CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Until Oregon State's fans descended onto
the field in droves, the third-ranked USC Trojans believed they
were headed for another victory.
Southern California couldn't find a way to win this close game.
USC lost more than just a game Saturday. After the Trojans' 33-31 loss to Oregon State, gone are the stranglehold on the Pac-10 as well as USC's clear path to the BCS title game. Among the impressive streaks that came to an end in Corvallis were:
" 38 regular-season wins for USC;
" 27 straight Pac-10 wins;
" 18 straight road wins;
" 18 straight wins in October;
" 13 straight Pac-10 road wins
One positive for the men of Troy: By scoring 31 points, USC has now scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 59 straight games. While that's likely little consolation to Pete Carroll's crew, we felt it was worth noting.
Oregon State capitalized on four turnovers to upset the Trojans
33-31 on Saturday, snapping USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and
breaking the national championship race wide open.
USC (6-1, 4-1) had also won 18 straight road games. But the
mighty Trojans had shown cracks in their last three games, each a
victory by seven points or less.
Against the Beavers, they couldn't escape, falling behind early
and coming up one play short in the end.
John David Booty's 2-yard TD pass to Steve Smith with 7 seconds
left made the score 33-31. But Oregon State's Jeff Van Orsow batted
down another pass by Booty on the 2-point conversion to preserve
"I loved the comeback, but we aren't patting ourselves on the
back," coach Pete Carroll said. "We thought we were going to win
all the way until we didn't."
USC started the day as was one of seven unbeaten teams in the
country. Now there are six.
Ohio State and Michigan won their games and will hold on to the
top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings when they
come out Sunday. That valuable spot behind the Big Ten powers,
previously held by USC, is now up for grabs. All those teams with
one loss are feeling a lot better about their chances to play for a
national title. And Thursday's Big East battle of unbeatens between
West Virginia and Louisville just got a little bigger.
Carroll insisted the Trojans should not be counted out yet.
"You never know. To think that would be a mistake," he said.
"It just gets harder. It depends on how we'll finish so we'll see
Oregon State fans celebrated wildly in the second half when Matt
Moore hit Joe Newton with a 9-yard scoring pass and Sammie
Stroughter ran a punt back 70 yards for a touchdown to give the
Beavers (4-4, 3-2) a 30-10 lead.
USC, which was coming off an open week that allowed All-American
Dwayne Jarrett and fellow receiver Smith to heal injuries, came
back with Booty's 4-yard scoring pass to Fred Davis to close out
the third quarter.
Booty then found Smith in the end zone and Chauncey Washington
ran in the 2-point conversion to narrow it to 33-25 with 12:09 left
in the fourth.
After Alexis Serna's 47-yard field goal attempt went wide left,
USC got one more shot and it wasn't enough.
USC hadn't lost a regular season or Pac-10 game since falling
34-31 to California in three overtimes on Sept. 27, 2003. The
Trojans had won 38 consecutive regular-season games since, but most
of those were with Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White in
"We've got guys who know how to win," Booty said. "We've won
a lot of games. We've won up until now. I don't think anyone's
worried or down or anything."
Booty completed 24 of 39 passes for 406 yards and three
touchdowns with one interception. Smith caught 11 passes for 258
Moore completed 21 of 32 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown,
while Stroughter caught eight passes for 127 yards.
Beavers fans lingered well after the game, some sitting on the
field, not willing to leave after one of the biggest upsets in
Oregon State history.
Coach Mike Riley shouted to boosters: "How 'bout those
Beavers!" wearing one of the broadest smiles he's ever shown in
Moore, who was booed at Reser stadium by Beavers fans during a
loss to Washington State three weeks ago, was cheered this time
"I'm so stoked right now, I can't explain it," he said.
Turnovers helped the Beavers take control.
Moore's 22-yard completion Stroughter on Oregon State's first
drive set up the quarterback's 1-yard score for a 7-0 lead.
On USC's first possession, Booty's pass intended for Jarrett in
the end zone bounced into the arms of Oregon State free safety
Bryan Payton, who returned it to the USC 48.
Oregon State didn't get any points out of the drive, but it
ended up as a sign of things to come.
Washington ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:47 left in the
first half to even it at 7 for USC.
Serna kicked three more field goals, two after USC turnovers, in
the first half, including a 53-yarder.
Mario Danelo kicked a 29-yard field goal for USC to make it to
16-10 at halftime.
Then Oregon State scored 17 straight, making it 33-10 on Serna's
"We're not a bad team" USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson
said. "We've lost in the past. Unfortunately, we didn't get out of
this one with a win."
The Beavers were without tailback Yvenson Bernard, who sprained
his right ankle in Oregon State's 17-10 victory over Arizona last
weekend. Clinton Polk took his place and had 22 carries for 100
The last time the Trojans visited Corvallis, it was 2004 and so
foggy that it was difficult to see Reggie Bush's wily 65-yard punt
return. The Trojans emerged with a 28-20 victory.
Oregon State last defeated the Trojans in 2000. Probably the
Beavers' most notable victory over USC came in 1967, when the
so-called Giant Killers downed the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0 on
a muddy field in Corvallis.
Thirty-nine years later, the Beavers pulled off another stunner.
It was the highest-ranked opponent the Beavers had defeated since
their win in 1967, when the Trojans were No. 1.
"I think we were ready for them. I don't think we were in awe
of them, but obviously we respected them. They are a very good
team," Newton said. "They had, who knows how many Pac-10 wins? We
definitely respected them, but we knew we could play with them."
Welcome to the Thanksgiving edition of the Pac-12 mailbag, which includes playoff talk and analysis of Rich Rodriguez's future.
After months of cheering for your team to win, its time to extend that goodwill to others. Heather Dinich breaks down who you need to cheer for if you want your team to make it in to the College Football Playoff.
Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin joins David Greene on SEC Film Room to analyze the Aggies' win against Vanderbilt.
ESPN College Football reporter Chris Low discusses why Kirby Smart is emerging as a top candidate for the South Carolina head coaching position.
What we're thankful for in the Pac-12 this season, including an influx of young talent, surprises both good and bad, and the College Football Playoff.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart are among the 34 nominees for this year's Broyles Award.