Jacquizz Rodgers looking forward to another game with USC

2009-10-20T06:45:00Z Jacquizz Rodgers looking forward to another game with USCBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

Images of Jacquizz Rodgers slicing through the all-mighty Southern California defense were shown over and over on national television.

What the Oregon State football team did to top-ranked USC last season was so stunning that it was the biggest sports story in college football for a week.

As the Beavers made a run for the Rose Bowl late in the season, ESPN specials were made of them. However, it was USC that brought recognition to the program.

The build up to Saturday's game will focus around last year's contest and Rodgers as the Beavers face the No. 4-ranked Trojans in a Pacific-10 Conference road game.

"These are the types of games you look forward to, a big game like that," Rodgers said. "That's how you get known. I'm looking to step up to that challenge again."

Rodgers burst on the national scene in the 27-21 victory over USC. He ran for 186 yards and two touchdowns on 37 carries.

Early in the game he was hit so hard running backs coach Reggie Davis asked Rodgers if he was OK, and Rodgers just smiled and told him this is what he lives for.

And Rodgers went on to make history.

"That was an amazing thing," center Alex Linnenkohl said. "It was fun and unbelievable. We were performing and were prepared. Quizz was doing amazing things, and making us look good."

OSU ran a basic zone running play over and over. The linemen found someone to block and Rodgers looked for the hole.

The Trojans were so fast they overran Rodgers. His ability to cut back against pressure dumfounded them.

Rodgers' performance on prime time national television, and continued success, allowed him to earn the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award, even missing nearly two regular season games due to injury.

"I knew Quizz was a good running back, and the scheme was good," Linnenkohl said. "It was just the fact that everybody was doing their job and Quizz doing well. Everything went our way."

Last year's game remains a found memory for Rodgers, but he's more interested in Saturday's game.

If he can play well again the Beavers have a chance.

"I don't live in the past," Rodgers said. "This is a new year. I'm looking forward. We know they are going to come out hard because we have beaten them."

Still, history is there to learn from.

The David vs. Goliath analogy has frequently been used when the Beavers face the Trojans, but never more was it so fitting.

USC had a defensive line of future NFL players, and a supporting cast that was just as good. Rodgers was a 5-foot-7 true freshman.

Pictures and video clips showed USC safety Taylor Mays standing 6-3 looking down on Rodgers trying to verbally and physically intimidate him. That turned out to be the wrong thing to do.

"If you look at Quizz, his head is always going," Linnenkohl said. "It's just one word after another. He is not going to be intimidated. If you are close enough to him for him to say something, he will be. It's pretty funny. It's pretty good- spirited."

Getting in Rodgers' face inspires him. That was a way of life playing football in Texas.

"Me, I like talking," Rodgers said. "That's how I get going. I'm going to come out there and fight hard when I do it. Coming from Texas, that is how we play football. You talk mess the whole game. It's friendly mess talk, nothing bad."

It's just whatever pops out of his mouth in the heat of battle.

An example would be when someone tackles him and thinks they put a good hit on him, Rodgers responds with a friendly, "you better come back harder next time."

That would be Saturday evening for the Trojans.

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