Preview: Oregon State at USC
Will the real USC please stand up?
When Oregon State visits the Coliseum on Saturday night, the Beavers could be forgiven if they don’t have a good gauge on their opponent.
Are they facing the triumphant Men of Troy that won at Stanford, or the hallow Trojan pony that lost to a not-very-good Boston College team?
Oregon State hasn’t won at USC since 1960. Being without top receiver Victor Bolden (dislocated finger) won’t make matters any easier.
This will be a good week for Oregon State’s newfound commitment to the running game. USC allowed 452 yards rushing to Boston College, although 191 of those were by quarterback Tyler Murphy. Don’t expect Sean Mannion, a traditional pocket passer, to put up those rushing numbers.
USC quarterback Cody Kessler has completed 70 percent of his passes and has 8 touchdowns to no interceptions. But USC’s run game managed just 20 yards against Boston College. Oregon State’s defense has been tough, allowing just 17 points per game. If the Beavers can keep the Trojan offense one-dimensional, they have a shot to escape Los Angeles with a victory.
Oregon State at USC
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
TV, radio: ESPN, AM-1190
Records: Oregon State (3-0, 0-0), USC (2-1, 1-0)
Key to game: With 4 TD passes, Sean Mannion hasn’t been throwing touchdowns at the same torrid pace as last year, when he had 12 through three games. But he doesn’t have a weapon like Brandon Cooks (now in the NFL) and missing Victor Bolden won’t help either. Storm Woods and Terron Ward will need to power a resurgent Beavers running game to keep the ball away from Cody Kessler and the USC offense.
Quotable: “The one guy that was the X-Factor in that game was Boston College’s quarterback… I doubt we’re going to have that same luck with Sean. I don’t think that’s going to happen. So the approach can not be the same as what Boston College used.” OSU coach Mike Riley.
Prediction: USC 32-24