Trojans bucked from unbeatens
Loss to Beavers leaves BCS race wide open
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Until Oregon State's fans descended onto the field in droves, third-ranked Southern Cal believed it was headed for another victory.
But the Trojans couldn't find a way to win this close game.
Oregon State capitalized on four turnovers to upset the Trojans, 33-31, yesterday, snapping USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and breaking the national championship race wide open.
USC (6-1, 4-1) also had won 18 straight road games. But the mighty Trojans had shown cracks in their last three games, each a victory by 7 points or fewer.
Against the Beavers, they couldn't escape, falling behind early and coming up one play short in the end. John David Booty's 2-yard touchdown pass to Steve Smith with seven seconds left made the score 33-31, but Oregon State's Jeff Van Orsow batted down another pass by Booty on the 2-point conversion to preserve the lead.
"I loved the comeback, but we aren't patting ourselves on the back," coach Pete Carroll said. "We thought we were going to win all the way until we didn't."
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 today. That valuable spot behind the Big Ten powers, previously held by USC, is now up for grabs.
Carroll insisted the Trojans should not be counted out yet.
"You never know. To think that would be a mistake," he said. "It just gets harder. It depends on how we'll finish so we'll see what happens."
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 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 and it wasn't enough.
USC hadn't lost a regular season or Pac-10 game since falling, 34-31, to California in three overtimes Sept. 27, 2003. The Trojans had won 38 consecutive regular-season games since.
"We've got guys who know how to win," Booty said. "We've won a lot of games. We've won up until now. I don't think anyone's worried or down or anything."
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.
Beavers fans lingered well after the game, some sitting on the field, not willing to leave after one of the biggest upsets in Oregon State history.
Coach Mike Riley shouted to boosters: "How 'bout those Beavers!" wearing one of the broadest smiles he's ever shown in Corvallis.