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The Baltimore Sun

USC ends Corvallis drought with 31-14 victory over Oregon State


USC clearly looks like a different team under interim Coach Ed Orgeron.

The Trojans won their third consecutive Pac-12 Conference game -- their first at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., since 2004 -- by dominating Oregon State in every phase, 31-14.

Even the much-maligned USC secondary played well, picking off three Sean Mannion passes as the Trojans defense gave up only one touchdown.

The interceptions were made by Josh Shaw, Dion Bailey and Kevon Seymour. Shaw's and Bailey's came in the end zone and near the goal line.

Mannion had 30 touchdown passes and only three interceptions in 391 passes coming into the game. USC matched that in 40 passes on Friday night.

Mannion, who was averaging 408 yards passing a game, finished with 277 on Friday, completing 26 of 45 passes.

USC improved to 6-3 overall -- 3-1 with Orgeron in charge -- and 3-2 in Pac-12 Conference play. Oregon State fell to 6-3 overall, 4-2 in conference play.

The Trojans outgained the Beavers, 489 yards to 369, and had a 242-92 edge in rushing yardage.

Silas Redd ran for 140 yards in 22 carries for USC, and Buck Allen had 133 yards in 16 carries, including scoring runs of nine, 18 and 52 yards.

The Trojans also got production out of Marqise Lee, who returned to the lineup after missing last week's game against Utah with a knee injury.

Lee hauled in a 71-yard touchdown pass on USC's first play from scrimmage and finished with five catches for 105 yards.

Oregon's State only touchdown on offense came on a 27-yard pass from Mannion to Brandin Cooks. It was Cooks' nation-leading 14th touchdown reception of the season. However, Cooks wasn't really a factor. He came in averaging 10.6 catches and 157 yards a game, but was held to two catches for 40 yards by USC.

USC quarterback Cody Kessler completed 17 of 21 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. About his only mistake was a pass he threw into triple coverage that was intercepted and returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Ryan Murphy early in the second quarter.

Oregon State didn't score again.


Sean Mannion, who had thrown 391 passes in eight games before this one, with only three interceptions, has thrown as many interceptions tonight in 40 passes.

This one was pulled in by Kevon Seymour, the cornerback beat early in the game on what was Oregon State's only touchdown on offense.

USC leads, 31-14, with 4:04 left in regulation.


Oregon State takes over at its own 35 with 6:46 left in the fourth quarter.

Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion, who came into the game with 30 touchdown passes, three interceptions and averaging 408 yards passing per game, has completed 21 of 36 passes for 221 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.


Dion Bailey just bailed out USC -- and especially freshman cornerback Leon McQuay III.

McQuay received a well-earned personal foul penalty by giving a ridiculous post-play head butt to Oregon State's Brandin Cooks after Cooks gained 11 yards on a run.

But on the next play, Bailey came up with an interception at the 3-yard line, thwarting an Oregon State scoring chance.

The Beavers have been inside the USC 20 three times without scoring. Quarterback Sean Mannion has been intercepted twice in the red zone and the Beavers also missed a chip-shot field goal.

Mannion had been intercepted just three times in 391 passes this season coming into the game.


USC 31, Oregon State 14 (:20 left in third quarter)

What was Buck Allen when this season started? Fourth string?

The junior running back has carried the ball eight times against Oregon State tonight -- three have gone for touchdowns.

Allen just raced 52 yards for a score, giving him 101 yards rushing. USC went 90 yards in six plays.

That's the upside of a season in which scholarship limitations and injuries have taken a toll: a team finds a few diamonds in the rough.

Allen, who is as tough a runner as USC has had in a few years, is clearly one of them.


We interupt this college football blog for a complaint:

College and NFL games shouldn't be played on Friday night.

That night should be reserved for high-school play.

OK, carry on...


Oregon State finally converted on a third-down play after misfiring on its first six.

But the Beavers end up punting anyway, and USC now has the ball at its own 10 with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter.

USC leads, 24-14.


USC's drive stalls at midfield when center Marcus Martin is called for illegal hands to the face on a third-and-one first-down run by Silas Redd.

Oregon State's ball at its own 31 with 6:37 left in the third quarter.


Oregon State Coach Mike Riley said (warned?) during a television interview at halftime that the Beavers needed to find a way to get the ball more to Brandin Cooks.

Cooks, who leads the nation with 14 touchdown receptions, was held to two catches in the first half.

On the Beavers' first possession of the second half, Riley was true to his word. Cooks gained 29 yards on a reverse and then took in a 17-yard pass from Sean Mannion.

However, Oregon State stalled deep in USC territory, and Trevor Romaine missed way to the left -- from the right hashmark -- on a 26-yard field-goal try.

USC leads, 24-14, with 10:56 remaining in the third quarter.


USC 24, Oregon State 14 (12:21 left in third quarter)

Oregon State needs to watch those first plays from scrimmage.

USC's first play of the game went for a 71-yard touchdown. The Trojans' first play of the second half went for 62 yards -- a pass from Cody Kessler to Nelson Agholor.

The pass set up a 34-yard field goal by Andre Heidari after USC stalled with miscommunication on a snap between Kessler and center Marcus Martin that resulted in a fumble.


USC starts the second half at its own 25.


USC 21, Oregon State 14 (halftime)

USC is ahead by a touchdown on Oregon State in front of an orange-clad crowd at Reser Stadium, but the Trojans' advantage coulda, shoulda, woulda been more.

USC dominated the first half, outgaining Oregon State's high-scoring offense, 258 yards to 168, but the Beavers stayed close thanks to a 42-yard interception return by Ryan Murphy.

USC quarterback Cody Kessler had a good first half, but the interception came on a terrible choice and pass. Kessler threw toward De'Von Flournoy into triple coverage. It was easily picked.

Kessler completed nine of 12 passes for 145 yards and a touchdown. He connected three times with Marqise Lee, whose receptions went for 100 yards, including a 71-yard scoring bomb on USC's first play from scrimmage.

The Trojans also ran well, outgaining the Beavers, 113-29 in rushing yards. Silas Redd led the way with 85 yards in 12 carries. Buck Allen had 46 yards and two touchdowns in four carries.

USC held an edge in time of possession, 17 minutes 20 seconds to 12:30.

Oregon State's Sean Mannion, the nation's leading passer, has completed 12 of 21 passes for 139 yards and a touchdown with an interception. He has been sacked twice by Devon Kennard.

Beavers receiver Brandin Cooks caught his nation-leading 14th touchdown pass in the second quarter, but he has been relatively quiet with two catches for 58 yards.


USC 21, Oregon State 14 (4:45 left in second quarter)

A bad Cody Kessler pass is turned into a game-tying touchdown, so...

USC turned to the run.

The Trojans drove 75 yards in 10 plays -- all but two of the plays and 11 of the yards on runs.

Buck Allen took it the final 18 yards, showing off a nice combination of moves and power.

Silas Redd is the Trojans' leading rusher with 72 yards in 10 carries, but Allen has 34 yards in four carries, with two touchdowns.


USC 14, Oregon State 14 (9:29 left in second quarter)

Another Cody Kessler pass has resulted in a touchdown -- this time for Oregon State.

Kessler threw toward De'Von Flournoy into triple coverage and his pass was picked off by Ryan Murphy, who returned the ball 42 yards for a touchdown.

Murphy was burned on the 71-yard pass play from Kessler to Marqise Lee that gave USC a quick 7-0 lead, but he made up for it with this play.

USC had taken the Rezer Stadium crowd out of the game with a strong first quarter, but the crowd is now back into it.


USC 14, Oregon State 7 (9:43 left in second quarter)

The nation's leading passing touchdown combination has struck again.

Oregon State is on the board after a 27-yard touchdown pass from Sean Mannion to receiver Brandin Cooks. It was Mannion's 31st scoring pass of the season and Cook's 14th, which leads the nation.

Mannion found Cooks wide open near the end zone because USC cornerback Kevon Seymour fell down.


Oregon State looked sharp in driving from its own 17 to the USC 16. But then Sean Mannion lofted a pass into the end zone and Josh Shaw made an easy interception for USC.

Mannion has 30 touchdown passes, and that was only his fourth interception.

Mannion has completed eight of 13 passes for 72 yards against USC.


USC 14, Oregon State 0 (:36 left in first quarter)

Which one of these teams has the high-scoring attack led by the nation's leading quarterback?

That description is supposed to fit Oregon State.

USC looks more the part through one quarter.

Buck Allen's nine-yard touchdown run completed a 72-yard drive engineered by quarterback Cody Kessler.

Kessler had a hand in several big gains, including a 23-yard gain on a pass to Marqise Lee and an 11-yard gain on a pass to Nelson Agholor on a third-and-10.

Kessler has completed six of seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Lee has two catches for 94 yards.

Silas Redd has rushed for 26 yards in three carries and Allen has 16 yards in three carries after carrying only twice for two yards -- and fumbling once -- last week against Utah.


Another three-plays-and-out possession for Oregon State as USC's Devon Kennard gets the first sack of the game on Sean Mannion.

Mannion was sacked eight times by Stanford last week.

USC has the ball at its own 28 with 5:00 left in the first quarter.


Sean Mannion, college football's passing leader, has completed his first four passes for 34 yards. But Oregon State has been held scoreless in its first two possessions.

Beavers take over after a USC punt on their own 18-yard line with 6 minutes 36 seconds left in the first quarter.


USC 7, Oregon State 0 (12:06 left in first quarter)

Well, that was fast.

George Uko blocked a 46-yard field-goal attempt to end Oregon State's first drive, and USC's first possession lasted all of one play and 11 seconds.

That's how long it took for Cody Kessler to connect with Marqise Lee on a 71-yard pass play for a touchdown.

Lee missed USC's game last week against Utah with an injured knee, but he was wide open down the middle of the field on a crossing route after the Oregon State safety bit hard on a run fake into the middle of the line.

I wonder if this is what USC Coach Ed Orgeron meant when he said before the game that Lee would be used in certain situations.



Tight end Xavier Grimble, who sat out against Utah because of a sprained ankle, apparently will play tonight against Oregon State.

Grimble is going through warmups with the Trojans, who played last week with three walk-on tight ends.

Receiver Marqise Lee also is back from a knee injury and he appears to be running without obvious discomfort.

Right tackle Kevin Graf, who suffered an ankle injury against Utah, is in sweats and encouraging teammates. The Trojans are expected to start an offensive line that includes left tackle Chad Wheeler,  left guard John Martinez, center Marcus Martin, right guard Aundrey Walker and right tackle Max Tuerk.

Walk-on Nate Guertler will wear No. 89, meaning he will once again play tight end.


We’re about an hour before kickoff at Reser Stadium and USC has announced that receiver Marqise Lee is in the starting lineup against Oregon State.

The All-American sat out against Utah last week because of a knee injury he aggravated against Notre Dame.

It’s been overcast in Corvallis for most of the day but the sun has been out the last 90 minutes and many students are walking the campus in T-shirts.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s at kickoff before dropping into the 40s. Rain is forecast, but not until late Friday night.

USC, 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the Pac-12 Conference, is trying to end its three-game Reser Stadium losing streak. The Trojans have not won here since 2004.

Oregon State is 6-2 and 4-1 in Pac-12 play after losing last week to Stanford, 20-12.

The Beavers are led by quarterback Sean Mannion, who has passed for 30 touchdowns and only had three passes intercepted.

--Gary Klein


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