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.