10:00 PM ET, November 6, 2004
Reser Stadium, CORVALLIS, OR
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Even the fog couldn't obscure Reggie Bush's wily punt return.
Bush was virtually untouched on the 65-yard scoring return in top-ranked Southern California's 28-20 foggy victory over Oregon State on Saturday night.
"That guy is incredible," Oregon State wide receiver Mike Hass said. "You've got to give him credit on that, he kind of made it happen all by himself.
"That's why he's a Heisman Trophy candidate and he showed that tonight," Hass said.
Matt Leinart threw two touchdown passes to Dominique Byrd and LenDale White ran 5 yards for another score for the defending national champion Trojans (9-0, 6-0 Pac-10).
With just a narrow 14-13 lead, Bush's punt return came early in the fourth quarter.
"We've been in this position before," Bush said. "There was no doubt in our minds we were going to come back in the second half."
Southern California has won 18 consecutive games overall, 13 in a row in the Pac-10 and 10 straight on the road.
As fog rolled into Reser Stadium, the Beavers (4-5, 3-3) jumped out to a surprising 13-0 lead. But the mighty Trojans adjusted to the adverse conditions and all but took over in the second half to snap a three-game Oregon State winning streak.
Leinart completed 17-of-31 passes for 205 yards. He was intercepted once.
Derek Anderson was 22-of-51 for 330 yards and two touchdowns for the Beavers, who could never get a running game started and finished with just 34 yards rushing.
It started well for Oregon State. Alexis Serna's first-quarter field goals from 25 and 33 yards were sure despite the obvious visual trouble caused by the fog -- and the chilly 43-degree temperature at game time.
Joe Newton fumbled a long pass when he was forced down by Trojans safety Darnell Bing, but the ball was scooped up by Hass, who got it down to the Southern Cal 8.
A play later, Marcel Love caught Anderson's 8-yard scoring pass to make it 13-0 for Oregon State.
Leinart narrowed it to 13-7 before halftime with a perfectly placed 18-yard scoring pass to Byrd, who was well covered by cornerback Brandon Browner.
When Byrd ran a 25-yard scoring pass from Leinart into the end zone early in the third quarter, he raised the ball to Southern Cal's fan section.
Bush, the sophomore sensation who came into game ranked sixth in the nation in all-purpose yards, was virtually untouched on his punt return that made it 21-13.
He finished with 11 carries for 88 yards and two catches for 6 yards.
"The kid is unbelievable," Anderson said. "I've never seen anything like it, in the NFL, or whatever."
After White's touchdown made it 28-13, Oregon State's Josh Hawkins caught a 36-yard scoring pass from Anderson for the final margin.
The Tojans seem to be getting used to playing in un-Southern California weather. Last week they were pelted by hail before they beat Washington State 42-12 in Pullman, Wash.
This week it was fog so thick at times it was hard to see the ball on pass plays.
"It seems like Mother Nature is throwing everything at us," Leinart said.
The Trojans were the latest in a string of ranked teams that Oregon State has faced this season. The Beavers opened on the road against then-No. 3 LSU, the defending co-national champion. They've also faced Boise State, Arizona State and California.
Oregon State is the only team in the country with both reigning BCS champion LSU and AP champion Southern California on its schedule.
The Beavers have not defeated a top-ranked team since 1967 -- the famous Giant Killers who downed the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||6-17||0-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-2|
|FG||3:41||ALEXIS SERNA 25 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 11 yards.
|FG||1:41||ALEXIS SERNA 33 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 40 yards.
|TD||9:02||MARCEL LOVE 8 YD PASS FROM DEREK ANDERSON (ALEXIS SERNA KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||4:12||DOMINIQUE BYRD 18 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||12:14||DOMINIQUE BYRD 25 YD PASS FROM MATT LEINART (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 50 yards.
|TD||12:27||REGGIE BUSH 65 YD PUNT RETURN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)||21||13|
|TD||7:11||LENDALE WHITE 5 YD RUN (RYAN KILLEEN KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||2:36||JOSH HAWKINS 36 YD PASS FROM DEREK ANDERSON (ALEXIS SERNA KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 84 yards.