Oregon State didn’t gimick its way into an upset victory over the Trojans on Saturday night. The Beavers (3-1, 1-0) were the more physical and well coached team as they punched USC (2-2, 1-2) in the mouth repeatedly in-route to an 18-point road win — the Beavers first win at USC since 1960.
In front of one of the smallest crowd’s I’ve seen at the Coliseum, the Beavers pounded USC’s defense as they averaged 6.3 yards per carry, on 51 carries, while also punching it in on the ground twice. The second of Jack Colleto’s touchdown runs was the dagger as it pushed OSU’s lead to 28 with a little over 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
It wasn’t just their ground attack that helped the Beavers’ bull doze Southern California, the air attack averaged 11.2 yards per attempt for two touchdowns (and two interceptions). Anytime the Trojans showed signs of figuring out the OSU’s ground game, they’d get shredded through the air. The offense was efficient, explosive, but most importantly took better care of the football than its opponent. For the second time in three weeks, USC’s defense was absolutely shredded by an offense with a pulse and there was nothing that the defensive coaching staff could come up with to improve those odds.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Beavers picked of quarterback Kedon Slovis — who had regained the starting job after Jaxson Dart had surgery on a torn miniscus — despite giving up 7.2 yards per pass. The defense absolutely stuffed the Trojans’ ground game as they held Graham Harrell’s offense to 3.5 yards per carry. Jonathan Smith’s defense came into the season as a question mark and potential vulnerability; thus far into the season they’ve played at the level of an average Pac-12 defense.
Don’t be surprised if the Beavers rapidly climb up the rankings in the next few weeks, they look like they could be the only other decent squad coming out of the North this year.
1) Oregon Ducks
Oregon opened up conference play against the worst team the Pac-12 has seen since 2009 Washington State or 2008 Washington. And the Ducks scored 17 unanswered points in the final quarter on Saturday in their 41-19 home win. The defense forced five turnovers while the offense averaged six yards per carry in the route.
2) UCLA Bruins
The trip to the Farm ended with an 11-point win that felt like it was never felt as close as the scoreboard incidated it was. Chip Kelly’s squad rolled up 204-yards on the ground (with an average of 4.0 yards per carry) as they were reminiscent of Kelly’s early Oregon offenses. UCLA only threw the ball 29 times, averaged 8.7 yards per pass, for two touchdowns that broke the 21-all tie.
3) Arizona State Sun Devils
Arizona State shredded a spotty Buffaloes defense as it scored 35 points in a 22-point win. The Devils air attack averaged 10.1 yards per attempt, while the rushing attacked averaged 5.2 yards per carry. It was a consistent grind down the field that Colorado was helpless to stop.
4) Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado’s offense continues to be the squads Achille’s Heel. While the running attacked averaged 4.2 yards per carry, the air attack was ineffective as they averaged 3.9 yards per attempt. ASU was able to stuff the box on second or third and medium to get off the field. At 1-3 the Buffs are purely riding this high because the team’s that are below them (and won) haven’t proven they can beat Colorado’s defense.
5) Utah Utes
Utah fumbled the ball eight times and lost three of them to the Cougars, yet they still managed to pull of a 24-13 win at home. TJ Pledger’s emergence in the fourth quarter, including a 59-yard run, helped the Utes offense retake the lead with less than four minutes left in the game. The Utes defense returned a pick to the house to put the game away. If their offense and defense continue to be that inconsistent, it’s going to be a long season in Salt Lake City.
6) Stanford Cardinal
Last week, we asked if the Cardinal were back (at least on the offensive end) and the answer was a resounding no.
7) Oregon State Beavers
The absolute beat down of Southern California was impressive and has me feeling optimistic about the Beavs chance to end their bowl drought. In fact, OSU could easily make the case for being the second best team in the North; that really depends on which Stanford offense shows up.
8) Washington Huskies
A recovered fumble in inside the one-yard line, in the first over time, was what it took for Washington to win its conference opener. Washington was out gained, but three turnovers was enough for the Huskies to eek out their second straight victory.
9) USC Trojans
USC fans didn’t even bother showing up, just like their team.
10) California Golden Bears
After giving up 21 points in the first half, the Golden Bears defense held Washington to only a field goal. Unfortunately, the offense was only able to muster two touchdowns (one per quarter) in the second half which sent the game to overtime. And we all know how that ended.
11) Washington State Cougars
Rolo is 2-6 in eight games as Washington State’s head coach; four of those losses came after a lead was blown. The run and shoot has struggled to find the end zone in the second half, which prompted the head coach to say this in the post game.
12) Arizona Wildcats
The offense managed to put up 19-points on the road, but the defense was unable to get the Ducks off the field in the final quarter. 0-12 is starting to look more like a probability than a possibility.
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Photo Credit: Oregon State Athletics