The trap was laid, just like it had been many times before. Another USC football team with title potential driving toward destiny, only to take a dangerous detour through the Willamette Valley to Oregon State, where nothing ever seems to go as planned for the Trojans.
It’d been a decade since their last defeat here, but the specter of those ill-fated trips still loomed, years of bad voodoo coursing through these half-finished bleachers. The four terrible turnovers in 2006. The Jacquizz Rodgers game in 2008. Both losses stunningly slammed the door on the Trojans’ national title hopes, leaving USC haunted about what might have been.
Those devastating disappointments seemed a fitting prelude as No. 7 USC entered Saturday’s final Pac-12 trip to Corvallis with similar, sky-high hype, soaring up the polls and into the playoff conversation, only to run headlong into a brick wall against the Beavers.
USC Sports USC’s defense forced four turnovers, helping the Trojans a bumpy night for the offense and grind out a 17-14 road win over Oregon State Saturday.
Somehow, some way, the Trojans managed to emerge unscathed, escaping with a 17-14 victory and exorcising their demons while keeping their undefeated start intact.
Before its final, last-ditch drive, nothing seemed to be working for USC. An offense that appeared unstoppable through three games suddenly couldn’t move the ball. And quarterback Caleb Williams, after a stellar start to the season, was coming apart at the seams.