The USC Trojans were ranked fifteenth in the nation coming into this season. Now at 4-4, there are a lot of questions on what the team needs to do to even make a bowl berth. On paper, the schedule does get easier for the Trojans, as they are preparing to play the Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers cannot be taken lightly however, as they completed a huge comeback last week against the Colorado Buffaloes. The 2-6 Beavers come into their game against the Trojans with a lot more confidence than they would have had, if not for their comeback win. Much of the Beavers’ success can be attributed to quarterback Jake Luton. Last week, Luton threw for over 310 yards and three touchdowns. As much of a threat that Luton is, the Trojans will have to focus most on running back Jermar Jefferson, who has been a force all season.
On the other hand, the Trojans are not looking to be known as the fluke of the season. After starting Jack Sears in his first career game, the Trojans announced that JT Daniels has cleared concussion protocol and will start against the Beavers. This will be a huge boost for the offense, which already brings in red-hot receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
In the murky weather of Reser Stadium, the Trojans will start the game dominating on all sides of the ball and not slow down. USC will be too much for the Beavers to handle and this will be the easiest win for the Trojans since the Sam Darnold era.
Following back to back loses, It’s all about finishing the season on a high note.
USC made its changes to the offense, now it’s time to see if they’ll work. The Trojans go into Corvallis to face an Oregon State team coming off an upset win over Colorado. USC is coming off its second loss in a row against Arizona State. With their record being 4-4 and two games back in the Pac-12 South, this is where we will see what the Trojans are made of with their backs against the wall.
Oregon State currently have a 2-6 record and sit in last place in the Pac-12 North. One area that has been an issue for the Beavers is the defense. Oregon State currently ranks last in total defense, giving up close to 400 yards a game. The USC offense, who’s been struggling and just made some slight staff changes, could have a much needed field day this Saturday. Add to the fact that true freshman JT Daniels is returning from a concussion suffered against Utah. All eyes will be on USC head coach Clay Helton and running backs coach Tim Drevno. Helton assumed play calling duties from offensive coordinator Tee Martin back on Monday and appointed Drevno as the interim offensive line coach. Will they help improve the two areas that struggled the most in play calling/play selection and offensive line play?
Games at Reser Stadium are usually a nightmare for the Trojans, however this week against Oregon State I don’t see another let down for the Trojans. Expect USC to come out angry and wanting to prove a point moving forward. Too much talent for the Beavers to overcome.
USC- 45 Oregon State 14
It seems like every match-up is now a must win game for the USC Trojans. This week they are facing an Oregon State Beavers team that has a ton of momentum after a historic comeback win over the Colorado Buffaloes.
With Clay Helton now calling plays, I have faith that this Trojan offense will be less predictable and more explosive than it has been. Jt Daniels is back and ready to go but will he need to shake some rust off? I don’t think so. I predict that the sit last week will have done in some good in analyzing situations, and he will shine in his best came of the season. Three touchdowns, 300 plus yards, and no interceptions is my prediction for the freshman quarterback.
As for the Trojan run game, will running backs coach Tim Drevno taking over the offensive line have done some good? There is nowhere to go but up. Aca’Cedric Ware and Vavae Malepeai record a touchdown each, with Ware rising just above 100 yards.
The OSU defense is nothing to be scared about but their offense has some weapons. Quarterback Jake Luton proved last week he was the Beavers’ guy when he mounted the comeback against the Buffaloes. OSU also has a dangerous running back in Jermar Jefferson who has 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season. Will USC be able to dial up a rush defense that stops Jefferson in his tracks? I think so.
With captain Cameron Smith back leading the defense, I predict the Trojans will fall into place after allowing Jefferson a chunk of yards in the first half. I predict Jefferson will max out at 60 yards and no touchdowns.
Despite injuries and its performance so far this season, there is no reason why USC should not be able to win this game if both the coaches and players execute efficiently. Michael Pittman Jr. will shine once again and this will be the game where both sides of the ball play a complete game.
USC 31 OSU 17
Even though Oregon State is coming off a huge second-half comeback victory on the road against Colorado last week, this is the perfect spot for USC to take advantage of.
Sure, the Beavers just picked up arguably their most impressive and emotional win of the season against the Buffaloes, who by the way the Trojans defeated with ease a couple weeks ago, but ultimately this is a team that is nowhere near the level of USC.
The biggest cause for concern for the Trojans will be limiting Oregon State’s offense. The Beavers’ offense is averaging 29.6 points per game. On the other side of the ball though, Oregon State is giving up 45.6 points per game.
The Beavers are led by fifth-year senior quarterback Jake Luton, who is as we know fresh off arguably his biggest college victory. However, Luton didn’t even start the game against Colorado and coach Jonathan Smith opted to have the former Ventura Community College product go out there and hope he could give the Beavers a spark.
It worked out for the Beavers but with a guy like Luton and a team like Oregon State, an improbable run like last week’s can only go so far. There’s a reason why the team is 2-6 overall.
With linebacker Cameron Smith returning it should help fortify a Trojans defense that is reeling as of falling. And don’t forget, the Trojans also put together a solid comeback attempt after falling behind early against Arizona State.
I don’t trust USC covering a two-touchdown spread but I can’t see the Trojans losing to an Oregon State team that simply is not very good.
Prediction: USC 31, Oregon State 21
Despite Oregon State being 2-6 and being considered one of the worst Power-5 teams, they are coming off a stunning come from behind upset over Colorado, trailing by as many as 28 in the second half. A repeat performance is unlikely, especially against a USC team that dominated Colorado, but USC has a history of losing in Corvallis, so anything can happen.
While Oregon State should have no chance of stopping JT Daniels and USC's wide receiving core, their offense has been solid all season, scoring over 30 points five times this season. Against a depleted USC defense, this game should be a high scoring game that ends closer than it should.