3 Keys to Victory Revisited

SCPlaybook's Lyle Everett reviews the 3 Keys to Victory and details what went wrong for the Trojans in Corvallis Thursday night. Give credit to Oregon State, who played a near flawless game and came out on top, 27-21.

1) Build an Early Lead – That would have been nice. Instead, we saw Oregon State bust out to a lead from which they would never look back. Oregon State's defense came out with a purpose: Stop the running game. Every time Joe McKnight touched the ball, three OSU defenders plugged themselves in the hole and gang-tackled him for a loss. When the Trojans got tricky with McKnight taking direct snaps, Beaver defenders never got flustered. SC never had a chance to seize early momentum for themselves.

Jacquizz Rodgers made things happen for the Beavers on offense. He was impossible to tackle. Hit him low, he bounced off you like you weren't even there to begin with. Hit him high, and his low center of gravity and incredibly strong legs made it so you slid over the top of him. Then he would reverse his field and sputter to another eight yard gain. Seemingly every time he touched the ball, the chains would move. The Beavers controlled the ball as well as the clock in the first half, running up a 21-0 halftime lead.

2) Step Up in the Absence of Shareece Wright Josh Pinkard never got burned. Kevin Thomas had the misfortune of playing an end-zone fade pass perfectly, but actually deflected the ball directly into the hands of James Rodgers just before halftime to increase the Beaver lead to three touchdowns. Lyle Moevao was efficient (18-28, 167 yards), but not electric. Then again, he didn't have to be anything more than decent. Rodgers was the man on this night. His 186 yards made it easy for Moevao to drop back when he had to. Had USC been able to contain Rodgers, the pressure turns to Moevao to step up with a big game. But there was no need on this night. This night belonged to Jacquizz Rodgers.

3) Exploit Oregon State's Inexperience on D – The Beavers had to replace eight starters from last year's team. For eight new defensive players, they certainly did not look timid. Oregon State's defense absolutely flew all over the field last night. They played with a reckless abandon. They played like they had nothing to lose. They played at a different speed than USC saw on tape against Stanford, Penn State and Hawaii. The Trojans were not ready to face a defense like that last night. The Beaver D-Line pressured Mark Sanchez all game. Their linebackers plugged holes and their defensive backs covered very well in man-to-man situations. If the defense plays with the same intensity and ferocity that they did against SC last night, Oregon State has the chance to become a very special team by the end of the season.

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