With a resounding 31-14 victory, USC’s three-game losing streak in Corvallis, Ore., which spanned nine years, has at last been brought to an end.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee returned to the Trojan lineup and he teamed up with Cody Kessler to provide early fireworks.
After the Trojan defense blocked an Oregon State field goal attempt, Kessler found a wide-open Lee for a 71-yard touchdown reception on the Trojans’ first offensive play of the game.
Lee finished the game with five receptions good for 105 yards and his first quarter touchdown.
Kessler also put forth an admirable performance considering the hostile environment. His final stat line reads 17 of 21 for 247 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
His lone mistakes on the evening came on a play where he failed to get rid of the ball, something he’s been hampered by, and an ill-advised pass attempt into triple-coverage, which was intercepted and returned for a game-tying touchdown.
The pick-six shifted momentum in Oregon State’s favor, but they wouldn’t move the scoreboard again.
Complementing Kessler’s solid performance were Javorius Allen and Silas Redd.
Redd rushed for 141 yards on 22 carries. Redd was instrumental in helping the Trojans sustain drives, but the night belonged to Allen, who carried the ball 16 times for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Allen’s most impressive run came in the third quarter where he broke up the right sideline, before stopping on a dime and cutting to his left to allude a defender.
The result was a 52-yard touchdown run that pushed the Trojan lead to 31-14.
The offense sputtered at times, but was often able to recover and string together drives that if nothing else afforded the defense with additional rest.
The Trojans converted on seven of their 14 third-down attempts, which set a season high for conversions.
For the third consecutive week, the Trojan defense once again put forth a tremendous effort.
Under duress for much of the game, Beaver quarterback Sean Mannion had arguably his worst performance of the season.
Mannion threw three interceptions, matching the total he had through the Beavers’ previous eight games.
Two of the interceptions came when the Beavers were in the red zone. Mannion finished with 277 passing yards, but his impact on the game was non-existent.
Receiving threat Brandin Cooks hauled in six receptions for 88 yards and one touchdown. The majority of Cooks’ receiving yards came on the 27-yard touchdown reception and a 31-yard reception.
Like Mannion, his impact on the game was minimal.
Just how stingy has the USC defense been?
Friday was the third consecutive game where the Trojans didn’t allow a point in the second half.
It also marked the seventh time a Trojan opponent has been held to 14 points or less in a game.
Since Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin, USC is 3-1 with a sensible opportunity to improve to 4-1 with their next game against Cal on November 9.