coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
On 10/27/2013 07:30 AM in NCAA Football

USC Trojans at Oregon State Beavers: Preview and Pick

USC Trojans at Oregon State Beavers: Preview and Pick

The Friday night college football game will feature two Pac 12 opponents looking for respect and a victory on a short week. The USC Trojans have played much better since their head coach, Lane Kiffin was fired and after an impressive win against the Utah Utes they look to continue their impressive ways on Friday against the Oregon State Beavers.

USC Trojans at Oregon State Beavers Odds

The college football odds for this game will tell just how far the Trojans have come. The Oregon State Beavers are the better team and have the home field advantage for this contest, but there should be more than one college football handicapper that is buying into this Trojan turnaround. The end result could be an even amount of money coming in for both teams leading up to kickoff and little to no line movement.

Stand in Coach Ed Orgeron’s Trojans are laboring, against sanctions, against injuries, against disappointment and disillusion, but they’re fighting too. They fought all the way to a less-than-pretty 19-3 win over Utah in the Coliseum Saturday.

Despite playing just over 40 scholarship players against the Utes, USC didn’t let the injuries or a demoralizing rivalry game loss get the better of them. Every category of player you could classify showed heart — the healthy, the injured, the backups, the walk-ons. Now they will have to do it on a short week against a much better team.

The college football betting trends for this game reveal some interesting angles for both teams.

Southern Cal is 1-4 straight in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Oregon State and they have failed to pay out for backers in any of those games as they have gone a perfect 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in those games. The total has gone under in 4 of Southern Cal's last 6 games when playing Oregon State, which could point to a low scoring game.

Southern Cal is 1-4 straight in its last 5 games playing away from home which includes a 0-5 ATS record in its last 5 games on the road. Oregon State is 6-0-1 straight up in its last 7 games, before losing to No. 8 Stanford last week. Oregon State is 9-2-1 straight in its last 12 games at home but just 4-11 straight up in its last 15 games when playing Southern Cal overall.

USC Trojans at Oregon State Beavers Pick

With plenty of time before kickoff we will wait for more information to come in before we select a side on this contest. Make sure to check back on the day of the game to see who we select as our winner for this big game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/28/2013 02:54 PM

Oregon State has little time to lament.

Saturday night's physically demanding 20-12 loss to Stanford took a heavy toll on the Beavers, including starting quarterback Sean Mannion, who overcame eight sacks and seven knockdowns to complete 41-of-57 passes for 271 yards and one touchdown.

However, in the celebrated TV-driven world of major college football, often there is no rest for the weary and the Beavers must quickly regroup for Friday night's pivotal home matchup with USC (6 p.m. PT, ESPN2), which has won two of three games since the controversial firing of head coach Lane Kiffin on September 29 shortly after a 62-41 road loss at Arizona State.

Sunday at the Beavers football offices was devoted in part to reviewing film of the Stanford game and mourning the squandered offensive opportunities in the first half when a dominant Beavers defense went toe-to-toe with the Cardinal offense and won a majority of the battles.

Running back Terron Ward had the Beavers longest run of the season against the Cardinal on Saturday.
"It was very, very physical," Riley said. "Stanford is that kind of team and it just turned into that kind of game, for sure."

The same, though, can't be said for the Beavers' offense, which struggled for consistency throughout the game and finished with a season-low 288 total yards, just 17 net yards on the ground when you factor in minus-60 yards due to sacks.

"It wasn't so much all the time about their blitzes, but they were winning one-on-one battles with a four-man or three-man rush," Riley said. "That was as big of a factor as anything."

In addition to being denied twice on fourth downs on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter, OSU wasted a golden opportunity to grab a first-quarter lead following Scott Crichton's fumble recovery at the OSU 20 when the Beavers had a first down at the STAN 16. But two sacks and negative yardage on a pass play drove the Beavers back to the 37 and out of field goal range.

Stanford's first five possessions in the rare defense dominated contest (neither team eclipsed 300 yards in total offense) ended with a punt, fumble (scooped up and returned 36 yards by Crichton) and three straight punts.

Stanford finished with only 273 yards in total offense, converted just 2-of-9 third down opportunities and lost the time of possession battle by more than 17 minutes, but the key fourth down stops and the fumble on the second half kickoff saved the Cardinal.

Explosive wide receiver Ty Montgomery was held to three receptions for 55 yards by Oregon State, with 37 of those yards coming on one reception late in the first half that led to Stanford's go-ahead touchdown.

"We did a ton of good stuff defensively," Riley said. "We certainly made a bunch of plays and had a lot of third down stops. The two hardest third downs, they converted. We had some outstanding, physical defense with good tackling. Lot of good plays in the secondary. We did a nice job in man-to-man pass defense."

Oregon State has moved up to No. 6 in the Pac-12 in total defense (381.2 yards per game) after starting the season at the bottom of the rankings

"We've come a long way from where we once were defensively at the beginning of the season to that team that played (Saturday) night. The coaches have done a very nice job with that group in building back the confidence and getting guys in the right places and preparing them week-to-week."

With Oregon State holding a 3-0 lead, the momentum swung when Stanford denied Mannion on fourth down at the STAN 34 with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter. The rejuvenated Cardinal offense raced down the field in six plays to score a touchdown with seven seconds remaining before halftime.

Oregon State never led again.

The Beavers gifted a touchdown to Stanford right out of the gate in the third quarter when freshman Victor Bolden fumbled on a kickoff return and the loose ball was recovered by Stanford at the OSU 12.

Two snaps later, Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney carried nine yards for his second touchdown of the game, giving the Cardinal a pair of vital scores within a span of 59 seconds bridging the second and third quarters.

The Beavers closed the gap to four points on Mannion's 8-yard touchdown pass to Cooks, but Stanford responded less than four minutes later with a 32-yard touchdown run by Gaffney.

"I hope our players would be mad about not winning and disappointed in that," Riley said. "But I'm encouraged about what they're capable of doing. We had some good opportunities to beat one of the better teams in the nation and gave it away in about a three-minute span right before the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half.

"(The video) was hard to watch because you could see the possibilities and what we should have done better. We missed assignments and got beat one-on-one. It was a combination of those things. That's how you get eight sacks."

Even though Mannion completed 72 percent of his passes, the lack of big plays in the Beavers offense was glaring. The longest pass play was 20 yards. Brandon Cooks, normally OSU's best deep threat, averaged 8.9 yards per reception.

"The thing we missed (Saturday) night was big plays," Riley said. "We've been getting a number of big plays in every game. But we got virtually none on offense. We had one pretty good run and that was it. Stanford has a real good front. The opportunity to wait on a receiver to get deep enough (wasn't there). Their coverage was rather conservative. They played pretty deep. They play smart and they're very experienced."

The loss dropped Oregon State (6-2 overall, 4-1 in Pac-12) one game behind Oregon in the Pac-12 North standings and one-half game behind Stanford, which has a bye on Saturday leading into the monster matchup with the Ducks in Palo Alto, Calif. on November 9.

However, that clash means Oregon State has an opportunity to jump back into the race with a win over the Trojans heading into the second bye week of the season.

"We've got a lot of football in front of us," Riley said. "The most important thing is getting our team prepared and physically refreshed for Friday night against the Trojans."

Since Sunday is typically the NCAA mandated off day, the Beavers will have just three full practice days to prepare for the Trojans as opposed to the normal four days. Riley plans regular practices on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and "probably more than a walk-through" on Thursday.

"You just have to do something differently," Riley said. "It's just not a normal week, so we've adjusted two things - the physical part of practice and how long we're practicing," Riley said.

Riley plans shorter practices (average of 15 minutes or so less for each workout) during the week.

Universities seldom fire football coaches in the middle of a season, but USC athletic director Pat Haden pulled the trigger on Kiffin in the wake of the embarrassing performance at Arizona State. Since then, the injury-plagued Trojans have beaten Arizona (38-31) and Utah (19-3) and fallen at Notre Dame (14-10) under interim head coach Ed Orgeron.

The woeful outing in Tempe in Kiffin's swan song notwithstanding, the Trojans pack a powerful punch on defense, topping the Pac-12 in total defense (317.2 yards per game) and falling a couple of yards short for the No. 1 spot in rushing defense.

USC has allowed 14 or fewer points in five of their seven games this season after limiting Utah to three points Saturday afternoon in a 19-3 victory at the LA Coliseum.

"You just look at their scores through the year," Riley said. "Except for the Arizona State game, they've played lots of good defense. They have a great group of athletes. This team has not been scored upon very much in one game (except for Arizona State). They held Utah to three points and they've been a pretty dynamic offensive team. They are also very good defensively and the strength of their defense is their front."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/29/2013 02:39 PM

The Stanford football team was every bit as big and tough as it was billed.

No doubt the Oregon State players are still feeling the effects from Saturday night’s 20-12 Pac-12 loss to the Cardinal at Reser Stadium

“It was physical, very, very physical,” OSU coach Mike Riley said. “Stanford’s that kind of team and it just turned into that kind of game.”

Saturday’s game left several OSU players banged up and many others physically drained.

Now the Beavers (6-2, 4-1) have a short week before taking on another tough, physical team in USC.

Like Stanford, the Trojans (5-3, 2-2) are a strong defensive team that can put pressure on the quarterback. They throttled Utah, 19-3, last Saturday and held the Utes to 201 total yards.

The game is on Friday (6 p.m. in Reser Stadium), so the Beavers lose a day to repair and prepare.

The Beavers will take it easy and Riley said they’ll cut about 15 minutes off each practice.

“We haven’t had many short weeks before, so it’s a little bit new for us,” offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said.

“We’ve cut it down a little bit trying to get them to be fresh for the game.”

There will be some changes to the practices as well.

“We’ll probably do a little more than a walk-through on Thursday,” Riley said. “That will be a different part of it.”

On Monday, the players went without pads and wore shorts with jerseys and helmets. The Beavers usually practice in pads to start the week.

It’s the first step to getting them rested up and ready for the Trojans.

“We’re going to try to get them off their feet a little bit and try to get them rested and healthy and fresh for Friday night,” Langsdorf said.

“We thought that our guys gave a great effort and played hard and played a tough game and I think everybody needed today to kind of recover a little more, an extra day to recover, so we decided to go shorts with them.”

While it’s an unusual situation for the players, most of the coaches are familiar with short weeks from time in the NFL or Canadian Football League.

Riley and his assistants are able to draw from experience in putting together a plan for the week.

A lot of emphasis will be on the thinking side of the game.

On the field, that means working on speedy execution, using vision on defense and sharpening up route running.

“We’re concentrating more on the mental,” defensive coordinator Mark Banker said. “The reaction part of it, the speed part of it as opposed to just the physical part of it and then we’ve just got to bring that along slow as the week goes.”

Off the field it means staying up to speed on the plays and learning as much as possible about the Trojans.

“I think we still can get all of our packages installed and we can have a little bit more meeting time and get them mentally ready,” Langsdorf said.

“I think this will be a good way to get them to freshen up for Friday, to be able to take some of the practice off of them physically and then a little bit more time mentally in the classroom.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/29/2013 02:41 PM

Oregon State has produced some of its most memorable victories in recent years against USC at Reser Stadium.

There was a 33-30 win over then-No. 3 USC in 2006, and a 27-21 upset of the top-ranked Trojans in 2008.

Not that Friday’s game at Reser would be considered an upset – neither team is ranked – but any victory against USC looks good on the resume.

“These are two new teams, two new years,” OSU coach Mike Riley said. “If this team wants to beat USC they have to do it. They can’t rely on the fact that those other teams did in the past.”

OSU (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12 North) has won three of the past five meetings in the series, including a 36-7 triumph in Corvallis the last time the teams played in 2010.

The Beavers, who returned to practice Monday after taking Sunday off, are coming off a 20-12 home loss to Stanford that snapped their six-game winning streak.

OSU managed just one touchdown against the Cardinal defense after scoring at least 33 points in its previous seven games. The Beavers were limited to a season-low 288 yards.

Yards don’t figure to come any easier against the Trojans (5-3, 2-2 Pac-12 South), who lead the Pac-12 in total defense (317.2 yards per game) and are second in scoring defense (19.2 points per game). USC held Utah to 201 total yards in Saturday’s 19-3 victory.

“This team has not been scored upon very much in any one game,” Riley said.

Well, there was USC’s 62-41 loss at Arizona State on Sept. 28, and then-coach Lane Kiffin was fired hours after the game. The Trojans are 2-1 under interim head coach Ed Orgeron and have allowed 17 points in their past two games, which included a 14-10 loss at Notre Dame.

USC has struggled offensively most of the season, and the Beavers had their best defensive game Saturday, limiting Stanford to a season-low 273 total yards.

“The most important thing for us is to kind of get our team prepared and physically refreshed for Friday night against the Trojans,” Riley said.

Running on empty: OSU managed just 17 net rushing yards against Stanford, primarily because Mannion lost 60 yards on eight sacks.

On a positive note, Terron Ward’s 34-yard run in the third quarter was the Beavers’ longest running play of the season.

OSU ranks 124th among the 125 FBS teams in rushing (66.6 ypg).

“Despite the fact that the totals aren’t great, I think we are getting a little better,” Riley said.

Ward (224 yards, four TDs) and Storm Woods (214 yards, four TDs) lead the team in rushing.

By the numbers: OSU leads the nation in passing offense (420.8 ypg) and is tied for fifth in turnover margin (plus 5).

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/30/2013 11:24 AM

Ed Orgeron knows the numbers, or at least what they reflect.


The Trojans have converted only 29 of 105 third-down opportunities, a 28% success rate that ranks 116th among 123 major-college programs.

A week after converting only two of 13 third downs in a 14-10 loss at Notre Dame, the Trojans made only three of 15 in a 19-3 victory over Utah.

Orgeron said pass protection and decision-making by quarterback Cody Kessler needed to improve.

Kessler agreed. The third-year sophomore also said the Trojans need to finish drives.

USC has scored only one touchdown in each of the last two games.

The Trojans defeated Utah with the help of four field goals.

"Some of those drives, we'll go 70 yards and get down to the 20-yard line and get stopped," Kessler said. "We really need to focus on getting six points instead of three."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/31/2013 03:10 PM

USC's passing attack could get a much-needed boost this week with the return of wide receiver Marqise Lee and tight end Xavier Grimble.

After both players participated in practice on Wednesday, interim coach Ed Orgeron told reporters that Lee and Grimble are probable for Friday night's game at Oregon State.

The Trojans sit one game away from bowl eligibility at 5-3 after riding their defense to a 19-3 win against Utah last week. The team was down to less than 50 healthy scholarship players, then matters got worse with first half injuries to right tackle Kevin Graf and star freshman defensive back Su'a Cravens.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Orgergon admitted that seeing two of the top offensive targets back in practice brightens his mood.

"It brightens mine," Orgeron said. "I didn't ask them if it brightens theirs, but it sure brightens mine."

Lee's 2013 campaign has not been what many of us expected, due mostly to the team's offensive struggles early and several nagging injury issues. After suffering a shoulder injury in training camp, Lee suffered a knee injury on Sept. 28 against Arizona State then re-aggravated that same injury against Notre Dame. In total, this injury has limited the 2012 Biletnikoff Award winer for all or part of the last five games.

The injuries haven't been the only issue. Changes on the coaching staff and at the quarterback position have not helped either.

"It's kind of tough, two years being with one quarterback and having to switch to another, but we're just working," Lee told CBSSports.com's Jeremy Fowler. "Cody's doing an amazing job and becoming a great leader. I look up to him actually, redshirt freshman coming in and doing what he has to do."

Still, Lee leads team with 32 catches and his 403 receiving yards trail only fellow starter Nelson Agholor (30 catches, 539 yards).

Grimble is expected to return to the starting lineup after suffering an ankle injury against Notre Dame. The junior, if healthy, would be the only scholarship tight end available. Against Utah the Trojans turned to walk-on tight end Chris Wilson, a former pitcher at Wake Forest.

Grimble leads all USC tight ends with 10 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
10/31/2013 03:10 PM

Defense may very well define both sides when Oregon State hosts USC on Friday night.

Both teams are coming off strong defensive efforts — although with different outcomes.

The Beavers (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) fell 20-12 at home to No. 6 Stanford last weekend, but they limited the physical Cardinal offense to just 273 yards, the lowest total in Stanford's last 14 games. Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan passed for just 88 yards and no touchdowns.

The Trojans (5-3, 2-2) forced four turnovers, including three interceptions, in a 19-3 victory over Utah last Saturday. It was the second win in three games since Ed Orgeron was named interim head coach.

Southern California, which ranks 11th in the nation in overall defense, holding opponents to 318 yards, held the Utes to 201.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0
coleryan Posts:16790 Followers:21
11/01/2013 04:16 PM

Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion is the top passer in major-college football. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior has completed 69% of his passes and has thrown for 30 touchdowns, with only three interceptions. In last week's 20-12 loss to Stanford, Mannion completed 41 of 57 attempts for a season-low 271 yards and a touchdown.

Junior receiver Brandin Cooks has a national-best 13 touchdown catches and also ranks first nationally with 10.6 receptions and 157 yards receiving a game. Richard Mullaney has averaged 15.9 yards a catch and scored three touchdowns. Tight ends Connor Hamlett, Caleb Smith and Kellen Clute have combined for 53 receptions and nine touchdowns.

Mannion faces a USC secondary that was torched by Arizona State and exploited by Arizona and Notre Dame. The Trojans, however, intercepted three passes last week against Utah.

USC quarterback Cody Kessler is completing 61% of his passes, nine for touchdowns, with five interceptions.

All-American receiver Marqise Lee is probable after sitting out against Utah because of a knee injury. Lee could bolster a Trojans receiving corps that includes sophomore Nelson Agholor, freshman Darreus Rogers and fifth-year senior De'Von Flournoy. Tight end Xavier Grimble also is expected to return from an ankle injury

Oregon State cornerback Steven Nelson has five interceptions, cornerback Rashaad Reynolds four.

- Back in play

USC tailback Tre Madden returned from a hamstring injury and rushed for 60 yards in 12 carries against Utah. The sophomore is expected to start against the Beavers.

Senior Silas Redd, who ran impressively against Arizona and Notre Dame, hopes to bounce back after gaining zero yards in 10 carries against Utah.

Oregon State ranks second to last nationally in rushing. Terron Ward and Storm Woods have each rushed for four touchdowns.

- Third downer

USC converted only two of 13 third downs against Notre Dame and three of 15 against Utah.

The Trojans' 28% success rate for the season ranks 116th among 123 major-college teams.

Interim Coach Ed Orgeron said pass protection and Kessler's decision-making on third down must improve.

Oregon State, meantime, has a 43% conversion rate on third down, which ranks 47th.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-6-0