No. 18 USC Football Hosts Unbeaten Oregon State|
Sept. 21, 2014
No. 18 USC, coming off a bye, returns to Pac-12 action and closes out September play by hosting undefeated Oregon State under the lights. It's the front end of a 2-game homestand for Troy. The Trojans are looking to bounce back after being upset at Boston College two weeks ago. Although Troy holds a decided edge in its series with OSU, the teams have split their last 6 meetings. But Oregon State hasn't been victorious in the Coliseum since 1960 (that's 22 USC wins in a row in L.A.). Three USC staffers played at Oregon State, while a pair of Beaver coaches (including head coach Mike Riley) are former Trojan assistants. New head coach Steve Sarkisian's Trojans feature an up-tempo offense guided by QB Cody Kessler, who has completed 71% of his passes this year without an interception. His favorite target is WR Nelson Agholor, who has 9 receptions in each of the past 2 games and now is in the Trojan career Top 25 in receptions and punt returns. TB Javorius Allen, with a trio of 100-yard games this season (2 rushing, 1 receiving), tops USC's runners. The Trojan defense, featuring All-American DE Leonard Williams, 2-time season tackle leader ILB Hayes Pullard and 2013 Freshman All-American S Su'a Cravens, is ranked high nationally in turnover margin, pass efficiency defense, red zone defense, interceptions, pass defense and third down conversion defense. USC has yet to suit up more than 60 recruited scholarship players in 2014 because of NCAA-mandated scholarship limitations. Oregon State, playing its league opener this week, is unbeaten in 3 outings in 2014, including against San Diego State this past weekend. Riley, in his 14th season in Corvallis, owns the school victories record. QB Sean Mannion, who set the Pac-12 season passing yardage mark last year and last week broke the OSU career passing yardage record, is in the national Top 25 in completions, passing yards and completion percentage this year. His top target is WR Victor Bolden, also a fine punt returner. TBs Terron Ward and Storm Woods share the ball carrying duties (they both have 100-yard rushing performances this season), while Woods is approaching the OSU career rushing Top 10. OSU is No. 3 in the country in possession time. The Beaver defense, led by LB Michael Doctor and CB Steven Nelson, leads the nation in pass efficiency defense and third down conversion defense and also is ranked in the nation's Top 25 in total defense, passing defense, scoring defense and turnover margin. USC's 2015 Athletic Hall of Fame class will be introduced on the field during the game. U.S. military and first responders will be honored as part of Joint Forces Day. The Trojan coaches will join their peers nationwide by wearing Coach to Cure MD logo patches during the game to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne muscular dystrophy research. The game will be shown live nationally on ESPN.