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Saturday, October 28, 2006

USC Gets Upset By Some Beavers

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Turns out No. 3 Southern California was vulnerable.

Oregon State capitalized on four turnovers to upset the Trojans 33-31 on Saturday, snapping USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and breaking the national championship race wide open.

Starting from scratch


USC lost more than just a game Saturday. After the Trojans' 33-31 loss to Oregon State, gone are the stranglehold on the Pac-10 as well as USC's clear path to the BCS title game. Among the impressive streaks that came to an end in Corvallis were:

• 38 regular-season wins for USC;
• 27 straight Pac-10 wins;
• 18 straight road wins;
• 18 straight wins in October;
• 13 straight Pac-10 road wins


One positive for the men of Troy: By scoring 31 points, USC has now scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 59 straight games. While that's likely little consolation to Pete Carroll's crew, we felt it was worth noting.


USC (6-1, 4-1) had also won 18 straight road games. But the mighty Trojans had shown cracks in their last three games, each a victory by seven points or less.

Against the Beavers, they couldn't escape and came up one play short.

John David Booty's 2-yard scoring pass to Steve Smith with 7 seconds left made the score 33-31. But Oregon State's Jeff Van Orsow batted down a pass on the 2-point conversion to preserve the lead.

USC started the day as was one of seven unbeaten teams in the country. Now there are six.

Ohio State and Michigan won their games and will hold on to the top two spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings when they come out Sunday. That valuable spot behind the Big Ten powers, previously held by USC, is now up for grabs. All those teams with one loss are feeling a lot better about their chances to play for a national title. And Thursday's Big East battle of unbeatens between West Virginia and Louisville just got a little bigger.

Oregon State fans celebrated wildly in the second half when Matt Moore hit Joe Newton with a 9-yard scoring pass and Sammie Stroughter ran a punt back 70 yards for a touchdown to give the Beavers (4-4, 3-2) a 30-10 lead.

USC, which was coming off an off week that allowed All-American Dwayne Jarrett and fellow receiver Smith to heal injuries, came back with Booty's 4-yard scoring pass to Fred Davis to close out the third quarter.

Booty then found Smith in the end zone and Chauncey Washington ran in the 2-point conversion to narrow it to 33-25 with 12:09 left in the fourth.

After Alexis Serna's 47-yard field goal attempt went wide left, USC got one more shot.

Booty completed 24 of 39 passes for 406 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. Smith caught 11 passes for 258 yards.

Moore completed 21 of 32 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown, while Stroughter caught eight passes for 127 yards.

Turnovers helped the Beavers take control in the first half.

Moore's 22-yard completion Stroughter on Oregon State's first drive set up the quarterback's 1-yard score for a 7-0 lead.

On USC's first possession, Booty's pass intended for Jarrett in the end zone bounced into the arms of Oregon State free safety Bryan Payton, who returned it to the USC 48.

Oregon State didn't get any points out of the drive, but it ended up as a sign of things to come.

Washington ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:47 left in the first half to even it at 7 for USC before Serna kicked a 47-yard field goal to put the Beavers back out front.

Oregon State mounted another big drive after Booty fumbled on USC's 26 and the Beavers recovered. The match netted Serna's 31-yard field goal.

Another USC fumble led to a 53-yard field goal for Serna, last season's Lou Groza award winner for the nation's best kicker.

Mario Danelo kicked a 29-yard field goal for USC to narrow it to 16-10 at halftime.

Then Oregon State scored 17 straight, making it 33-10 on Serna's 20-yard field goal.

The Beavers were without tailback Yvenson Bernard, who sprained his right ankle in Oregon State's 17-10 victory over Arizona last weekend.

Clinton Polk took his place and 22 carries for 100 yards.

The last time the Trojans visited Corvallis, it was 2004 and so foggy that it was difficult to see Reggie Bush's wily 65-yard punt return. The Trojans emerged with a 28-20 victory.

Oregon State last defeated the Trojans in 2000. Probably the Beavers' most notable victory over USC came in 1967, when the so-called Giant Killers downed the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0 on a muddy field in Corvallis.

Thirty-nine years later, the Beavers pulled off another stunner.

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