8:00 PM ET, November 3, 2007
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Freshman Everson Griffen and his friends on the Southern California defense made certain Oregon State never had a chance.
In a 24-3 victory on Saturday, Griffen had 3 1/2 of USC's nine sacks, Oregon State was held to 176 yards of total offense, and the Trojans (No. 19 BCS, No. 13 AP) lived up to their preseason hype for the first time since September.
Although admittedly rusty, John David Booty threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his first game in four weeks. Fortunately, the Trojans didn't need much from their offense.
"The game was clearly dominated by what we did defensively, a fantastic night for the guys," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We came after them early and just kept coming. A lot of guys contributed to that happening.
"It just was an overwhelming night for our defense. That doesn't surprise me. We've been playing great D all year. Games like this should pop up."
The victory was USC's 21st straight over the Beavers at the Los Angeles Coliseum, dating back to 1960, and it raised the Trojans' record to 21-0 in November games under Carroll.
It was also USC's 31st win in the last 33 games between the schools and avenged a 33-31 loss at Oregon State last year.
USC (7-2, 4-2 Pac-10), a near-unanimous No. 1 pick entering the season, probably needs to win its final three games and get some help to earn at least a share of the conference championship for the sixth straight year.
Oregon State had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Beavers averaged 28.3 points in those games.
USC entered with 18 sacks, fewest in the Pac-10, but the Trojans pressured Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield throughout the game, much to the delight of the homecoming crowd of 85,713.
"That's just embarrassing," Oregon State guard Roy Schuening said of USC's sack total. "We were never out of this game, but the offensive line wasn't there today. I take the blame."
The Beavers allowed only 17 sacks in their first eight games.
"We've been waiting for this guy to really explode," Carroll said of Griffen, a 6-foot-3, 265-pounder. "This is a very talented kid, we're going to continue to call on him. Hopefully he can find his stride as we finish the season.
"He can have nights where he gets 3 or 4 sacks and it won't be a special night for him."
Griffen had only one sack in USC's first eight games.
"Coach Holt had been telling me all year to run off the ball and it finally clicked for me tonight," Griffen said, referring to defensive coordinator Nick Holt. "We just came out and played as a team and we dominated them."
Booty, playing for the first time since breaking the middle finger on his throwing hand Oct. 6 during the Trojans' shocking 24-23 loss to 41-point underdog Stanford, completed 19 of 33 passes without being intercepted.
Chauncey Washington gained 60 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns against the nation's No. 1 team in rushing defense, and Booty was sacked just twice by the national leader in that category as well.
Canfield completed 11 of 25 passes for 85 yards with one interception before being relieved by Lyle Moevao late in the game. The Beavers (5-4, 3-3) played without tailback Yvenson Bernard, the Pac-10's third-leading rusher with a 101.8-yard per game average.
"We got baptized tonight and I hope it helps our offense get better," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "We didn't get any rhythm going with way too many three-and-outs. We played good defense in the second half, but had no continuity on offense.
"It was not pretty. We will try to regroup next week. We missed our best runner (Bernard); he was not close to playing tonight."
Oregon State outscored its previous eight opponents 92-6 in the first quarter, but USC led 3-0 after one on a 47-yard field goal by David Buehler.
The Beavers tied it early in the second period on a 22-yard field goal by Alex Serna three plays after Victor Butler sacked Booty, forced a fumble and recovered at the USC 17.
That only seemed to awaken the Trojans, who quickly took command.
First, USC moved 54 yards after Ronald Johnson's 41-yard kickoff return, scoring on a 1-yard run by Washington. Booty was 5-of-5 for 53 yards on the drive.
Then, after an exchange of punts, Booty threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Washington, capping a 61-yard march.
Terrell Thomas' 25-yard interception return on Oregon State's next play put USC in position for a 13-yard scoring pass from Booty to Patrick Turner.
Canfield had thrown 68 passes without being picked off before Thomas came up with just the seventh interception of the season for the Trojans.
USC leaned on its defense in the second half. Oregon State moved to the Trojans 4 late in the third quarter before Brian Cushing sacked Canfield on fourth-and-2.
Buehler and Serna each missed 48-yard field goal attempts in the opening 5 1/2 minutes. James Rogers gained 39 yards on the Beavers' first scrimmage play for the longest run against the Trojans this season.
Rogers finished as Oregon State's rushing leader with 48 yards on three carries.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... USC scored three consecutive touchdowns to close out the first half. And when we say it was over then, we mean it: Neither team scored in the second half.
Gameball goes to... John David Booty. After missing the past three games because of an injury, Booty put in a solid performance: 157 yards and two TDs.
Stat of the game... 9. Nine different players caught at least one pass for the Trojans, whose remarkable depth should make them dangerous in their new spoiler role.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-17||5-16|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||1-1|
|FG||02:26||David Buehler 47 Yd |
Drive: 7 plays, 9 yds, 3:12
|FG||11:18||Alexis Serna 22 Yd |
Drive: 7 plays, 13 yds, 3:11
|TD||09:35||Chauncey Washington 1 Yd Run (David Buehler Kick) |
Drive: 7 plays, 54 yds, 1:35
|TD||03:58||Chauncey Washington 26 Yd Pass From John David Booty (David Buehler Kick) |
Drive: 4 plays, 47 yds, 1:13
|TD||02:07||Patrick Turner 13 Yd Pass From John David Booty (David Buehler Kick) |
Drive: 3 plays, 14 yds, 1:35