Nov 1, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; USC Trojans running back Javorius Allen (37) runs towards the end zone against Oregon State Beavers in the first half at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

USC vs. Oregon State: Studs and Duds

The Trojans pulled off the upset in Corvallis 31-14 in surprisingly straightforward fashion. There were plenty of standouts for USC and a fair share of lowlights for everyone else involved.

Stud: Buck Allen

Buck Allen wasn’t expected to be the star of the evening, but he sure forced his way into that spot. His 133 yards on 16 carries overshadowed a great performance from Silas Redd, who out came away as the leader in yardage, but that’s what happens when you score three electric touchdowns. That production is particularly surprising given Oregon State’s strength on defense is against the run. He also did damage in the passing game with 40 yards on four receptions.

Dud: Pac-12 Refs

This is nothing new, but Pac-12 referees, and Jay Stricherz crew in particular, are awful. And that’s coming from both sides of the field. The discrepancy in penalties have to make you lift an eyebrow given neither team is particularly adept at avoiding yellow flags. Yet somehow, USC finished the night with nine penalties for 68 yards while Oregon State accepted a total of one, that one coming for 15 yards. The USC pass rushers were repeatedly held as they got the better of the Beaver offensive line, yet not a hold was called. That was also the case on kick offs with several more blatant holds missed.

It wasn’t just the Trojans with gripes against the refs, Stricherz and his crew also missed at least two clear-cut pass interference calls against USC.

Stud: Defensive Line

The game always had the feel of one that would be decided in the trenches and the USC defensive line made sure they came out on top in that battle. Led by Devon Kennard, who posted two sacks on the night, the Trojans kept the Beavers out of rhythm, never letting Sean Mannion and company find a foothold in the game. Despite giving up 114 yards on the ground, USC’s d-line controlled the Oregon State offense by sniffing out screens and getting in Mannion’s face.

Dud: Sean Mannion

The Beaver passing offense was tops in the nation coming into the contest, which was supposed to be a big problem for the USC defense. Turns out, it wasn’t the test most thought it would be. In the face of relentless pressure from the Trojan pass rush, Mannion lost all semblance of composure. Before Friday, the Beaver quarterback had thrown three interceptions in eight games. He doubled his tally by the end of the night. Josh Shaw let him get away with one bad throw into triple coverage, but came up with an endzone interception later on to make up for it. Dion Bailey also nabbed a goal line interception while Kevon Seymour added another one late. It was Mannion’s first multi-interception game since last November against Oregon.

Stud: Marqise Lee

Marqise Lee has been slowed by injury all season to varying degrees, but even giving the Biletnikoff Award winner some slack on account of those injuries, his production has been well below the standards he set in the first two years of his career. This was the first game in 2013 when he’s looked like the elite receiver he is. It started on the first offensive play for the Trojans when he reeled in a 71-yard bomb from Cody Kessler and continued on as he made him impact known all over the field. He finished with five catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.

Dud: The Curse

It was supposed to be the curse of Corvallis on Dia De Los Muertos, given USC’s three game losing streak on the road against the Beavers. In the end, the curse wasn’t much to be concerned about. The Trojans didn’t look all that vulnerable from the start. In fact, Oregon State’s 14 points in 14 seconds was the only hint at bad luck coming USC’s way, but the Trojans weathered that storm with solid defense and an offense that seemed to find itself in the legs of Silas Redd and Buck Allen.

Bonus Dud: Pronunciation

If you can’t pronounce Javorius, just call him Buck.

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Tags: Buck Allen Devon Kennard Marqise Lee Oregon State Beavers Sean Mannion USC Trojans


    Good article. I agree with the awful Pac12 officiating crew. When I saw that glasses ref was officiating, I had a bad feeling about the night. I wonder how many penalties he has thrown on USC’s opponents over the years. Despite all of his efforts against USC, the team came out and overcame the odds. Oh and double agree with the whole Javorius thing, it’s like people completely ignore the i!

  • Ben Factor

    Alicia, agree on the refs. They sucked in what I saw of the OSU-Stanford game, too. I can’t even claim bias. Just incompetence. If the league isn’t going to clean house, it ought to at least triple the allowable challenges.

    What did you think of Kessler? I watched the replay of that INT a couple of times. It’s beyond me how he could stand there for a good while, lock his eyes the entire time on the intended target, be aware of the low-velocity nature of his passes, and then decide to throw that pass. He doesn’t have the arm to make that particular pass into single coverage, let alone a sea of Orange. I continue to maintain that there is some very deficient teaching going on at USC.

    • Matthew Moreno

      I personally don’t think the officiating only targeted USC. Oregon State may have benefitted from a couple of holds that weren’t called by the Trojans got away with a blatant PI (Bailey) and I think Shaw also held a Beaver wide receiver.

      You’re right Ben, officiating is simply porous across the conference.

      Kessler’s interception was bad. What he saw, or really didn’t see, I’m have no clue. BUT, all things considered, he’s still done ok. Specifically in the game against Oregon State, he made maybe three bad mistakes? Not bad considering the troubles other SC quarterbacks have had up there.

      I believe Kessler’s biggest issue is his hesitation to step up in the pocket and use his legs. I also think Kiffin did him a huge disservice by not naming him the lone starting quarterback.

      • Ben Factor

        I think that it’s getting too late for the early season to rise to much of an excuse.

        Based on 17-21 with one INT, he doesn’t deserve to be vilified, and I’m not trying to do that. He tried to throw it away on one play and got a grounding–I say nice try. He panics under pressure–I say it’s going to happen. He’s not sure when to run–I say he’s new. He doesn’t have good pocket sense to move away from the rush–that could be more serious, but he is new.

        However, I just don’t understand a play like that INT. Barkley couldn’t make that throw. It’s a pretty long diagonal pass to a WR running diagonally/horizontally. It has to be thrown over the head of the trailing CB, yet inbounds, and out of reach of the safety, wherever he is relative to the WR. It requires good timing, perfect placement, and the less velocity on the pass, the easier for the safety to get involved. It’s just a hard pass, and not made easier if you’re watching that WR all the way. Kessler had time to think, to see alternatives, and yet he threw it. I don’t get it. That pass probably shouldn’t even be in Kessler’s playbook. And if it is, he wasn’t taught very well when it should be thrown and when it shouldn’t.

        • Alicia de Artola

          That INT was inexplicably bad, but then again, QBs make inexplicably bad decisions sometimes. I think we just have to accept that Kessler isn’t Matt Barkley (who threw plenty of bad INTs in his day) or Marcus Mariota. Hell, Johnny Manziel makes terrible decisions like that all the time, yet he’s a Heisman winner.
          My intention isn’t to make excuses for Kessler. He cannot make that throw, especially when it results in a potentially devastating defensive touchdown. However, he’s still our best option at that position and seems to be coming into his own as a game manager.

          • Matthew Moreno

            Well said. Though, I think he’s becoming more than just a “game manager”.

          • Alicia de Artola

            He might be, but for now that’s all I want him to be. That INT was the mark of a QB getting greedy trying to make a play. I’d rather him recognize his limitations (arm strength) and keep it simple.

          • trojancynic5519

            Your wrong! Kessler constantly makes POOR decisisions. He needs to be BENCHED! All he does is THROW pick 6s and make his wrs DO the work. Lets USE wittek already because kessler OBVIOUSLY is NOT working.

          • Alicia de Artola


          • trojancynic5519

            OK grammer police. Point STILL stands.

          • Alicia de Artola

            I don’t see what you’re seeing. Kessler has not been the problem with the offense, not since Washington State (and even that wasn’t all on Kessler).
            Is he an All-American? No. But where is the evidence that Wittek could do any better?

          • trojancynic5519

            This is USC. We must expect EXCELLANCE. Anything else is UNACCEPTABLE. Kessler is not excellant and we know that Witteck has a strong arm he just not given opportunity to be a real starter. Give him chance and then say he not as good as kessler. Kesler make me want booty again. Not a USC ELITE quarterback.

          • Len Fox

            I’ll just say that I trust the coaches to know WAAAY more than you when it comes to making that decision.

          • Matthew Moreno

            Wittek got starts last season, split the reps in spring and fall practice, was a co-starter for two games, and still couldn’t take hold of the position.

            That should tell you all you need to know.

          • Len Fox