Southern California 23, Oregon St. 0
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) _ John Fox threw two first-half touchdown passes and USC’s defense recorded its first shutout in two years Saturday as the Trojans beat Oregon State 23-0, their 24th consecutive win over the Beavers.
Fox, back at starting quarterback after Mike Van Raaphorst’s injury a week earlier, took the Trojans 80 yards in 10 plays on the opening drive, hitting R. Jay Soward on a 31-yard touchdown play for the only score USC would need.
The Trojans (6-4 overall, 4-3 Pac-10) have won four out of five since coach John Robinson promised to resign if his team didn’t improve.
USC, the Pac-10 leader in run defense, held the Beavers to 29 yards rushing and intercepted Tim Alexander four times in the Trojans’ first shutout since a 31-0 win over Arizona State in the fourth game of the 1995 season.
It was the first time Oregon State has been shut out since a 33-0 loss to Arizona in the fourth game of the 1993 season, 50 games ago.
The victory clinched a winning season and qualified USC for a bowl game. The Beavers haven’t beaten the Trojans since 1967.
Oregon State (3-7, 0-7) has lost 11 consecutive Pac-10 games and is assured its 27th consecutive losing season.
Beavers’ first-year coach Mike Riley, offensive coordinator at USC for four seasons before coming to Corvallis, had virtually no offense against the Trojans.
Oregon State’s only serious scoring threat came when the Beavers, with the help of two USC penalties, drove to the Trojans’ 15 early in the second quarter. But, on third-and-nine from the 18, Alexander’s screen pass was intercepted by defensive tackle Marc Matlock.
Oregon State also drove to the USC 34 in the third quarter, but the Trojans’ Marc Cusano picked off a pass that bounced off the hands of the Beavers’ Jason Dandridge.
USC also scored on its second possession when Adam Abrams kicked a 46-yard field goal, tying his career best, to make it 10-0.
Oregon State’s defense tightened until late in the second quarter, when Daylon McCutcheon, who played both tailback and cornerback in the game, intercepted Alexander’s pass at the Beavers’ 45. On the next play, Fox hit a wide-open Billy Miller over the middle, and three Oregon State defenders missed tackles as Miller ran in for the score that made it 17-0 with 4:55 to play in the half.
Abrams kicked field goals of 23 and 32 yards in the fourth quarter for the only scores of the second half.
of the second half half was Abrams’ 23-yard field goal with 12:21 to play.
Oregon State’s Byron Lane suffered a back injury on the second-half kickoff and was taken from the field in an ambulance. Later, school officials said Lane had a bruised back.