Friday, September 26, 2008

Oregon State Gets it Done – Stuns USC in 27-21 Upset


If you were wondering who freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers was – wonder no more. He was the guy in the orange jersey blowing by USC defensive players like they were standing still, compiling 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns as he lead Oregon State to a huge 27-21 victory over Pete Carroll’s shell shocked Trojans.

The USC squad never found it’s footing and looked overwhelmed for the first three quarters, unable to get any rhythm on offense and rarely containing the Beavers on defense. Trojan quarterback Marc Sanchez’s 227 yards, three touchdowns and one interception are deceptive stats. It wasn’t until the end of the game that he looked like himself — he was constantly under pressure, as were his receivers.

Everything went the Beavers way – from perfect execution on plays to quirks of fate, like the touchdown caught by Jacquizz Rodgers’ brother James near the end of the first half. The pass from Beaver quarterback Lyle Moevao should have been intercepted by USC cornerback Kevin Thomas, but bounced off his hands and into the arms of the elder Rodgers brother.

But the biggest story of the game, aside from the upset, was younger brother Jacquizz. The five-foot-seven (maybe) freshman seemed to constantly elude the Trojans, who were called for two horse-collar penalties while trying to tackle him. They could not get low enough to take him down when he was in space. The never found a solution and he burned them all game long.

The Trojans came into a tough Reser Stadium flat, just like they did in 2006. Just like then, they paid the price, which could be a chance to play for the National Championship. The Beavers executed perfectly (no turnovers, balanced game plan, few penalties) and were able to stifle USC’s ground attack (86 yards total) and lock down the Trojan wide receivers. By the time the Trojans got their feet, there was just not enough time left.

It’s too early to count the Trojans out of National Title contention, but they will have to work hard to bounce back. The Pac-10 will smell blood in the water and as always, bring their A-game to their matchups with USC. The Men of Troy will truly be tested after this defeat. How they react over the next few weeks will tell the tale of what their season will be.

Pac-10 opponents will certainly be taking a close look at Jacquizz Rodgers over the next few weeks. They will have to find a way to slow him down if they don’t want to fall victim the way USC did.

Regardless of the rest of the season, Corvallis has once again been the sight of a huge defeat for the University of Southern California.

The king is dead. Long live the new king – at least for this week.