USC has not defeated Oregon State at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., since 2004.
During a teleconference with reporters Sunday night, interim Coach Ed Orgeron was asked why playing the Beavers on the road has been such a problematic situation for the Trojans.
"That's a good question," he said. "It was the first thing I thought about," Sunday morning.
Orgeron cited the difficult environment, the fact that Oregon State gets up for the Trojans and the experience of Beavers Coach Mike Riley.
Oregon State is 6-2 and 4-1 in conference play after losing to Stanford, 20-12, on Saturday.
The Beavers are led by national passing leader Sean Mannion. The junior is averaging 408 yards a game and has passed for 30 touchdowns, with only three passes intercepted.
Oregon State's passing attack will be a big test for a Trojans defense that intercepted three passes against Utah.
Josh Shaw's move from safety to cornerback appeared to strengthen the secondary, and Orgeron said safety Demetrius Wright played well. Freshman safety Su'a Cravens, who suffered a groin injury on an interception return, is probable for Oregon State, Orgeron said.
On the line
USC's offensive line eliminated the penalties that hurt the Trojans against Notre Dame, but the unit remains an issue.
Senior tackle Kevin Graf, who suffered an ankle injury against Utah, is questionable for Friday's game, Orgeron said.
After Graf's injury, Max Tuerk moved from left guard to right tackle against Utah and Aundrey Walker played guard.
The Trojans gave up five sacks and rushed for only 30 yards. USC also struggled again on third down, converting only three of 15.
Orgeron cited protection issues and the need for better decision-making by quarterback Cody Kessler.
Receiver Nelson Agholor suffered a rib injury Oct. 19 against Notre Dame, but the sophomore played through the pain and caught six passes, including one for a touchdown, against Utah.
With All-American receiver Marqise Lee sidelined because of a knee injury, Agholor led the Trojans receiving corps.
"He didn't practice all week," Kessler said. "He was on and off, taking it day by day. We didn't know for sure and he came out and said, 'Coach, I'm ready to go.'"
On USC's first play, Agholor leapt high for a long pass but could not hold on to the ball before landing hard on the turf.
"I was fine," he said. "I should have caught that ball regardless."
Agholor's first reception came on the 30-yard touchdown pass play late in the first quarter. He finished with 97 yards receiving. Agholor has 30 receptions and three touchdowns this season.
"We did a lot of good stuff," he said, "but we've got to execute more."
Walk-on tight end Shane Sullivan suffered a season-ending knee injury against Utah, Orgeron said. The status of several injured players will be determined in the next few days. Lee (knee) is scheduled to see a doctor this week, Orgeron said.