OSN Column: USC – Oregon State’s Biggest Test Yet – Why The Beavers Will Beat The Trojans

By: Steve Della Pelle/Oregon Sports News

The last time Oregon State defeated USC was back in November of 2010 where they won 36-7. However, since then, USC has won 4 straight against the Beavers.

Fast forward to today, and the Oregon State Beavers are riding high after 2 straight big wins over Hawaii and Idaho. They head into Saturday’s matchup against USC 2-1 and look to keep the momentum rolling.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.


The major story for USC was the recent firing of head coach Clay Helton. In the past 3 seasons, Helton has led USC to a mediocre 18-13 record. A number that falls well short of USC’s historically high expectations. Also, under his tenure, the Trojans are just 2-3 in Bowl Games, including 2 straight losses in the Holiday Bowl and Cotton Bowl.

But USC in 2021 shows glimmers of hope. In their first game without Helton at the coaching helm, the Trojans took down Washington State in a 45-14 beatdown that included a 38 point 2nd half.

Junior QB Kedon Slovis was injured on just the 2nd series of the game, leaving Freshman Jaxson Dart to come off the bench. Dart wasted no time getting to work and impressing the masses, going 30/46 for 391 passing yards, 4 TDs, and 32 rushing yards.

Junior WR Drake London was the go-to target, collecting 13 receptions for 170 yards and 2 TDs. The offense has certainly been clicking this season and will be a huge part of Saturday’s success against the Beavers.

Oregon State

In steps Oregon State. Riding a 2 game win streak with an absolutely dominant 42-0 performance over the Idaho Vandals. The Beavers posted 438 total yards of offense with an astounding 248 yards on the ground.

QB Chance Nolan completed 74% of his passes, throwing for 175 yards and 3 TDs. The Beavers also had 3 different players with 50 or more rush yards, all 3 averaging more than 6 yards per carry.

The defense played aggressively, forcing 2 INTs from the Vandals and holding them to less than 200 total yards of offense. The Vandals only converted on 4 of 13 third-down conversions and just 1 of 5 on fourth-down conversions.

In the last 2 weeks, the Beavers have scored a combined 87 points total.

So, Who Wins?

The fact of the matter is USC is still trying to fill a head coaching position mid-season. Add in the fact that QB Kedon Slovis is injured, and they’re going with a Freshman QB starter in Dart makes this an intriguing matchup.

Dart played solid, but he still turned the ball over, throwing 2 INTs in the game. And not counting Dart rushing yards, the team only produced 18 yards on the ground.

So the opportunity is certainly there for the Oregon State Beavers to go into the Trojan’s home field and steal a win. If they can establish the run, control time of possession, and limit turnovers, they can get the job done.

4 Oregon State Linebackers lead this team in sacks. It will be their job to break down the offensive line and pressure the rookie USC QB.

If everything goes according to plan, Oregon State takes this one in a high-scoring affair.

Oregon State 35 USC 31