Let that sink in for a moment.
Sean Mannion went 15-of-32 for 123 yards with two interceptions for the Beavers. The OSU quarterback was under continual pressure much of the night and looked out of sorts. By the end of the game, he looked to be feeling the pass rush before it arrived. But Mannion was far from the only culprit. Indeed, the Beaver o-line had no answer for the pass rush from the USC front seven.
Still, the biggest question that will come from this loss is why Oregon State went away from the run.
It seemed to be working early on, with Storm Woods running for eight and 15 yards on his first two carries, Terron Ward ripped of 12 hashes on his first touch. OSU then proceeded to pass their way into a punt on that particular possession.
And it wasn't as if USC was stacking the box with nine men, daring OSU to throw it. The numbers?
Woods ended up with but nine carries on the night, Ward with only seven.
But Woods had a 6.8 ypc average, Ward was at 4.1. The two Beaver running backs had 90 yards...
...On 16 carries.
The Trojans scored first when Su’a Cravens picked Mannion and took it in. But Beaver safety Ryan Murphy, thrust into return duty with Victor Bolden (dislocated finger) out, took the ensuing kickoff down the sideline for a TD. It was the fifth-longest kick return in OSU history – and Murphy’s first career kick return.
An exceptional move at the last when it looked like Murphy would surely be tackled was the exclamation point.
But Murphy later got dinged up and came to the sideline just before the end of the first half -- and it ended up being a fatal blow. The very next play on fourth-and-15 -- on the final play of the first half -- USC’s prayers were answered when several OSU defenders went through the motions on a jump ball in the end zone.
The Hail Mary 48-yard TD catch by Darreus Rogers changed it from a tight 14-10 game at the break to a 21-10 USC lead. Murphy returned later but the damage was done.
USC dominated OSU defensively in the second half and the Trojan offense scored 14 fourth-quarter points to put a cap on it.
Oregon State held star USC wideout Nelson Agholar in check but they made QB Cody Kessler looks like a Heisman candidate. Kessler completed 24 of 32 passes for 261 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.