Game 3: USC

With a 2-0 record Oregon State traveled to Los Angeles to face the #16 Trojans in attempts to start 3-0 for the first time since 1967. Despite being overmatched at almost every position the Beavers competed with the Trojans before the men in yellow and crimson had a scoring frenzy late in the fourth quarter.

Oregon State entered the game with six picks, all by different defensive players, and in a three way tie for the most interceptions in the nation. USC head coach Paul Hackett was in his first year as head coach at USC and was impressed with the way the Beavers had played on both sides of the ball, including special teams.

Terrance Bryant hit James Battle for the Beavers first and only offensive touchdown.

"This is a much-improved Oregon State team. They have talent and speed and the difference shows. They've done an outstanding job on third down," said Hackett. "On offense, Coach Riley is doing what's comfortable to him. Him running the option is probably like me running the option. With their quarterback and three wide receivers, that's more comfortable. They're in very good hands in the kicking game too."

The Trojans looked to extend the Beavers 24 consecutive losses to the Men of Troy early in the first quarter as Mike Raaphorst hit Larry Parker for a 47-yard touchdown. But the Beavers responded with a scoring drive off their own capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from Terrance Bryant to James Battle.

Bryant's job did not get easier as the Trojan "D" clamped down the rest of the game forcing the transfer to throw 46 pass attempts completing just 19 of those throws. Despite the high number of throws Bryant only finished the game one yard above the one-hundred mark.

Early in the second quarter, the USC defense pinned the OSU offense deep in their own territory forcing Mike Fessler to punt out of the Beavers end zone.

The Men of Troy blocked the kick and recovered the pigskin for the lead. Over five minutes later Adam Abrams tacked on a first field goal for a 17-7 Trojan lead. The momentum had suddenly shifted towards the home team in a big way. The game was starting to look like a blowout.

Once again, with their backs against the wall, the Beavers responded with a 63-yard, 15 play drive, sustained by the steady running of Ken Simonton, that setup a 28-yard field goal by Jose Cortez with 47 seconds left in the half. The late score brought the Beavers within seven before the break.

The second half started out with a blast as Tim Alexander exploded up the middle for a 100-yard kickoff return and the touchdown. Suddenly the black bandits had tied the game and had the momentum to the dismay of the home crowd.

Except for the last two minutes of the game the Beavers and Trojans played a position battle as both defenses stiffened. The Beavers once again had problems establishing the run as USC used a variety of blitz packages to keep the Beavers off guard. Simonton finished the day with 76 yards on 16 carries.

In response to USC's tough defense the Beavers tried several receivers including Simonton, tight end Marty Maurer, and the receivers. Riley even tried a reverse, but wide receiver Greg Ainsworth could only squeak out three yards.

Tim Alexander began the second half by taking the kickoff 100-yards for the touchdown.

The Oregon State defense allowed only two USC field goals before exploding for 17 unanswered points. Defensive end Jamil Braithwaite turned in another superb effort blocking one punt while getting close to several others.

"Jamil Braithwaite had a great game -- He did a lot of good things," Riley said. "On special teams he blocked a punt and he did an outstanding job of rushing the passer. He really hustled and made plays."

Cortez brought the Beavers to within three with a 33-yard boot with just over seven minutes to go in the game. But three points would be the closet the Beavers would be for the rest of the game. The next 2:11 belonged to the Trojans.

A 43-yard Abrams field goal started the scoring spree as Chad Morton, who finished the game with 123 yards on 23 carries, danced 12 yards into the end zone, and current NFLer Chris Claiborne returned a Tyler Tomich pass 40-yards for the score. In just over two minutes the Trojans put 17 points on the board and another "W" in the win column.

Someone opening the morning paper and looking at the score would assume the game was a blowout, but the score was not indicative of the thrilling game. The USC game was a taste of what the Beavers could do under coach Riley. The players were confident despite the loss, but disappointed nonetheless.

Riley had mixed feelings about the heart breaking loss in Los Angeles and was looking forward to fixing the mistakes that cost the Beavers the ball game."We have to focus on the fact we need to detail things more so we don't have the kind of mistakes come up that in the end eventually costs us the USC game," Riley said.

"Those are details that can never be over looked by individuals or as a group. Playing the schemes, being in the ball game, being sharp and being more efficient. Those are the kinds of things that have to pick up as I thought those were the kinds of things that were lacking against USC."

Riley and his team traveled to Tempe for the second game of their month long road trip in hopes of rectifying the mistakes made at USC confident they could pull of the upset in the desert.

Tim Alexander finished the day with 234 all purpose yards, the seventh best single game mark in OSU history. Ken Simonton worked hard for his 76 yards against the Trojans.



  • Tim Alexander tied an OSU, Pac-10 Conference and NCAA record by returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against USC. Tim became the second player in OSU history to achieve the mark. Tim tied Ray Taroli's effort in 1971 vs. UCLA.
  • Inoke Breckterfield had three sacks in the USC game, giving him 15 1/2 career sacks, leaving him one away from breaking the OSU career mark of 16 held by Kane Rogers (1992-95).
  • Breckterfield led OSU in defensive points in the USC contest with 48, which hiked his career total to 946 points and moving him ahead of Steve Brown (926) for fourth place on the Beavers' all-time list. His next target is Reggie Tongue at 984.
  • When Tim Alexander returned the second half kickoff for 100 yards and a touchdown against USC, it amounted to the first time this season that the Trojans had allowed any points against them in the second half.
  • Jamil Braithwaite partially blocked a punt against USC, which amounted to his second blocked kick of the season. He also blocked a punt against Nevada.
  • USC became the first team this season to score points against OSU in the first quarter.
  • Andrae Holland tied an OSU record with four passes broken up in the USC game. Paul Carberry (Stanford, 1986); Brent Huff (UCLA, 1989); and Larry Bumpus (Utah State, 1997) also have had four break ups in a game. Holland now has 33 career passes broken up and needs just four more to break the career mark of 36 held by William Ephraim (1991-94).
  • Tim Alexander's 234 all-purpose yards vs. USC ranks as the seventh best single-game mark in OSU history and a career best for Alexander.


Riley Recaps the Loss

"I have mixed emotions about our game with USC. Our team showed a lot as far as playing competitively against a good team. We didn't have a great start. They scored on a long pass right off the bat, but it was a game that wasn't decided until the last couple of minutes. We made some plays in the game to give us an opportunity to win, yet me made some plays that cost us that same opportunity. I think we start with a great effort and build on that with better detail to what we are trying to do."


Big Daddy Orange's Commentary:
It's sunning in Los Angeles, but raining in my heart.
(Thoughts for the glass is half-full or glass is half-empty kinds of people.)

We now know that Terrence Bryant can take a hit.
Terrence probably would have preferred to tell us this instead of demonstrate it for us.

The defense played a great game.
The Beavs give up points on a blocked kick, an interception, a meaningless touchdown at the end of the game, and a muffed punt return.

Tim Alexander proved once again that he is a deadly force on kickoff returns.
Tim had lots of opportunities to prove his deadliness.

Section 26 throats were not as hoarse as they are after a home game. It doesn’t do much good to yell at the television though we couldn’t help chanting JOSE, JOSE, JOSE a few times.
Section 26 channel changers took a beating, Section 26 coffee tables took a beating, and Section 26 spouses realized why they stay at home while the rest of the family goes to Corvallis for home games.

There is always next week.
There is always next week.

Box Score

NCAAF   FINAL               1ST  2ND  3RD  4TH     TOTAL
                            ---  ---  ---  ---     -----
        OREGON ST             7    3    7    3      20
        USC (16)              7   10    3   20      40   FINAL


                            (ADAM ABRAMS KICK), 1:42
                            (JOSE CORTEZ KICK), 9:36
                            ZONE (ADAM ABRAMS KICK), 1:11
                 USC  - FG, ADAM ABRAMS 33 YD, 6:25
                 ORST - FG, JOSE CORTEZ 28 YD, 14:13
                            CORTEZ KICK), 0:16
                 USC  - FG, ADAM ABRAMS 28 YD, 3:57
        4TH QTR: USC  - FG, ADAM ABRAMS 33 YD, 0:01
                 ORST - FG, JOSE CORTEZ 33 YD, 7:14
                 USC  - FG, ADAM ABRAMS 43 YD, 12:49
                 USC  - TD, CHAD MORTON 12 YD RUN (ADAM ABRAMS KICK), 13:33
                            (ADAM ABRAMS KICK), 14:01
                      Oregon St         Usc 
First downs                  18          17 
Rushed-yards             36-115      41-140 
Passing yards               101         180 
Sacked-yards lost          3-14        5-39 
Return yards                  1          76 
Passes                  19-50-1     13-33-0 
Punts                    9-34.8      8-35.4 
Fumbles-lost                3-2         2-1 
Penalties-yards            9-82      11-102 
Time of possession        33:12       26:48 

Individual Statistics 
RUSHING: Oregon St-Simonton 16-78, Dandridge 8-34, Ainsworth
3-8, I White 1-1, Tomich 1-0, Bryant 7-minus 6. Usc-Morton
23-123, Strong 3-19, Iacenda 2-18, Papadakis 6-11, Soward 1-4,
Palmer 3-minus 16, Vanraaphorst 3-minus 19.

PASSING: Oregon St-Bryant 19-46-0-101, Tomich 0-3-1-0,
Alexander 0-1-0-0. Usc-Vanraaphorst 12-26-0-174, Palmer 1-7-0-6.

RECEIVING: Oregon St-Ainsworth 6-24, Alexander 4-32, Battle
3-20, Simonton 3-6, Tompkins 2-9, Maurer 1-10. Usc-Soward 7-82,
Parker 2-51, Miller 2-27, Iacenda 1-16, Morton 1-4.

Att: 45,629


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