Rodgers brothers lead charge against USC
The James and Jacquizz Show is a post-game fixture for Oregon State.
Older brother James Rodgers takes the lead while Jacquizz provides the comic relief when the two face reporters — together. It's like the Abbott and Costello of college football.
And together on the field, they account for nearly all of Oregon State's offense.
Take one Rodgers brother, and you get the other — which seems to be the quandary the Beavers have posed their opponents this season.
"The Rodgers brothers are ridiculous. They're both terrific football players," said USC coach Pete Carroll.
The fourth-ranked Trojans (5-1, 2-1 Pacific-10) host Oregon State (4-2, 2-1) on Saturday.
Last season, Jacquizz caused considerable problems for then-No. 1 Southern California.
Quizz, as he is known, ran for 186 yards and the Beavers won 27-21 in Corvallis. It was the first time Oregon State had knocked off a No. 1 team since the storied Giant Killers beat O.J. Simpson and the Trojans 3-0 in Corvallis in 1967.
Oregon State built a 21-point first-half lead before capitalizing on a late turnover. Orange-clad Beavers fans rushed the field when the clock ran out after the 25-point underdogs shook up college football against a USC team that was expected to roll right through its conference straight to the national championship game.
Rodgers' rushing yards were the most by a Trojan opponent since Vince Young of Texas ran for 200 in the BCS national championship game in 2006.
Quizz went on to be named the Pac-10 offensive player of the year as a freshman, even though he was injured and missed the last two games.
In the background, James was drawing attention, too. Oregon State had success with the older Rodgers, a flanker, running the fly sweep.
Although the Beavers got off to their rather typical slow start this season, they have a three-game winning streak and are coming off a bye heading into the game in Los Angeles.
The Rodgers brothers have scored 17 of Oregon State's 21 touchdowns.
James ranks atop the Pac-10 with 180.2 all-purpose yards, while Quizz is third with 161 yards.
Quizz has 13 rushing touchdowns, ranking him second in the nation behind Navy's Ricky Dobbs, who has 17.
Last season Quizz caused USC problems for a couple of reasons. First, he was a freshman and the Trojans hadn't faced him before.
He's also just 5-foot-7, and Carroll lamented at the time that Quizz was able to hide behind offensive lines and pop through holes unexpectedly.
Despite the mounting film on his tendencies, Quizz is still giving defenses fits. In Oregon's State's last game, a 38-28 victory over Stanford, he ran for a career-high 189 yards and four touchdowns. He racked up 271 all-purpose yards.
"You know, I don't think there's any magic to it," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "He's a good player, a good runner, and when we can get some good blocks for him, he's got a good chance to score."
The Rodgers brothers will have their work cut out for them this weekend at Memorial Coliseum. The Trojans have an 11-game winning streak at home. They've won 46 of their last 47 games there.
The Beavers haven't won at USC since 1960.
Then there is the matter of Southern California's defense, which has allowed opponents just 260 yards of offense per game this season to rank ninth in the nation. The Trojans have only allowed 67.7 yards rushing per game this season to rank fourth nationally.
Additionally, USC has allowed an average of only 11.7 points per game this season.
"We've got to be very disciplined at the line of scrimmage to take care of Jacquizz Rodgers running it," Carroll said. "He's the style of runner that really demands it of your defense. You give him a crack, he can take it. If you make a mistake he's going to take advantage of it."
Given last season's upset, Quizz is undaunted. But he's also aware that this time, the Beavers have lost that element of surprise.
"It shows us that USC can be beaten," he said. "We can't live off of what we did last year though."