USC vs. Oregon State 2013 Gameday Preview: Lineups, Links and Podcast


Aug 31, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; General view as the Oregon State Beavers play the Eastern Washington Eagles at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

USC Trojans vs Oregon State Beavers

Reser Stadium | Corvallis, Oregon

6:00 p.m. | ESPN2

All-Time Series: 59-11-4

Last Meeting: 2010 – USC 7, Oregon State 36 in Corvallis

USC looks to exorcise their pacific northwest demons in this Dia De Los Muertos match up with the Oregon State Beavers. It’s a well-known fact by now, USC hasn’t won in Corvallis in the last three tries. It’s an even more well-known fact that two of those losses cost the Trojans legitimate chances to play for the national championship in 2006 and 2008.

Those teams are long gone now though and most of the Trojan roster has no personal recollection of the dangers of Reser Stadium (they haven’t played there since 2010). Flipping the script even more, Oregon State enters this game as the favorites for the first time in a long time. Does that bode well for USC or are they doomed to remain under the curse of the north?

Gameday Links:

ICYMI: Oregon State Week Podcast

Earlier this week, Michael Castillo, Alicia de Artola and Trenise Ferreira sat down for a chat about the win over Utah, concerns about the offensive line, and a look ahead to Oregon State.

When Oregon State has the ball…

Sean Mannion will look to exploit the thinned out USC secondary with the Beavers pass heavy offense. Last week Mannion threw the ball 57 times in a loss to Stanford. Faced with the stout USC run defense, it is unlikely the Beavers will change tactics and suddenly attempt to run the ball down the Trojans’ throat. Instead, Brandin Cooks will be called upon with regularity. Shutting him down will be a key USC goal. While Storm Woods and Terron Ward won’t see an excess of hand offs, they will be used to punish too much aggression in the Trojan defensive front with screens and dump offs.

That defensive front, on the other hand, will be tasked with throwing off Mannion’s rhythm by getting his jersey dirty early and often. Their success or failure could very well determine the outcome of the game. Josh Shaw and Kevon Seymour will likely attempt to keep the game in front of them in a bend but don’t break style. Adding to USC’s concern in the secondary, Su’a Cravens and Dion Bailey are both battling injury and could be hampered against the top passing offense in the nation. Their effectiveness will be a major story line.

Beaver Projected Starting Offense:

SE #8 Richard MullaneySLOT #18 Malik GilmoreLT #77 Michael PhilippLG #69 Josh AndrewsC #56 Isaac SeumaloRG #71 Grant EngerRT #78 Sean HarlowTE #89 Connor Hamlettor #10 Caleb Smithor #83 Kellen CluteQB #4 Sean MannionTB #24 Storm WoodsFL #7 Brandin CooksFB #33 Tyler Anderson

Trojans Projected Starting Defense:

OLB #42 Devon KennardDE #94 Leonard WilliamsNT #99 Antwaun WoodsDE #90 George UkoOLB #58 J.R. TavaiMLB #10 Hayes PullardWLB #56 Anthony SaraoCB #6 Josh ShawFS #18 Dion BaileySS #21 Su’a CravensCB #13 Kevon Seymour

When USC has the ball…

The Trojans will hope that Kevin Graf’s potential absence at left tackle and the ensuing shuffle on the offensive line doesn’t disrupt the already struggling line’s performance too much. Tre Madden’s return bodes well for USC as he was by far the most effective running back in a pitiful display on the ground against Utah. Oregon State’s defensive line isn’t at the level of the Utes, so the Trojans will likely have more success running the ball. They’ll need it because the Beavers will do everything they can to fluster Cody Kessler into making bad throws. Those bad throws could easily become interceptions against the ball-hawking Oregon State secondary.

Kessler will be more concerned with being a game manager much like he was against Utah. With two key targets returning, Marqise Lee and Xavier Grimble, Kessler will have more options downfield, which can only be a good thing considering how thin the receiving corp has gotten this season. The key for Kessler and the Trojans is limiting mistakes. Oregon State’s defense has improved, but they aren’t the test that Notre Dame and Utah have presented. The points are there for the taking if the execution is right.

Trojan Projected Starting Offense:

WR #15 Nelson AgholorLT #72 Chad WheelerLG #59 John MartinezC #66 Marcus MartinRG #70 Aundrey WalkerRT #75 Max TuerkTE #86 Xavier GrimbleWR #9 Marqise LeeQB #6 Cody KesslerFB #38 Jahleel Pinneror #31 Soma VainukuTB #23 Tre Maddenor #25 Silas Redd

Beaver Projected Starting Defense:

LE #95 Scott CrichtonLT #93 Mana RosaRT #97 John BraunRE #45 Dylan WynnOLB #4 D.J. AlexanderMLB 46 Rommel MageoOLB #44 Jabral JohnsonCB #2 Steven NelsonSS #8 Tyrequek ZimmermanFS #25 Ryan MurphyCB #16 Rashaad Reynolds