LOS ANGELES — Most football fans are going to take one look at the final score of Oregon State’s 38-10 Pac-12 loss at USC and assume the Beavers could not do much on either side of the football.
Yes, the score is one-sided. But the Beavers (1-5, 0-3) showed some ability to compete with a team such as the then-No. 14 Trojans (5-1, 3-1), which should be good news moving forward.
It was almost as if the Beavers found ways to implode once they got a break or a good drive going against the Trojans.
Thanks to USC fumbles, the Beavers moved to the Trojans’ 28 and 18 before missing field goals.
Short-lived drives plagued OSU against Washington the previous week and it struggled to keep anything moving in the first half in Los Angeles. The Beavers had two three-and-outs and four drives of four plays in the first half.
But the Beavers did convert a field goal after an eight-play, 38-yard drive in the first and had a 14-play, 68-yard drive in the second fizzle out on downs.
OSU was also more effective in the second half, particularly in the pass game.
“The kids battled and played hard but obviously we didn’t play good enough to make it a close game,” coach Gary Andersen said.
The defense, which had a strong effort against the Huskies in the first half, was up and down against the Trojans.
USC piled up 512 total yards, but it was the ability to extend key drives against the Beavers that did the most damage.
The Trojans had touchdown drives of 78, 32, 77, 91 and 68 yards. With the exception of the three-play, 32-yard scoring drive in the first after an OSU turnover, the Beavers held USC to a field goal on drives under 59 yards.
OSU recovered two fumbles and intercepted a pass.
OSU cornerback Kyle White said USC was nothing special.
“As a defense we should’ve come out and executed as we tried to,” White said. “We need to get better and better. We work hard each week, getting better every day. Offensively, they have things they have to correct, we have things we have to correct.
“I think we shot ourselves in the foot defensively and offensively. Their TDs were plays that were little mistakes by us and things we need to correct, myself included. I felt like their offense was exactly what we thought it would be and we were ready and we prepared all week. We have to go back to square one and work hard to fix our mistakes.”
Yes, the Beavers had blown opportunities. Yes, they had some big penalties and some defensive breakdowns.
But maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all.
“I told them (after the game) they’re in a position to still do some things,” Andersen said. “We’ve gone through the gauntlet, no doubt. We’ll talk more when we go back Monday and I can look them in the eye. I told them we have to keep fighting and battling.”