"The thing that was so cool about this game was the way that the offense just carried us," Pete Carroll said. "They did it throughout the night."
While Barkley, Williams and all of the usual suspects came up with big plays, it was tailback Allen Bradford, a player that has had more lows than highs in his time as a Trojan, that emerged as the difference maker.
"AB is a monster," safety Taylor Mays said. "I am always pulling for Allen. He puts in so much work and is finally getting what he deserves. We knew what he could do."
Bradford, a bruising junior tailback, only received 3 carries in the first half of play but took over the game with his physical running during the third and fourth quarters.
"As Allen got going we just started leaning on him like we have done in the past," Carroll said. "He was just tremendous tonight."
Bradford received the bulk of the carries in crunch time and finished the night with a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns.
Oregon State entered the game allowing just 97.7 yards rushing per game and the USC ground attack exploded for 227 yards.
"He is officially back," Carroll said of Johnson, who had 6 catches for 99 yards and touchdown in just his second game of the season. "He had a great night."
Johnson provided a spark early in the second quarter, and proved that his collarbone was 100 percent, when he laid out in the front corner of the end zone to pull in a Matt Barkley pass for a 22-yard touchdown.
Barkley made a few questionable throws and had two passes intercepted by the Oregon State defense. But the first-year signal caller continues to be productive and showed his toughness in the pocket tonight.
"Matt had a little tougher night early on, but got going and made some huge throws," Carroll said. "He battled really tough all night long."
Barkley passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another.
His first touchdown pass came to tight end Anthony McCoy, who later left the game with a sprained right ankle.
While the USC offense moved the ball all night, and Damian Williams added a 63-yard punt return for a score, Oregon State responded nearly every time and was in the game until the very end.
There are very few teams in the nation that can go toe-to-toe and trade blows with the USC Trojans, and the Oregon State Beavers, a team that gets little national respect, proved again Saturday night that they are one of those teams.
Sophomore tailback Jacquizz Rodgers didn't match his 186 yards that he gained against USC a year ago, but the elusive back still managed to give USC problems all night, rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries.
And quarterback Sean Canfield passed for 329 yards and three touchdowns.
The Beavers actually outgained USC in total yards, 482 to 429, but while USC was scoring touchdowns, the Beavers often had to settle for field goals, which proved to be the difference in the game.
"We had four chances (in the first half) in the red zone and had three field goals and a miss," Mike Riley said. "That's a tough pill. But give USC credit. Their red zone defense is tough."
With the win USC improves to 6-1 on the season and will travel to Eugene next week for another tough road game against the Oregon Ducks.
Damian Williams returns a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. (Getty Images/Kevork Djansezian)
*Discuss more on the SCPlaybook.com message boards
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at email@example.com