing statistics to say the least ... you've got to wonder. Can the "Beavs" do it again?

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My (uneasy) prediction ... The Trojans play error free football and force Canfield into uncomfortable situations, meanwhile Jacquizz Rodgers squeaks out just enough on the ground to keep the Beavers in it for awhile. In the end the Trojans are too consistent.

USC 34, Oregon State 21

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