Leave it to the Beavers: Oregon State shocks No. 1 USC
The Associated Press
Aspen CO, Colorado
CORVALLIS, Ore. ” Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns, and Oregon State built an early lead and held on for a 27-21 upset victory over top-ranked Southern California on Thursday night.
The Beavers (2-2, 1-1 Pacific-10) also upset USC at Reser Stadium in 2006. This time, Oregon State took a 21-0 lead in the first half, then capitalized on a late turnover.
USC quarterback Mark Sanchez’s pass was intercepted by safety Greg Laybourn on the 30 with less than 3 minutes to play. Laybourn ran the ball back 28 yards to put Oregon State on the 2, and Rodgers ran 2 yards to make it 27-14.
Sanchez hit Patrick Turner with a 14-yard scoring pass with 1:19 left, but time ran out on the Trojans (2-1, 0-1). Beavers fans, clad in orange, rushed the field when the clock ran out.
They carried Laybourn on their shoulders.
“I’m beside myself,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “They didn’t hide what they were doing, they just did it. We couldn’t stop it. We couldn’t tackle.”
Oregon State’s only other victory over a No. 1 team was a 3-0 win over USC and O.J. Simpson in 1967.
The last time the Trojans were in Corvallis, back in 2006, they were upset by the Beavers, 33-31. That loss snapped a 38-game regular-season winning streak for the USC, ranked No. 3 at the time.
Rodgers’ rushing yards were the most by a Trojans opponent since Vince Young ran for 200 for Texas in the BCS national championship game in 2006.
Beavers quarterback Lyle Moevao completed 18 of 26 passes for 167 yards and two scores.
“They came out and competed,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said of his team. “We were respectful, but not in awe.”
USC tailback Joe McKnight rushed for just 10 yards against the Beavers, after gaining 105 yards in the Trojans’ 35-3 victory over Ohio State.
Sanchez completed 18 of 29 passes for 227 yards and three scores, with the one crucial interception.
The game opened with drama, as USC safety Taylor Mays was called for a personal foul on Oregon State receiver James Rodgers on an 8-yard touchdown reception.
Carroll asked that the score be reviewed, because it did not look as if the ball had crossed the line. The touchdown stood, giving the Beavers a 7-0 lead.
The Beavers more than held their own through the first half, with the Trojans appearing confused about how to handle the 5-foot-7 Jacquizz Rodgers ” James Rodgers’ younger brother.
Jacquizz Rodgers, who ran for 117 yards in the first half alone, pushed through the defensive line for a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 14-0.
His big brother saw the end zone again before halftime. Moevao’s pass was nearly intercepted by USC cornerback Kevin Thomas, but the ball was tipped into the hands of James Rodgers to make it 21-0.
James Rodgers finished with six catches for 36 yards and the two scores.
USC answered on its first series of the second half with Sanchez’s 26-yard scoring pass to Ronald Johnson.
Sanchez found wide-open receiver Damien Williams, who sprinted down the sideline ” and narrowly avoided Laybourn’s efforts to push him out of bounds ” to narrow it to 21-14 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
The Beavers squandered a chance to add to the lead midway through the fourth when they tried for a field goal, but Sean Sehnem’s 41-yard attempt was blocked.
The Beavers opened this season with two losses, at Stanford and Penn State, before returning home for a victory over Hawaii.
Despite their struggles, the Beavers had seen steady growth on offense and the emergence of Jacquizz Rodgers, who went into the game against the Trojans as the nation’s leading freshman rusher with 87.7 yards per game.
USC had shown little vulnerability in victories at Virginia and then at home against then-No. 5 Buckeyes. But Carroll noted earlier in the week that the familiarity of Pac-10 play posed a danger.
The Beavers certainly seemed to have the Trojans figured out, holding them to 313 yards total offense. Stafon Johnson was USC’s leading rusher with 48 yards. Williams had six catches for 94 yards.
“The reality of the Pac-10 is obvious,” Carroll said after the game.
USC was without cornerback Shareece Wright, who will miss several games due to a hairline vertebra fracture suffered in the Ohio State game.
Carroll had said Wright was being disciplined after being charged with felony resisting a police officer earlier this month, but would have played against Oregon State had he been cleared medically.
USC has lost three of its last four games in Corvallis.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”