Oregon State's Win Over USC May Bolster Respect for Penn State

Tim MusserContributor ISeptember 25, 2008

It was bedlam in Corvalis and chances are that if you follow college football and aren't a USC fan, it would have been bedlam in your living room if you stayed up to watch the unranked Oregon State Beavers knock off the top ranked Trojans Thursday night.

Oregon State no doubt drew the support of legions of fans tonight. Be it those of Oklahoma, Georgia, Florida, or LSU, they were no doubt cheering on the Beavers as they were doing the unthinkable again as USC lost in Corvalis for the third time in their last four trips.

Even those who just like to watch a good "David vs. Goliath" game no doubt had a field day as they watched Oregon State easily recover the USC onside kick with a minute and sixteen seconds remaining in the game.

One team whose fans were perhaps even more jubilant than any other's as the Oregon State students charged the giant Beaver at midfield as the clock ticked to zero would have to be those of Penn State, as the Nittany Lions dismantled the Beavers not three weeks before. The upset of this young season may have finally quieted some critics and thrust Penn State into national championship talks.

One would be hard pressed to describe the Oregon State triumph without mentioning running back Jaquizz Rodgers who slashed his way through the USC defense to amass 186 yards and two touchdowns and certainly making quite a name for himself.

What was not mentioned until the end of the game however, was how Penn State man-handled Oregon State in Happy Valley allowing little more than half the yardage on the ground that the Beavers gained on USC (92 vs. Penn State, 176 vs. USC). The Nittany Lion defense also held Jaquizz Rodgers to similar statistics (99 yards vs. Penn State, 186 vs. USC).

To USC's credit they did hold the Beavers to 74 less receiving yards than the Nittany Lions; however, this may be accredited to Penn State's control of the rushing game, and USC's lack there of as the Beavers took to the air only 27 times against USC compared to 41 attempts versus the Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions did also have two interceptions that the Trojans failed to achieve.

From these sheer statistics and the simple ease of execution of both offense and defense that the supposedly inferior Nittany Lions were able to achieve against Oregon State compared to that of USC, it should be a crime if Penn State is not mentioned in national championship talks, as they should crack the top 10 with a win over Illinois this weekend.

A major asset for the defense returns in that it was just announced Thursday that suspended defensive linemen Abe Koroma and Maurice Evans will more than likely play against Illinois. It was not announced as to whether they will start or not, but regardless their return will give the line some much needed depth for the rest of the season.

Now it is up to Penn State to control their own destiny depending on their performance in the Big Ten as several of the SEC teams ahead of the Nittany Lions will knock off one another, while the Wisconsin Badgers will host Penn State in two weeks.