USC capitalized on Oregon State’s miscues and break downs much better than the Beavers took advantage of mistakes and sloppiness by the Trojans Saturday afternoon in the LA Coliseum, and as a result, took the 38-10 win that continues a whole host of streaks not in Oregon State’s favor.
The Trojans took a 2 touchdown lead just over 6 minutes into the game. Then they fumbled the ball to the Beavers a couple of times. But Oregon State dropped a pair of first half touchdown passes, and failed to convert on 2 field goal attempts. Later on, the Beavers would fail on an ill-advised attempt at converting a 4th and 2, probably prompted by the problems with the kicking game. When the Trojans also eventually faced a 4th & 2, they converted to keep the drive alive, and eventually go on to score a touchdown.
It was the sloppiest game the 14th ranked Trojans have played all season, but the reasons the Beavers covered the spread for the first time this year were it had grown to ridiculous proportions, 34 1/2 points, and USC coach Clay Helton pulled his starters early in the 4th quarter, and then directed his reserves to hand the ball back to Oregon State rather than punch in a second touchdown when they could have, a thank you for the Beavers not rushing the extra point kick when the Trojans again used their blind backup long snapper Jake Olson.
Despite the three first half USC turnovers, Oregon State got not points off of them, and still struggled and self destructed more than enough times to still not have beat the Trojans in the LA Coliseum since 1960, and have lost 16 in a row on the road. That includes going 0 for 14 in the Gary Andersen era, with 13 of them being blowouts.
And though they did better, the Beavers again lost both the 3rd quarter and the second half. Had it not been for an erroneous decision by replay, the 3rd quarter would have been even, but it wasn’t. Too believe some corner has been turned would be fooling oneself.
The Beavers have all the earmarks of a bad football team that’s poorly coached. Dropped touchdown passes, untimely penalties, and turning the ball over in the red zone due to not handling a snap are all signs of a team not ready to play. Further, all 3 of the touchdown passes USC’s Sam Darnold threw came on plays where Oregon State suffered a major coverage breakdown.
Perhaps it was in part confusion that could have resulted from playing far more single high coverage than the Beavers showed in their first 5 games combined. That change up might have been a factor in Darnold having one of the worst days of his career as well.
But Darnold still threw 23 completions on 35 attempts, 66%, for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns.
In contrast, Oregon State’s Darell Garretson was wildly inaccurate as usual, completing only 16 of 29 passes, just 55%. For less than 200 yards. And no points.
Playing without Ryan Nall, a game time scratch due to the ankle injury he suffered in last week’s loss to Washington, the Beaver ground game still showed some life, led by Artavis Pierce, who had 60 yards on 12 carries, and Oregon State’s only touchdown of the day, a 6 yard run early in the 4th quarter.
But USC, adjusting to the absence of both their starting right guard and tackle, still ran for 184 yards, led by Ronald Jones’ 79.
As a result, Oregon State’s defense yet again gave up well over 500 total yards.
Seth Collins was Oregon State’s best weapon, with 5 catches for 91 yards, including a spectacular 1 hander, and 4 carries for 23 more. But a taunting penalty after the catch for what appeared to be a touchdown late in the 3rd quarter delayed the score at a time when the clock already mattered if a comeback were somehow to come about.
The most telling bad stat of the game though was Oregon State’s lack of efficiency when it mattered. Despite eventually converting 5 3rd downs, the Beavers were only 1 of 8 in the first half, and failed on their first opportunity of the third quarter as well. Their 2nd 3rd down conversion didn’t come until after the Beavers were down 28-3, and it was essentially too late.
The Beavers, after dropping to 1-5, and 0-3 in the Pac-12, head home to take on Colorado next Saturday for Homecoming.
The Trojans improved to 5-1, and 3-1 in conference, and will host Utah next week.
(AP Photo by Alex Gallardo)