No. 16 USC 46, Oregon St. 17
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ LaVale Woods, starting while USC’s first- and second-string tailbacks served the final game of NCAA suspensions, ran for a school-record 96-yard touchdown Saturday and the 16th-ranked Trojans downed stubborn Oregon State 46-17.
After leading just 13-10 early in the third quarter, heavily favored USC (2-1, 1-0 Pacific-10) reeled off 26 points before the quarter ended to overwhelm the Beavers. The loss was the 12th straight for Oregon State (0-2, 0-1) dating back to the first game of last season.
The Trojans’ defense helped provide 16 of the third-quarter points, with a fumble recovery on the Oregon State 1, a fumble recovery in the Beavers’ end zone for a touchdown, and a safety.
Woods, a burly 5-foot-7, 190-pound junior, took a pitch from quarterback Brad Otton, blew through the Beavers’ defensive front and outrun the Oregon State defensive backs on the Trojans’ second play of the game.
A drive by Oregon State on the first series of the game stalled at the USC 1. Woods carried three yards on the Trojans’ first play, then rewrote the school record for longest touchdown run, 94 yards by Dwight Ford in 1977 and equalled by Zef Lee in 1984.
Woods, freshman Chad Morton and Rodney Sermons shared the tailback duties as Delon Washington and Shawn Walters sat out again. Woods rushed 12 times for 122 yards; Morton 13 times for 143 yards, including a 73-yard scoring run; and Sermons seven times for 59 yards, including a 40-yard TD in the fourth quarter.
Scheduled to end this week are Washington’s three-game suspension for lying to Pac-10 officials during an investigation, and Walters’ ban for almost a full season for accepting money from an agent.
With the Trojans’ clinging to a three-point lead in the third quarter, Morton broke off tackle and headed for the right sideline. Once there, he cut back against the grain and headed down the left sideline on a 73-yard scoring run as USC made it 20-10.
Over the next six minutes, the Trojans’ defense took control. Prentice Hill recovered an Oregon State fumble on the Beavers 1 to set up Otton’s short scoring pass to Travis Hall, Mark Cusano recovered a fumble in the end zone for a TD, and Oregon State quarterback Tim Alexander, trapped in his end zone by the pass rush, grounded the ball to give the Trojans a safety.
The Beavers, who have lost 23 straight to USC dating back to 1967, kept the game close for the first half and into the third quarter in part by pouncing on the Trojans’ kicking game. Oregon State blocked a PAT kick, a field goal attempt and a punt.
The punt block by Jonathan Johnson gave the Beavers the ball at the USC 5 to set up Akili King’s 3-yard scoring run that pulled Oregon State to 13-10 just after halftime.
Otton, off the mark on many of his passes despite often having wide-open receivers, completed 17-of-29 for 254 yards and two scores, with one interception.
A week earlier in mop-up time during the Trojans’ 55-3 rout of Illinois, reserve quarterback Matt Koffler threw a touchdown pass to R. Jay Soward that covered 97 yards, the longest scoring pass in USC history.