USC vs. Oregon State: Inside the Box Score


Nov 1, 2013; Corvallis, OR, USA; Southern California Trojans coach Ed Orgeron is hoisted by players in celebration after the game against the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium. USC defeated Oregon State 31-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC turned the tables on the Oregon State Beavers Friday night, which a resounding 31-14 upset at Reser Stadium, a place with enough bad memories to fill a haunted house. This time it was the Trojans who gave the Beavers nightmares.

The box score holds the gory details…

The numbers that stand out in the box score this week stand out in really big ways. Namely, rushing yards, penalties, third down conversions, and the big one, redzone scoring. The Trojans were well on top in yards on the ground but it is worth noting Oregon State’s 92 yards. Although they averaged a more-than-solid 5.8 yards per rush, the Beavers failed to eclipse 100 yards, which is the magic for Mike Riley, who has seen his teams win 26 of the last 31 when a rusher hits the 100 yard mark.

The Trojans looked ready to hit that mark in penalties with nine for 68 yards, three of which gave the Beavers a first down, in a very lopsided game in terms of flags thrown.

Of course, there was plenty more in the lopsided category on Friday night. USC flipped their often horrendous third down conversion rating on its head by advancing the ball 50% of the time. Oregon State on the other hand, converted just two of 11 third down tries.

Clearly the stat with most impact on the evening was redzone scoring. The USC defense came up huge in crunch time by holding the Beavers to zero redzone points, while the USC offense were perfect when they got in sight of the endzone.

The Buck Allen Show

With apologies to Silas Redd, whose 141 yards on 22 carries gave the Trojan offense a solid foundation on which to operate, the night was really all about Javorius “Buck” Allen and his coming out party. Allen, who hadn’t seen more than eight carries in a game all season and had a single game high of 45 yards before facing the Beavers, was given extra opportunities because of Tre Madden’s on going injury issue. His three touchdowns were a dazzling display that should catapult him into a greater role in the running back rotation, regardless of Madden’s health.

Learning to Manage

Let’s get it out of the way quickly, the pick six was a terribly terrible decision and an even more ugly throw. It was also one of the lone black marks on an otherwise solid performance from Cody Kessler. His 81% completion rating was his best since Boston College. His 247 yards continued his trend of passing the 200-yard mark; six of his seven games since being named the full time starter he has totaled above 200. Finally, his opening touchdown throw to Marqise Lee was on the money and a perfect tone setter for the evening.

Lee’s Baaaaaaack

It might have been his most prolific game as a Trojan, but Marqise Lee announced his return from injury with a bang, scoring on the very first offensive play for USC even though Ed Orgeron had indicated in pregame that he might be limited. Lee’s 105 yards and five receptions led the Trojans, while running backs Allen and Redd continued to be used in the screen game. Nelson Agholor wasn’t the key figure in the passing game this week, but he still had an impact with a nice 62-yard catch and run.

You get an INT! You get an INT! You get an INT!

Much as it was great to see the offense finally find their grove, the defense showed what a real team performance can do against one of the nations better offenses. Devon Kennard was the hero of the pass rush with two sacks, but Hayes Pullard added two tackles for loss and J.R. Tavai was always a presence. The much-maligned USC secondary played their best game of the season meanwhile, with pressure on Mannion forcing bad throws to be taken advantage of. Josh Shaw earned Pac-12 defensive honors by leading the Trojans in tackles and nabbing an interception (though he could have had a couple more). Kevon Seymour and Dion Bailey also picked Mannion while pretty much every member of the secondary logged a pass break up.