Oregon State scored first, on a touchdown pass to Tegan Quitoriano barely 5 minutes into the game, came from behind in the 2nd quarter to take a 21-17 halftime lead, dominated the 3rd quarter, and scored 46 seconds into the 4th quarter to open a 4 score lead, going up 42-17, having punched in touchdowns on 5 consecutive drives.
The Beavers then withstood a 10 point Trojan rally, and ended the game with a field goal for the last points of the 45-27 win, and then an interception that allowed Chance Nolan to again give away a couple yards from of a dominant rushing total yardage, with a couple of victory formation plays, the like of which Oregon State has never been able to do in the LA Coliseum.
But how the Beavers went about the win was even more impressive than the score, which was the most points Oregon State has ever scored against USC, eclipsing their record of 38, which had stood since 1914. Or that they got their first win in the Coliseum since 1960. Oregon State took the fight to USC wire to wire, and never backed down, on offense or defense.
BJ Baylor, above, brutalized the USC defense for 158 yards on 23 carries, including a 40 yard run that was the longest play of the game, even if he never found the end zone. But Jack Colletto did twice, and so did Tyjon Lindsey, 2 of the 4 of the scoring passes Nolan completed.
Nolan, above, completed 15 of 19 passes, 79%, for 213 yards, and added 57 more yards on 5 carries. Nolan also avoided any sacks, though he did have a pair of interceptions. Nolan also added a 53 yard punt.
“Chance was spot on,” Lindsey said. “A couple of them passes almost came through my face mask!”
Lindsey, above, had 5 catches for 102 yards, both team highs, including a long of 33 yards. Tre’Shaun Harrison added 52 yards on 4 catches, including the 36 yard touchdown, longest catch of the night by either team, 44 seconds before halftime.
In all, Oregon State rolled up 532 yards, including a bruising 319 on the ground.
None of it was a fluke. Both of Oregon State’s 2nd quarter touchdown drives covered 92 yards. The 3rd quarter scoring drives covered 75 & 59 yards.
Defensively, though USC rolled up 431 yards, 355 through the air, Oregon State fought them for nearly every one of them. It was a factor in the Beavers being flagged for 13 penalties, an item of consternation for many OSU faithful, though that was only 1 more than were thrown on the Trojans. But a close look at replay will reveal 2 things. One is the calls were generally spot on.
The other, more importantly, is Oregon State was intent on physically contesting the potent USC passing game, and especially Drake London, who had 10 catches, for 165 yards. But the Trojan’s best weapon was kept out of the end zone.
“We talked about it all week,” Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith said, “that we wanted to make it physical. And I was pleased, not with the penalties, but how the guys responded to them.”
Kedon Slovis, who regained the starting job after Jaxon Dart, who took over for Slovis after an injury on the first drive of last week’s game in Pullman, and led a spectacular comeback win, had knee surgery this week, completed 31 of 49 passes, but for only 1 touchdown. And the Beavers picked him off 3 times, including Slovis’ last 2 passes, when Colletto snagged one to set up the final field goal, and then Alton Julian set the table for the victory formation/celebration.
“They out-coached us and out-played us,” USC interim head coach Donte Williams felt.
The Beavers improved to 3-1, having won 3 in a row for the first time since 2014, and also won their conference opener, also for the first time since 2014. Next up is Washington (2-2, 1-0) next Saturday night at Reser. The Huskies also had a #Pac12LongAfterDark win tonight, defeating California 31-24 in overtime.
Oregon State will go forward against another foe that has had their number, as Washington has won 9 straight against the Beavers, and only a couple of them have even been competitive. But if they can carry the same approach, another long streak of futility could come to an end. For years, Oregon State frequently ran scared at USC, and even at Reser, where they have had some success, with one notable exception, there was still often an element of luck involved, and also, a sense of hanging on. Tonight, it was a case of being the team that dictated terms, physically, and more importantly, mentally.
Cue the Fight Song!