No. 1 USC Football Team Travels To Oregon State

Oct. 31, 2004

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It's with a wary eye that the top-ranked, defending national champion USC football goes to on-a-roll Oregon State this week. Trojans with recent memories recall Troy's last visit to Corvallis: a loss in 2000 that snapped USC's 26-game winning streak over OSU. However, longtime Trojan fans remember 1967 when O.J. Simpson and No. 1 USC lost, 3-0, in the November rain and mud of then-Parker Stadium, the only blemish on Troy's national championship season. This year's game, after 3 consecutive Coliseum meetings between the teams, is sold out. For the second week in a row, the Trojans are in the Pacific Northwest playing a game on turf and with inclement weather lurking. It's Troy's final road trip of the regular season (the final 3 contests are in Southern California). USC enters the always-important stretch of November contests, a month when USC head coach Pete Carroll has never lost a game. USC has a better winning percentage against Oregon State than any other Pac-10 school. USC--enjoying its best start since 1988--is coming off an easy win at Washington State. Troy possesses some impressive win streaks: 17 overall games (second longest in school history), 12 Pac-10 games and 9 road games. As high-powered as USC's offense has been, it's the Trojan defense that is really making an impact. USC is in the nation's Top 6 in every defensive statistical category (including first in turnover margin, third in scoring defense and fourth in total defense)! Opponents have been able to average only 10 points and 250 yards of total offense against Troy's defense. The Trojans are doing so behind the relentless play of such All-American candidates as DTs Shaun Cody (a Lombardi semifinalist) and Mike Patterson and LBs Matt Grootegoed (a Butkus semifinalist) and Lofa Tatupu. USC's offense, which averages 5 touchdowns and more than 400 yards per outing, features Heisman Trophy candidate QB Matt Leinart and the 'Thunder and Lightning' tailback duo of LenDale White and multifaced Reggie Bush, who also is receiving Heisman notice. Oregon State--coached by former USC assistant Mike Riley--is hot, having won its last 3 games (including at Arizona last week). Record-setting QB Derek Anderson and productive, league-leading SE Mike Hass lead the pass-oriented Beaver offense, which sports the Pac-10's top passing numbers. OSU's aggressive defense has done a nice job controlling the pass. After almost beating one of last year's national champs (LSU) in the 2004 opener, now they'll try to do so against the other titlist. The game will be shown live nationally on FSN cable.