Saturday, September 27, 2008

Oregon State pulls off upset against the top ranked Trojans

In a game where the underdog was never thought to have a chance, unranked Oregon State shocked the number one ranked Southern Cal Trojans, 27-21.

In Thursday night's showdown, the 25-point favored Trojans fell to the hands of the unranked Beavers in one of the biggest upsets in college football history.

Oregon State running back Jacquizz Rodgers led the way for the Beavers with 37 carries for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. The freshman sensation ran down the throats of what was said to be head coach Pete Carroll's best team, and best defense, in his entire tenure at USC.

Apparently not.

"Quiz" Rodgers played inspired football, getting blocks from his big offensive line, and his older brother James Rodgers. His 5 foot 6 frame was nearly impossible to spot behind his massive front five (who average around 300 pounds in weight). The Trojan defense was unable to stop him effectively.

Oregon State came out impressive in the first half, stopping the Trojans on a quick three-and-out, and scoring a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Oregon State's intensity was hard to match for the rest of the first half, as the Beavers entered halftime with a commanding 21-0 lead.

The second half consisted of the same shifty runs by "Quiz,” but less execution on behalf of the rest of the Beavers' offense. After their first drive, a quick three-and-out, USC put two touchdowns on the board making it 21-14. The Trojans looked to be regaining their swagger, but the Oregon State defense refused to submit. They held USC to three straight punts on the next three possessions.

Finally, on the Trojans following possession late in the fourth quarter, the Beavers' Greg Laybourn returned an interception to the USC two yard line. On the next play, "Quiz" punched it into the end zone for his second score, nearly sealing the Trojans' fate. However, a missed PAT kept USC in it, with the score 27-14

Fans began jumping onto the field with 2:40 left to play with the scent of an upset on their minds.

In a drive that only took 1:20 off of the clock, USC quickly marched down the field and scored, making it 27-21.

With Oregon State head coach Mike Riley already drenched in Gatorade, this was starting to bring back memories of a LSU-Kentucky game from less than a decade ago in which Kentucky thought the victory and the upset were a lock. The Kentucky players drenched their coach in Gatorade only to see LSU's “Hail Mary” attempt completed for a long touchdown as the clock expired. The Tigers won the historic game.

On the ensuing kickoff, USC attempted an onside kick but to no avail. Oregon State kneeled on the ball a few times, and before you knew it, a wave of Beaver orange rushed the field. It was all over.

This was the first time Oregon State had beaten a number one team since they beat the 1967 Trojans, led by O.J. Simpson. It was also the first time any team with a losing record had beaten the nation’s top team since 1990, when Michigan State stunned Michigan.

After the game, USC head coach Pete Carroll was asked what he thought about Oregon State's performance. Carroll replied, "They did a marvelous job, they were on point in everything they did, and I wouldn't take anything away from them." Carroll also stated the obvious. “We did not play well."

This loss puts Southern Cal in the back seat, for now, and gives way for other premier teams, such as Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, and Missouri, to have a shot at the top spot and, eventually, to have a shot at the National Championship.

-Martin Lewis (with a thank you going out to The Associated Press and, primarily, to ESPN and its affiliates)

No comments: