USC Football Travels To Oregon State After Bye Week
Oct. 22, 2006
No. 3/2 USC, undefeated through the first half of the season for the third consecutive season, travels to Oregon State after getting a much-needed bye last week. It will be Troy's last regular-season game in 2006 outside the state of California. The last time the Trojans visited Corvallis was the memorable 2004 victory in the fog (and the time before that was a loss in 2000 that snapped USC's 26-game winning streak over the Beavers). USC has a better winning percentage against Oregon State than any other Pac-10 school. The teams didn't play last year. Besides their current 6-game victory streak, the Trojans (who have won 51 of their last 53 games) are riding some daunting winning streaks: 27 Pac-10 games, 18 road games, 18 October games and 13 Pac-10 road games. USC, which is playing one of the nation's most difficult schedules, also has scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 57 consecutive outings. But things haven't come easily for the Trojans lately, as their recent games have been close, low-scoring affairs (5 straight games under 30 points and 3 straight wins by a TD or less). Sixth-year head coach Pete Carroll, who is the nation's winningest active coach, has won all but 1 game in the last half of the regular-season. And in each of his past 4 seasons, the Trojans had an AP Top 4 finish (including national championships in 2003 and 2004) and a BCS bowl appearance. TB Chauncey Washington has bolstered USC's ground attack of late, while QB John David Booty continues to be effective through the air. His top receivers--2005 Biletnikoff Award finalist and All-American first team WR Dwayne Jarrett, who is the Pac-10's career touchdown reception leader, and Trojan Top 10 WR Steve Smith--are healthy again. USC's offensive line is anchored by 2005 All-American OT Sam Baker and Rimington Award candidate C Ryan Kalil. The Trojan defense, ranked in the national Top 25 in every defensive stat category while starting just 1 senior, is led by LBs Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga (a 2006 Butkus Award semifinalist), Brian Cushing and Dallas Sartz and DE Lawrence Jackson. PK Mario Danelo has been near perfect in his career (he is nationally ranked in field goals and scoring), while PK Troy Van Blarcom's kickoffs rarely have been returned this season. USC fans will recognize some familiar faces on the Oregon State side: former Trojan assistant Mike Riley is in his fourth year at the Beaver head coach and QB Matt Moore last faced USC in 2002 while wearing a UCLA uniform. Oregon State, which won at Arizona last Saturday for its second win in a row, features one of the Pac-10's top rushers (TB Yvenson Bernard) and pass catchers (SE Sammie Stroughter). The Beaver defense ranks high nationally against the run and in sacks and tackles for a loss thanks to the strong linebacker corps of Alan Darlin, Derrick Doggett and Joey LaRocque, and then there's a dangerous pass thief in SS Sabby Piscetelli. PK Alexis Serna won the Lou Groza Award last year. Reser Stadium could be sold out, making it USC's 13th consecutive sellout, home and away. The game will be shown live nationally on FSN cable.