Beavers Travel to No. 4 USC for ABC showdown

Oct. 19, 2009

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THIS WEEK: Oregon State (4-2, 2-1 in Pac-10) travels to the fabled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to challenge the No. 4 (AP/Coaches) USC Trojans (5-1, 2-1). The game will be televised live by ABC beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday marks the 25th consecutive live televised appearance for the Beavers - the fifth-longest active streak in the Pac-10.

SERIES: The series dates back to 1914 with USC holding a commanding 58-10-4 advantage, but Oregon State has won two of the last three games, including last year's 27-21 victory over the then No. 1 Trojans - marked the second time in school history the Beavers have beaten a No. 1 team - also knocking off the Trojans 3-0 in 1967 - both games in Corvallis. The Beavers' 2006 victory (33-31) over the then No. 3 Trojans ended USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak. OSU has not won at USC since 1960 (see next note). Last season OSU jumped to a 21-0 lead at halftime and then held on for the victory. Freshman RB Jacquizz Rodgers had a then career-high 186 yards rushing (had 189 in last game vs. Stanford) and two touchdowns and his brother James had two touchdowns receiving.

50/50: Oregon State has won five of its last 10 games against nationally ranked opponents, including over No. 1 USC (2008), No. 2 California (2007) and No. 3 USC (2006). The other victories are over No. 19 Pittsburgh (2008 Sun Bowl) and No. 24 Hawai'i (2006).

THE LAST TIME: The last time Oregon State won against USC at the Coliseum was 1960 - the streak has reached 21 games. To put into perspective here are some interesting facts the last time the Beavers won on that season opening Sept. 16, 1960:
• President: Dwight D. Eisenhower
• Vice President: Richard M. Nixon
• OSU Head Coach: Tommy Prothro
• Gallon of Gas: $0.31
• Avg. home cost: $16,500
• 1st Class Stamp: $.04
• Gallon of Milk: $0.49
• Billboard Top Song: 'It's Now or Never' by Elvis Presley
• Age of Mike Riley: 7
• Super Bowl winner: 2,312 days from the first one (6-plus years)
• Most of the current OSU players' parents were not born.

THAT'S ONE BIG POLTERGEIST: Since the beginning of the Beaver football renaissance with the hiring of head coach and former USC offensive coordinator Mike Riley in the winter of 1997, many ghosts of Beaver football past have vanished, except the streak at USC. Here is a closer look at a few others:
• Bowl Drought: Jan. 1, 1965 Rose Bowl to Dec. 24, 1999 O'ahu Bowl (34 seasons)*
• Winning Seasons Drought: 1970-1999
• 0 or 1 win seasons: 8
*The Pac-10 only sent one team to a bowl in the mid-1960s

OSU HAS HAD CHANCES TO BREAK...: the streak at USC. In 2001 OSU placekicker Ryan Cesca missed a 35-yard field goal (wide left) with 6:04 remaining and then missed a 29-yard boot (wide right) with 33 seconds remaining, before USC won in overtime 16-13. Cesca hit a 29-yarder in the first OT, but USC quarterback Carson Palmer answered with a 4-yard run to end the game. In 1999 the Beavers committed four turnovers, but still had a chance down 37-29 when USC's Chad Morton fumbled late in the game at OSU's 41-yard line; the Beavers moved to the Trojan 31 before a fourth-down Terrance Bryant pass went incomplete in the final seconds. The Beavers also had narrow losses in 1963 (28-22) and 1968 (17-13), but in both games the score was closer than the actual game - the Beavers scored twice in the final 90 seconds of each and failed to recover the following onside kick. The Coliseum has also been the locale for OSU's worst loss ever, 63-0 in 1985.

SHOULDER DERAILS LEFTY: Senior starting quarterback Sean Canfield was playing the best football of his career, prior to this season, when he hurt his left (passing) shoulder at USC in the 2007 game while attempting to slide to avoid a Trojan tackler. He would miss the rest of the regular season before replacing the injured Lyle Moevao during the Emerald Bowl victory. He had offseason shoulder surgery to repair the strain before the 2008 slate.

KEY TO WINS - THIRD DOWN CONVERSION DEFENSE? The Beavers have held their last two opponents (ASU & Stan) to 5 of 27 (19%) on third down conversions as compared to the previous two (Cinn & UA) to 10 of 25 (40%). In the last two victories, the opponents have been at 3rd-and-5 or less just twice, failing to convert on either. Those same two opponents have been also unsuccessful at 3rd-and-9 or more at 0-for-5. On the other side the Beavers have converted 13 of 26 (50%) in the last two contests as opposed to 12 of 32 (38%) in the previous two.

'PASS'...: Maybe it's partly because of the relatively inexperienced left side of the Beaver offensive line, as the team has been more successful gaining first downs via the air - a Pac-10 leading 76. The Beavers have 41 on the ground, near the bottom of the league. The Beaver opponents have managed 81 (2nd most allowed in the Pac-10) first downs passing, but only 34 on the ground.

RUSHERS: Since the 2002 season, Oregon State is second in the Pac-10 for the number of times a player has reached the 1,000-yard rushing plateau with six (missing only 2004). California leads the league with seven, followed by the Beavers, Oregon (5), USC (3), UCLA (2) and Stanford, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State with one each.

RUNNING BACK U?: Former Oregon State running backs Ken Simonton, Yvenson Bernard (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) all rank in the top 11 of the Pac-10 Conference for career rushing. USC is the only other school in the league with more - Charles White, Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell. If sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers averages his 2008 total (1,253 yards) for the next three seasons he would finish his career third on that chart with 5,012 yards, trailing only White (6,245) and Simonton (5,044).

GIVE THAT RILEY GUY AN EXTRA WEEK ...: Oregon State has won its last seven games after a bye week and since Mike Riley's return in 2003 is 8-2. Even in his first two years of a major rebuilding process in 1997-98 he was 1-1 following a bye. Here is a closer look at the results after a bye week in the Riley tenure:
Sept. 20, 1997 vs. No. 21 Stanford L 27-24
Nov. 21, 1998 vs. Oregon W 44-41 (OT)
Oct. 18, 2003 vs. Washington L 38-17
Nov. 15, 2003 vs. Stanford W 43-3
Dec. 6, 2003 at No. 2 USC L 52-28
Oct. 16, 2004 at Washington W 29-14
Oct. 15, 2005 at No. 18 California W 23-20
Sept. 23, 2006 vs. Idaho W 38-0
Oct. 27, 2007 vs. Stanford W 23-6
Dec. 1, 2007 at Oregon W 38-31 (OT)
Sept. 25, 2008 vs. No. 1 USC W 27-21
Nov. 1, 2008 vs. Arizona State W 27-25

WE LIVE FOR THIS: If the season only started in October - that's been a traditionally good sign for the Beavers. Since the 2006 campaign OSU is 24-5 (83%) in games played in October, November and December.

IS THAT RIGHT? Oregon State has the longest road winning streak in the Pac-10 Conference at five games (Arizona State and UNLV this season, and Arizona, UCLA and Washington last year). The Beavers haven't won six straight road games since capturing five in a row in 1969 (Iowa, ASU, UW, Cal, UO) and the first road tilt of 1970 (Oklahoma).

WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE, WIN THE GAME: Over the last 68 games, Oregon State is 29-3 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 9-18 when committing more and 5-4 when even. Oregon State has lost just four turnovers this season, tied for ninth in the nation. OSU and Cincinnati, are the only teams to not have lost a fumble this season and the Beavers four lost turnovers overall is tied for the fewest in the nation with Cincinnati and Air Force. Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers has never lost a fumble at OSU - 387 rushes and 67 receptions. Oddly, on the other side of the ball only one team (Nevada-4) has caused fewer turnovers than the Beavers with six. Last season OSU was sixth in the country forcing 34 turnovers. Since 2001 ranks 11th in turnovers forced, the OSU defense trails USC (276), Virginia Tech (260), Oklahoma (258), West Virginia (248), Boston College (246), Washington State (240), Southern Miss (239), Hawai'i (237), Texas (236), and Boise State (232).

IN THE (RED) ZONE: The Beavers lead the Pac-10 and are tied for third in the nation for redzone scoring percentage at 95.8 percent, scoring on 23 of 24 opportunities. Seventeen via touchdowns and six via field goals. See more details on redzone scoring in the statistics portion of the notes.

PRETTY GOOD QBS: Saturday features two of the top quarterbacks statistically in the Pac-10 in OSU's Sean Canfield and USC's Matt Barkley. Canfield ranks third in the league for passing yards per game at 234.2 while Barkley is first at 267.6. Canfield is on school record pace for single season passing completion percentage (currently at 67.9%) that is held by Matt Moore (60.6%) in 2006.

SIX BETWEEN THEM: The dynamic brother combination of James and Jacquizz Rodgers has captured six Pac-10 Players of the Week honors in their careers. James had one from last year and was the league's offensive player of the week for Oct. 5. Quizz had three last year and was the Off. Player of the Week for Oct. 12.

STOPPING THE RUN: The Beavers enter this week ranked third in the Pac-10 for rush defense, allowing 97.7 yards per game. The defense has kept each of the previous six opponents leading rusher under their average. USC enters the week second allowing 67.7 yards.

WHEN IN DOUBT, GIVE IT TO QUIZZ: Jacquizz Rodgers is second in the nation for touchdowns scored rushing with 13 (Ricky Dobbs, Navy, 17). He is only six short of the school record for TDs scored on the ground for a season. James has four receiving, meaning the Rodgers' have accounted for 17 of the team's 21 (81%) touchdowns.

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