Game On: Oregon State vs. USC

A LAST look by The Sports Exchange -- storylines, fast facts, scouting and more, as Oregon State prepares to host Southern Cal.

KICKOFF: Saturday, 5 PT
DATE: 11/20/10
SITE: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Ore.
SURFACE: FieldTurf
SERIES: USC leads 59-10-4 (last meeting, 2009, USC 42-36)
RECORDS: USC 7-3, 4-3; Oregon State 4-5, 3-3
The Sports Exchange Prediction: USC 35-14

Beavers: Oregon State needs to defeat USC to avoid its first three-game losing streak since 2002, which was Dennis Erickson's final season when the Beavers finished 8-5 despite consecutive midseason losses to USC, UCLA and Arizona State to fall to 4-3. ... The Beavers won't play USC again until the 2013 season. The new Pac-12 schedule will require each team to miss two league opponents, and Oregon State's misses the next two seasons will be the Trojans and Colorado. ... RB Jacquizz Rodgers needs his average game of 108 yards to move into the Pac-10's top 10 career rushers. Rodgers has 3,586 rushing yards to rank 12th in conference history. Steven Jackson, who rushed for 3,625 for Oregon State, is 11th, and USC's Ricky Bell with 3,689 yards is 10th on the league list. ... DE Brennan Olander hadn't made a decision as of earlier in the week on whether to have shoulder surgery, but Oregon State coach Mike Riley said he is pessimistic regardless on Olander playing again this season.

Trojans: USC is 1-2 in its past three trips to Oregon State. ... Starting LB Devon Kennard (although listed as "Kennedy" on the official press release) earned second-team Pac-10 All-Academic honors, announced Tuesday. No USC player earned first-team honors. QB Matt Barkley, OL Khaled Holmes and C Michael Reardon were honorable mention. ... DT DaJohn Harris was back in the starting lineup last week. That will keep Armond Armstead, who can play inside or outside, at end. ... Special teams continue to come up big for the Trojans. They blocked a field goal and got a first down on a fake field goal in the win over Arizona. It was the fifth blocked kick, including a partially blocked punt against Arizona State, for the Trojans this season. ... Barkley is sixth among career passing leaders based on number of completions) in USC records with 5,253 yards. Ahead of him are Carson Palmer, Matt Leinhart, Rob Johnson, Rodney Pete, and John David Booty.

-- For Oregon State: Get some points. The Beavers need more than the 14 points they scored in each of the past two games to keep up with USC. More of an issue is the Beavers finding enough balance for the offense to stay on the field and not let the Trojans take advantage of an Oregon State defense that can't hold up for as long as it has been asked to do the past two weeks.

-- For USC: Keep running the ball. Oregon State has given up 431 yards on the ground in the past two games, both losses, so the Trojans need to keep taking their shots and perhaps wear down the Beavers' defense. A ground attack could negate any literally cold hands in the passing game.

-- USC has excellent balance on offense, and the offensive line took center stage last week against Arizona when the Trojans rushed a season high 46 times and controlled the clock for more than 37 minutes. USC is 29th nationally in passing (262.3 ypg) and is 22nd in rushing (199.6 ypg).

-- USC hasn't been very good in the secondary all year, especially when it comes to giving up big plays. The Trojans have been a bit better in that area lately, at least making the opposing offense have to work its way down field. Against Oregon State, stopping RB Jacquizz Rodgers is where it all begins -- he had 113 rushing yards vs. USC last season, and he had his breakout game with 186 rushing yards when the Beavers upset the Trojans early in the 2008 season.

-- The problem lately for Oregon State has been simply keeping the offense on the field. In consecutive losses to UCLA and Washington State, the Beavers have averaged a possession time of 22:04 and 50 plays, or 25 fewer plays than their opponents. Oregon State hasn't been able to get far enough into its playbook to show the balance it would like to exhibit, and which might make it more successful. In the past two games, RB Jacquizz Rodgers has a total of 29 rushes.

-- The Beavers haven't been able to stop opposing rushers of late, allowing an average of 215 rushing yards in losses to UCLA and Washington State. Now comes USC, which six times this season has gone over 200 rushing yards.

S Jawanza Starling (ankle, questionable).

LB Tony Wilson (head, questionable). FB Will Darkins (head, questionable).

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