Trojans slow Jacquizz Rodgers in first half to win rematch

2009-10-24T23:30:00Z Trojans slow Jacquizz Rodgers in first half to win rematchBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

LOS ANGELES - The rematch between Jacquizz Rodgers and Southern California turned out differently than the initial meeting.

The Oregon State football team's star sophomore running back had his breakout game against the Trojans last season and led the Beavers to an upset victory.

USC contained him just enough this time, and he temporarily limped off the field with an ankle injury. Rodgers missed the second quarter, but returned with a vengeance in the second half.

The results were predictable with the running game not at full strength as No. 4 USC went on to win 42-36 on Saturday night in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

"I'm very, very proud of our team for our fight," coach Mike Riley said. "We stayed in it and made plays. When they scored it looked like it was going to be hard to get back in it, but they kept trying. I loved that about our team."

Rodgers was the catalyst of the comeback. He was hurt at the beginning of the second quarter and was replaced by Ryan McCants and Jovan Stevenson.

He injured his right ankle, Riley said. There were previous issues this season with his left one. Rodgers went into the locker room during the game so the ankle could be retaped. He returned to the sidelines in the middle of the second quarter but waited until the third quarter to return.

"He felt better," Riley said. "I just told (running backs coach) Reggie David to keep him out if he didn't feel well, and to keep him out of the second half. He started and didn't look very good. I almost took him out. Then he looked pretty good. I think he felt alright."

Rodgers gained gained 113 yards and touchdown on 20 carries. All but 18 of those yards came in the second half. Yardage was hard to pick up in the first quarter before the injury.

"He was a little banged up, him and James (Rodgers)," quarterback Sean Canfield said. "They were warriors out there coming back and giving it all for the Beavers. They are two tremendous talents. A lot of what we do on offense is around them."

James Rodgers bruised a knee late in the game, but returned. He picked up the running load with 42 yards when his brother was hurt.

Riley kept him out briefly so Markus Wheaton could get some work at flanker and Jordan Poyer as kick returner. Poyer returned his one attempt 70 yards and set up a touchdown.

"I'm proud of (the Rodgers brother) and they competed and continued to make plays," Riley said.

McCants made his first appearance this season after offseason knee surgery. He was hurt in the final week of spring practice.

His rehab was steady, and he felt comfortable going into the game. He gained 10 yards on two carries.

Stevenson, who had been the No. 2 ball carrier this season as a true freshman, gained nine yards on one carry and nine yards on a reception.

"We knew they were going to be good and explosive," USC safety Taylor Mays of OSU's offense. "We were aware and prepared for that. They spread us out and picked away. They found weakness in our defense. They are probably the most explosive offense we have played. With Jacquizz and James, it has to be the best offense we have played."

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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