A lot happened in the year of 1960; Alfred Hitchcock released “Psycho”, Harper Lee published the literary classic To Kill A Mockingbird, and by chance meeting on a train in London, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards would meet forming one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century.
It was also the last time the Oregon State Beavers left the Los Angeles Coliseum with a win, defeating the Trojans 14-0 under the name “Oregon State College”.
That’s right. Oregon State University hadn’t even adopted their current surname until March of 1961. A win over the 18th ranked Trojans would technically be “Oregon State University’s” first win over USC in the city of Los Angeles.
USC will have more then history to play for on Saturday. After defeating in-state rival Stanford 13-10 in week 2 of the 2014 season, the Trojans were throttled by an unassuming Boston College team that limited USC to just 20 rushing yards in a 37-31 BC victory.
Opposite the Trojans 20 yards on the ground, Boston College amassed 452 yards of rushing in the contest. In 2014, the Trojans are dead last in the Pac-12 in rushing defense, giving up an average of 245 yards per game on the ground. For a Beaver team known more for it’s passing, it presents a unique and inviting challenge.
Beaver tailbacks Terron Ward and Storm Woods ran for two touchdowns each in Oregon State’s 28-7 home win over San Diego State. While the Aztecs surely don’t have the blue chip clout of USC, they also haven’t surrendered 452 rushing yards in 2014 combined. Should The Trojan defense breakdown in similar fashion to week 3, The Beavers could find themselves on the right side of LA Coliseum history.
The contest will also feature a battle of potent passing offenses. Beaver quarterback Sean Mannion is just 989 yards away from former Trojan Matt Barkley‘s Pac-12 career passing yards record. Facing down Oregon State will be junior Cody Kessler, who has quietly thrown for 846 yards, 8 touchdowns, and 0 picks in 2014.
USC has traditionally been known for multiple-back offenses, the most prevalent of which being Reggie Bush and LenDale White. However, Head coach Steve Sarkisian has chosen to lean on one back in 2014, with junior Javorius Allen taking most of the carries from behind Kessler.
Will Oregon State overcome the seemingly endless years of failure in tinseltown? It’s certainly possible, and if so, would be the first convincing win of 2014 for both skeptical fans and pollsters. It will take a complete game on both sides of the ball, and maybe just a little bit of Hollywood magic.
Score prediction: 38-28 USC. Oregon State is thin at the wide receiver position after the loss of Victor Bolden in the San Diego State game. Though 3-0 so far, The Beavers have yet to post a convincing victory this year. USC takes control in the second half and cruises to a win.
Positional prediction: Given the Trojans statistic deficencies on defense, one or more of the Beaver running backs will rush for 100+ yards in the game. My money is on Terron Ward.