|USC undone by Oregon State's freshman running back|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 26 September 2008 12:19|
Rodgers, a 5-foot-7 freshman, played David to Goliath USC, leading the unheralded Beavers to a 27-21 upset Thursday night that suddenly redrew the landscape of college football this season.
Rodgers ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns and his older brother James caught a pair of TD passes from Lyle Moevao, as the Beavers (2-2, 1-1 Pacific-10 Conference) showed no fear in taking down a top-ranked team for first time in 41 years.
Jacquizz Rodgers, known as 'Quizz, was blissfully unaware of the significance of his play. His rushing yards were the most by a Trojan opponent since Vince Young ran for 200 for Texas in the BCS national championship game in 2006.
``It really hasn't hit me yet,'' he said after the game. ``But later on tomorrow I'll probably be really excited that we won.''
top spot in the rankings, placing greater emphasis on Saturday's game between No. 2 Oklahoma (3-0) and No. 24 TCU (4-0), and the SEC showdown between No. 3 Georgia (4-0) and No. 8 Alabama (4-0).
But at least on Thursday night, the national spotlight fell on the 25-point underdog Oregon State.
Afterward, the field at Reser Stadium was stormed by orange-clad Beavers fans. Moevao jumped into the arms of coach Mike Riley. Safety Greg Laybourn, who had a key interception late in the game, was hoisted by fans.
Trojans quarterback Mark Sanchez stormed off the field in anger.
``It doesn't taste very good right now,'' he said.
The Beavers also upset USC at Reser Stadium in 2006, when the Trojans were ranked third. Southern California has lost three of its last four games in Corvallis.
In 1967, Oregon State defeated the top-ranked and O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0 on a muddy field soaked by Oregon's infamous fall rain.
USC had shown little vulnerability in victories at Virginia and then at home against then-No. 5 Ohio State. But uncharacteristic mistakes, notably tailback Joe McKnight's fumble in the second quarter and Sanchez's late interception, cost the Trojans against the Beavers.
With Oregon State ahead 21-14 and less than 3 minutes to play, Sanchez's pass was picked off on the USC 30 by Laybourn, who ran the ball back to the 2.
ojans' fearsome defense, ran the final 2 yards to make it 27-14.
Sanchez hit Patrick Turner with a 14-yard scoring pass with 1:19 left, but with no timeouts the clock ran out on the Trojans.
Moevao completed 18 of 26 passes for 167 yards and two TDs for Oregon State.
Sanchez completed 18 of 29 passes for 227 yards and three scores, with the one crucial interception. McKnight rushed for just 10 yards against the Beavers, after gaining 105 yards in the Trojans' 35-3 victory over the Buckeyes.
The Beavers opened this season with two losses, at Stanford and Penn State, before returning home for a victory over Hawaii.
Despite their struggles, the Beavers had seen steady growth on offense and the emergence of Jacquizz Rodgers, who went into the game against the Trojans as the nation's leading freshman rusher with 87.7 yards per game.
The Trojans had no answer for him.
``For whatever reason, we just couldn't tackle him. We'd hit him in the backfield and he'd keep bouncing,'' USC coach Pete Carroll said. ``Him hiding behind the line of scrimmage was very effective. We had troubles with it all day.''
The Beavers play at No. 17 Utah next Thursday, with the opportunity to show they aren't a fluke. USC hosts Oregon on Oct. 4.