USC vs. Oregon State score, summary: Trojans get bounce-back win

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images /

Saturday’s USC vs. Oregon State score looked prettier than the game, but the Trojans got a much-needed bounce-back win over the Beavers, 38-10.

The lowdown: The Trojans got out to a red-hot start, scoring 14 points in the game’s first six-plus minutes on drives of 78 and 32 yards. Tyler Vaughn’s 37-yard touchdown reception opened the scoring for his career and the game, while jump-starting the deep ball for quarterback Sam Darnold.

From there, the Trojans and Beavers engaged in a mistake-filled game complete with a host of penalties, a missed field goal, a blocked field goal, a muffed punt, a roughing the kicker penalty, a botched fly sweep, a celebration penalty on a non-touchdown, a Darnold fumble and a Darnold interception.

After OSU’s roughing of punter Reid Budrovich in the second quarter, USC responded with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Deontay Burnett and took a 21-3 lead into the half. They would not look back.

In the second half, the Trojan freshman got in on the act. Tight end Josh Falo’s first-ever catch went for a 30-yard touchdown, and backup quarterback Matt Fink’s first-ever run resulted in a 51-yard touchdown.

Defensively, USC kept a struggling Oregon State offense in check. The Beavers averaged 4.9 yards per play and were just 2-of-5 inside the red zone despite entering the game as the nation’s No. 1 team in red zone efficiency.

The takeaway: For the fourth week in a row, the Trojans lacked a consistent rhythm on offense. They showed flashes of ease —especially on the game’s opening drive— surrounded by swaths of ineffectiveness.

Single negative plays plunged drives, and turnovers including Sam Darnold’s ninth interception of the year made the cleanliness of the Stanford game a distance memory.

The good news? USC didn’t need to look perfect. Oregon State is far and away the worst team on the schedule. Given the extensive list of September casualties, the Trojans’ top priority was to play a stress and injury-free game full of rotation prior to a difficult two-game stretch against Utah and Notre Dame.

The game, despite its optics away from the scoreboard, was never in doubt. It allowed players like Brandon Pili and Juliano Falaniko to see their first action on defense, and the second-team offense led by redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Fink entered the game for the first time all year.

Those are valuable reps for a team littered with injuries and without a bye week.

Player of the game: Ronald Jones was once again the Trojans’ best player on offense, despite being under-used. He gained 79 rushing yards on just 12 carries including a touchdown run, and his two catches accounted for 17 receiving yards.

Stat of the game: Ronald Jones’s rushing touchdown marked the 12th-straight game he’s scored. It’s the longest by a USC tailback since Anthony Davis’s 17-game streak in 1974. (H/T Jordan Moore on the USC Radio Network.)

Next on tap: After beating Oregon State for the 24th-straight time at the Coliseum, USC will look to continue another lengthy run next week when they host No. 20 Utah. The Utes, who won last year’s meeting with a late Troy Williams touchdown run, have never won at the Coliseum. They’re 0-7 against USC at the historic venue, and 0-11 all-time when including games against former tenant UCLA.