For the Oregon State Beavers, it was one of those magical nights where everything went right at just the right time. For the Trojans, it was yet another upset at the hands of the Beavers and their 5' 7" scatback, Jacquizz Rodgers.
Oregon State dominated the first half, going up 14-0 thanks to Rodgers' amazing ability to elude tackles and gain yards on the ground. The Beavers were tacked on another seven to make it 21-0 after a gutty last-second touchdown pass bounced through the grip of a USC DB and into the hands of Jacquizz's big brother James.
USC seemed to regain all the second half momentum, making the game a one TD affair in the 3rd quarter. Finally, the Beavers seemed to compose themselves and put together a scoring drive -- but that drive culminated with a blocked field goal. Once again the Trojans had a chance to tie the game with just under 4:00 remaining, but Mark Sanchez's pass was intercepted by Greg Laybourn at USC's 30-yard line and returned all the way to the 2-yard line, setting up another touchdown by Rodgers (missed PAT).
USC drove quickly down the field and scored with 1:19 remaining, but with no timeouts remaining was forced to go for the onside kick. No dice. Final: Oregon 27, USC 21. After the jump: thoughts on the big picture.
Jacquizz Rodgers was amazing to watch, gaining 186 yards on the ground and plunging into the end zone for two touchdowns. More impressive than the stats was the fact that USC defenders just could not tackle the tiny running back. Rodgers juked the vaunted USC defense out of their shoes all night and gashed them right up the middle, usually without a fullback to block. It was an incredible performance which made USC look plain silly.
Last week USC fans were hoping Ohio State would look good to bolster their chances for a title bid. No need to concern yourselves with the Bucks any longer, Trojan fans! There is little to no chance of USC making a trip to Miami after this loss, and little just scored another touchdown. Keep in mind that Oregon State was absolutely pummeled by Penn State and lost to Stanford. Given that USC has no quality opponents remaining on their schedule, it's quite possible that we're looking at a Rose Bowl rematch between the Bucks and the Trojans.
Now, several thoughts to consider: 1) We thought the Bucks were really bad when they were destroyed by USC two weeks ago. Now how bad are they? 2) Just how good is Penn State? Really good, maybe. 3) What's the deal with USC vs. Oregon teams? 4) Everyone thought USC was an NFL-lite team going into this game. Did they just have an off-game, or were they overrated?
All very confounding and confusing, but here's one thing that's clear: it's the Big 12 and SEC's game to lose now.