USC Football Visits Oregon State For Friday Night Game
Oct. 27, 2013
USC will play just its third Friday game since 1999 when it travels to Oregon State, its first clash against the Beavers after a 2-year layoff thanks to the Pac-12 schedule rotation. Although Troy holds a decided edge in its series with OSU, the teams have split their last 6 meetings. And Corvallis has not been kind to USC lately, as the Trojans have lost in their last 3 trips to that city (in fact, USC's last 5 losses to the Beavers have come in Corvallis). The start of November play begins for USC, but this is the first time the teams have played each other on the first day of that month. USC is coming off a defense-dominated home win over Utah in which interim head coach Ed Orgeron had only 58 recruited scholarship players available, mainly due to of injuries. The Trojan defense leads the Pac-12 in total defense and is second in rush defense and scoring defense (it is in the national Top 20 in each category, as well as in sacks and tackles for loss), thanks to the play of DE Leonard Williams, OLB Devon Kennard, LB Hayes Pullard, S-CB Josh Shaw, S Dion Bailey and S Su'a Cravens, among others. The Trojan offense, which has struggled on third down conversions and in the red zone, looks to first-year QB Cody Kessler, TBs Silas Redd and Tre Madden, who both have 100-yard outings in 2013, and WRs Nelson Agholor (19 catches over the past 3 weeks) and 2012 Biletnikoff Award winner Marqise Lee (the owner of 24 USC records). After dropping its opener to FCS opponent Eastern Washington, Oregon State--with former USC assistant Mike Riley owning the most head coaching victories in OSU history--roared back to win its next 6 games before falling at home last Saturday to Stanford. The Beavers' aerial-based attack is potent, ranking first nationally in passing offense and 15th in scoring offense, and features perhaps the nation's top pass-catch duo. QB Sean Mannion leads the nation in passing yards and TD passes. He threw for 350-plus yards in 7 consecutive games before Stanford slowed him and he recently set school records for game passing yardage (493 at Washington State) and TDs (6 against Colorado). WR Brandin Cooks tops the nation in receiving yards, receptions and receiving TDs and he is third in scoring and fourth in all-purpose running. His 21 career TD catches ties the school record. The opportunistic OSU defense is fifth nationally in turnover margin and sixth in interceptions, with CB Steven Nelson as the country's top individual in that category. DE Scott Crichton, a 2012 All-Pac-12 first teamer, is among the national leaders in tackles for loss. The game will be shown live nationally on Pac-12 Networks.