The curse is officially over.
Coach Orgeron and a hobbled group of Trojans entered Corvallis to challenge the Oregon State Beavers in Reser Stadium, a place they had not won in since 2004, and emerged victorious. A strong defensive line effort, third-down conversions and a great performance from the Trojan running game carried USC to the 31-14 victory over the Beavers.
On 4th-and-1 to start the fourth quarter, Mike Riley dialed up a gutsy passing play that successfully kept the drive alive. A few big rushing plays moved the Beavers within scoring range, and a bone-headed unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on USC’s Leon McQuay bumped Oregon State within the 10-yard line.
Then, something crazy happened.
Sean Mannion threw what could have been a touchdown to Tyler Perry, but Dion Bailey jumped the play and grabbed the interception. Perry reached up and grabbed Bailey for the facemask, and USC got a nice 15-yard penalty to add on to the pick.
Oregon State was 0-3 on the night in the redzone.
USC started deep in their own endzone, but a strong effort from Buck Allen moved the Trojans down the field methodically. After taking some time off the clock, the Trojans ultimately punted it away.
The Beavers got the ball back and made their way towards the Trojan endzone once again. But a tipped Mannion pass fell into the arms of Trojan defensive back Kevon Seymour, who fielded the interception and ran it back nearly 20 yards. It was his first pick of his USC career, and made up for the fact that he gave up a touchdown earlier in the game.
With that play, the USC nail met the Oregon State coffin, and the Trojans knew they would leave Corvallis with the W for the first time since 2004.
The Trojans played well across the board on the night, though penalties and strings of inconsistency hampered the team at times.
Cody Kessler completed 17 of 21 attempts for 247 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Sean Mannion on the other hand was 23-of-40 for 244 yards and one touchdown. Mannion also threw three picks on the night, matching his total for the entire season.
Silas Redd led the rushing attack with a strong 140 yards on 22 carries, but Buck Allen was the star of the night. He had 133 yards on 16 carries for the Trojans, and three touchdowns to boot. He played extremely physically all night, making a case for himself to stay in the running back rotation.
Through the air, Marqise Lee showed everyone that he is back. He caught a 71-yard bomb from Kessler on USC’s opening play of the game, and ran it into the endzone for the touchdown. He had five catches for 105 yards on the night. Nelson Agholor helped out with two catches for 73 yards, and Allen had four receptions for 41 yards.
USC converted 7-of-14 third-down attempts, more than they have done in any other single game on the season.
Coach Orgeron and his crew advance to 3-0 in Pac-12 play (6-3 overall), and keep the Trojans alive in the Pac-12 South race.