Aundrey Walker was enjoying the moment -- and happy that others were. The senior offensive lineman who had suffered a broken ankle and fibula with a couple of torn ligaments at the end of his junior campaign, was back Saturday night.
"It feels so good," Walker was saying as he slowly walked off the Coliseum turf. ":It feels really good."
He wasn't talking about his ankle. But about being back. About getting on to the field and contributing. Being out there when the Trojans were making things happen. This time it was in the rotation at right tackle but he's played on both sides at both guard and tackle.
"Tonight was a good night," the fourth-year guy from Cleveland, Ohio, was saying after being portrayed as a reluctant warrior to start the season in the eyes and words of his coach. He was healthy and medically cleared but he had to work his way through it.
He described how that worked: "It's painful. You've got to get through it. I'm a new person. I've gotten through it." And he's not put off by how much Steve Sarkisian seemed to be calling him out.
"I don't worry about that stuff," he says now. And he heard it. "Stop limping," he said Sark would tell him. "Its in your mind. Push through it.">
And now he thinks he has. "It helped me a lot," he says of Sark's comments. "Honestly it did. The past is the past."
And on a night when Jordan Simmons was not in uniform and three of the USC O-limen are true freshmen with another first-time player in sophomore Zach Banner totalling 12 career starts among them compared to Walker's 18, having a true veteran ready to play again cannot hurt.
BY THE NUMBERS
1960-23Just another notch in the Coliseum win streak against Oregon State that extends back to 1960 and an amazing 23 straight wins for USC against the Beavers in a series that seems so much closer after USC's missteps in recent seasons in Corvallis.
2-0, 2007For the first time since 2007, USC is 2-0 to start the Pac-12. How about that?
1 in 9, 24 of 32, 333, 4,075With his interception-free 24-of-32 performance against OSU, Cody Kessler now has thrown just a single interception in his last nine games, His 333 completions have him 10th on the USC career list and his 4,075 yards are 12th overall.
57-57USC played the OSU game with 57 originally recruited scholarship players while the 57-yard first quarter punt by Kris Albarado was a season best.
7-0USC has seven interceptions in four games against Kessler's none.
181-121-2009-10-0The 181 yards of total offense was the fewest for a USC opponent since San Jose State in 2009 gained just 121. The 10 points OSU scored were the fewest for the Beavers in more than two years and the first time in three years when OSU didn't score an offensive touchdown.
1 in 2014, 6, 11When tailback Xavier Hawkins carried the football on a fly sweep in the first series, he was the first true freshman to play this season for a veteran OSU team. USC meanwhile started six true freshmen and played 11.
27 for 232In another absolutely dominant Pac-12 performance, the officiating crew of referee Jack Folliard outdid themselves with 27 flags for 232 yards, 51 yards more than OSU managed to gain in 56 plays with seven of the Beavs' 17 frst downs coming courtesy of penalties.
1 of 10, 8 of 19OSU converted jus one of 10 third downs while USC managed to make it on eight of 19 but then the Trojans hit on all three fourth-down conversions they attempted.
Injury report:None reported. Lamar Dawson, Tre Madden and Jordan Simmons were not in uniform.
SU'A CRAVENS On his Pick-Six: "Actually it's pretty nervous catching a wide-open pass like that . . . You're thinking 'What if I drop it' and you'd be looking up in the stands at your parents . . . luckily I didn't." STEVE SARKISIAN "We're going to keep running the ball . . . it's who we are and it helps our defense . . . we're still learning and gaining an attitude about it."
LEON MCQUAY III On his end zone interception on a ball Adoree Jackson tipped to him: "I just saw the football" not the deflection but on learning AJ had purposely tipped it to him: "That's crazy."
CODY KESSLER On what sparked the offense: "I think, honestly, Su'a . . . the way the defense was playing and Sua's Pick-Six got us going."
OREGON STATE COACH Mike Riley On feeling pretty good at halftime: "Our defense had played pretty good for a long time and at one point the only thing they [USC] had really done is intercept a pass and run it back." USC D-LINEMAN LEONARD WILLIAMS On the change in USC's defensive approach: "The biggest thing we did was work on stopping the run on first and second downs . . . that's what we didn't do in the Boston College game.
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