'Chop off their head'

Post game news and notes from Oregon State's 33-31 victory over USC Nov. 28, 2006.

Play of the game.
USC marched down the field and pulled within two points with seven seconds to play. QB John David Booty stepped back and quickly threw a pass to the corner of the end zone but DE Jeff Van Orsow got his hands up at the line of scrimmage and knocked the pass down sealing the game.

"I just got it as a last-ditch effort," Van Orsow said. "We saw he was throwing a low ball."


Players of the game.

Offense - It's tough not to put Sammie Stroughter here or the offensive line, but QB Matt Moore had an incredible game. He stayed calm in the pocket and never got rattled although he was sacked six times while being knocked to the ground several other times. Moore threw the ball away when he should of, looked confident rolling out and tossed some absolutely beautiful passes, especially the touchdown to TE Joe Newton in the back of the end zone. Moore finished 21 of 32 for 262 yards with one touchdown passing, one touchdown running and zero interceptions.

Defense - DE Jeff Van Orsow easily had his best game of the year. He put a nice inside move on All-American tackle Sam Baker in the first quarter which resulted in his second sack of the season. Van Orsow finished with three tackles and one sack.

Special teams - PR Sammie Stroughter did it again as he returned his third punt, a 70-yard jaunt, for a touchdown this year tying a Pac-10 record. The Beavers lead the Pac-10 in punt return average at 18.3, almost five full yards ahead of California, the second place team.


Over 100 and another victory.
For the fifth time this year a Beaver running back topped the 100-yard mark and for the fifth time this year the Beavers picked up a victory. RB Clinton Polk did a great job filling in for Yvenson Bernard, who sat out with a ankle injury, racking up 100 yards on 22 carries. He also added 16 yards on three receptions. In his previous five games Polk gained 112 yards on 29 carries.

Most of his damage came in the fourth quarter when he ran 10 times for 46 yards, including a 14 yard scamper on third and six in the to keep the clock moving. Polk did a nice job of keeping his legs moving, securing the ball and following his blockers. His performance reminded me of Patrick McCall's in 2000 when he spelled Ken Simonton and rushed for over 100 yards against UCLA on the road.

Here's a look at the top rusher in OSU's games this year. All statistics are Bernard's unless otherwise noted.

Streaks haulted.
As you undoubtedly know, Oregon State's win haulted several USC winning streaks.

  • 27 straight Pac-10 wins, their last loss was in 2003 to California
  • 18 straight road wins
  • 13 straight conference road wins
  • 18 straight wins in the month of October, their first loss in Oct. in four years, their last loss in Oct. was to Washington State in 2002
  • 6 straight wins this year


Winning the turnover battle.
Against Washington and Arizona the offense turned the ball over three times in each contest, which made the games closer than they should have been. If the Beavers would have continued their turnover ways against USC, they definitely wouldn't have won.

The offense did not turn the ball over once as the defense forced four turnovers (three fumbles, one interception), the most turnovers USC has had in one game in three years. The turnovers were turned into three Alexis Serna field goals. But, the Beavers did turn the ball over once on special teams as P Kyle Loomis mishandled a snap.

After Saturday's performance, OSU is plus three in the Pac-10 in turnover margin, good for fourth in the conference.


Another solid opening drive.
Oregon State has scored (all touchdowns) on its first possession in six of the first eight games. Only Cal and WSU have held the Beavers scoreless on their opening drive.

The Beavs moved the ball 69 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive for their first points against the Trojans. The drive was setup by a key shovel pass on third and seven that Moore threw to RB Clinton Polk as Moore was being tackled. Moore was 7 for 7 passing on the drive and scored on a one-yard keeper.


Bowl talk in the air.
Oregon State currently sits at 5-3 overall and 3-2 in conference play. They are tied with Oregon for fourth place in the conference. OSU must win two of their last five games to become bowl eligible. Three of the Beavers final games are on the road (Stanford, UCLA and Hawaii).

Here is a look at the Pac-10's bowl arrangements:


Friday night OSU's chaplin told the Biblical story of David and Goliath. The ultimate story about the underdog succeeding. Sammie Stroughter took the story to heart and gathered stones to hand out to his teammates.

"We had chapel and coach Riley gave a great illustration," Stroughter said. "It was David and Goliath and we just kept saying, 'Chop off their head." It was ordained before I was born. The Lord had this day written already."

Riley added. "We have some kids who are pretty thoughtful. Whatever a guy draws on, we got kids who are pretty deep.”

MLB Alan Darlin placed his stone in his pads for motivation.

"Sammie Stroughter handed out a stone to every player on the team last night at our team meeting," Darlin said. "I had mine tucked in my girdle during the game. It was a motivator."


Against ranked competition.
OSU's win over No. 3 USC is the highest-ranked victory since the Beavers defeated No. 1 USC in 1967. It was Oregon State's first win against nationally ranked teams in the last four tries. Their last victory over a ranked program was last year over No. 18 California on the road. OSU snapped a four game home losing streak to nationally ranked programs with their last win coming against No. 8 Washington in 2001.

Riley's teams are 3-18 against ranked foes.


After Van Orsow knocked down the pass many of the OSU players tore of their helmets, some even threw them, while the students stormed the field. Unfortunately for OSU there was still seven seconds on the clock and the referees called a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty. The penalty resulted in the Trojans kicking an onside kick from the 50, well within field goal range if they recovered.

But, WR Brandon Powers leapt high the air, snatched the wobbling ball and curled up to the secure the pigskin and the win.

It was a great atmosphere after the victory with the fans and players celebrating on the field. Some of the players got on the shoulders of the students and led them in the O-S-U chant. Many of the players came to the old side of the stadium and celebrated with their family members. There was never an attempt to take the goal posts down.


This and that.

  • TE Joe Newton caught his first touchdown in Pac-10 play and was a big part of the offense catching four passes for 41 yards and one touchdown. Newton moved into14th place for the most career OSU receptions with 94, and tied Roddy Tompkins (1996-99) in career receiving TDs at sixth with 12.

  • OSU was flagged 11 times for 82 yards. One penalty took them out of field goal range, while another took away a first and goal opportunity.

  • SS Sabby Piscitelli led OSU with eight tackles and a pass break-up.

  • LB Joey LaRocque continues to play well tallying seven tackles as the team's second leading tackler.

  • PK Alexis Serna connected on 4 of 6 kicks. One of his kicks was blocked due to a bad snap while his 43-yard attempt sailed wide left. He is 12 of 17 on the season.

  • Kudos to holder Jon Stowbridge who hauled in several horrible snaps from Joel Cohen who was struggling getting the ball up and on target.

  • CB Coye Francies is earning a reputation as a punishing hitter. Francies was responsible for jarring the ball loose in the third quarter for the Beavers' third forced fumble of the game.

  • S Bryan Payton had the first interception of his career as he picked off a pass in the end zone and returned it 52-yards before being brought down by John David Booty. Payton finished with five tackles and will start his fourth straight game against ASU Nov. 4.

  • P Kyle Loomis averaged 38.7 yards per kick and muffed one snap resulting in a USC touchdown.

  • KOR Coye Francies and Gerard Lawson did a nice job returning kickoffs as Francies returned two for 60 yards while Lawson added one for 31 yards.

  • USC never led as OSU held a 23-point lead in the third quarter.

  • The Beavers have won three straight games for first time since October 2004.

  • The offense converted 7 of 17 on third downs and scored points 4 of 5 times in the red zone. Their only failed attempt came on a blocked field goal that was caused by a bad snap.

  • The 42,871 crowd was fifth-largest in Reser history.

  • Riley is 33-33 as a head coach at Oregon State.

  • OSU’s 33 points were the most the Beavers have scored against Southern Cal since a 38-6 victory in 1914, the first game of the series. It was also the most points the Trojans have yielded this year.

  • USC's defense was giving up an average of 282 yards per game. The Beavers produced 351 yards of offense.

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