Trojans crush Beavers, 24-3
LOS ANGELES — For the first time since September, Southern California lived up to its preseason hype Saturday night.
John Booty passed for 157 yards and two touchdowns in his first game in four weeks, the USC defense was overpowering with nine sacks, and the 13th-ranked Trojans defeated Oregon State 24-3.
The victory was USC's 21st straight over the Beavers at the Los Angeles Coliseum, dating back to 1960, and raised the Trojans' record to 21-0 in November games under coach Pete Carroll.
It was also USC's 31st win in the last 33 games between the schools and avenged a 33-31 loss at Oregon State last year.
USC (7-2, 4-2 Pac-10), a near-unanimous No. 1 pick entering the season, probably needs to win its final three games and get some help to earn at least a share of the conference championship for the sixth straight year. The performance was the Trojans' best since a 47-14 triumph over Washington State on Sept. 22.
Oregon State had its three-game winning streak snapped.
USC blew the game open by scoring three touchdowns in a 71/2;-minute span of the second quarter. The Beavers (5-4, 3-3) played without tailback Yvenson Bernard, the Pac-10's third-leading rusher with a 101.8-yard per game average.
Booty, playing for the first time since breaking the middle finger on his throwing hand Oct. 6 during the Trojans' shocking 24-23 loss to 41-point underdog Stanford, completed 19-of-33 passes without being intercepted.
Chauncey Washington gained 60 yards on 12 carries and scored two touchdowns against the nation's No. 1 team in rushing defense, and Booty was sacked just twice by the national leader in that category as well.
USC entered with 18 sacks — fewest in the Pac-10. But freshman Everson Griffen had 31/2; and Kevin Ellison added two for the Trojans, who pressured Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield throughout the game, much to the delight of the crowd of 85,713.
Canfield completed 11 of 25 passes for 85 yards with one interception before being relieved by Lyle Moevao late in the game. The Beavers managed only 176 yards of total offense to 287 for the Trojans.
Oregon State outscored its previous eight opponents 92-6 in the first quarter, but USC led 3-0 after one period on a 47-yard field goal by David Buehler.
The Beavers tied it early in the second period on a 22-yard field goal by Alex Serna three plays after Victor Butler sacked Booty, forced a fumble and recovered at the USC 17.
That only seemed to awaken the Trojans, who quickly took command.
First, USC moved 54 yards after Ronald Johnson's 41-yard kickoff return, scoring on a 1-yard run by Washington. Booty was 5-of-5 for 53 yards on the drive.
Then, after an exchange of punts, Booty threw a 26-yard scoring pass to Washington, capping a 61-yard march.
Terrell Thomas' 25-yard interception return on Oregon State's next play from scrimmage put USC in position for a 13-yard scoring pass from Booty to Patrick Turner.
Canfield had thrown 68 passes without being picked off before Thomas came up with just the seventh interception of the season for the Trojans.
USC leaned on its defense in the second half. Oregon State moved to the Trojans 4 late in the third quarter before Brian Cushing sacked Canfield on fourth-and-2.
Buehler and Serna each missed 48-yard field goal attempts in the opening 51/2; minutes. James Rogers gained 39 yards on the Beavers' first scrimmage play for the longest run against the Trojans this season.
Rogers finished as Oregon State's rushing leader with 48 yards on three carries.