Three and out: Beavers stun USC; BCS race wide open

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -- Until Oregon State's fans descended onto

the field in droves, the third-ranked USC Trojans believed they

were headed for another victory.

Southern California couldn't find a way to win this close game.

Starting from scratch

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USC lost more than just a game Saturday. After the Trojans' 33-31 loss to Oregon State, gone are the stranglehold on the Pac-10 as well as USC's clear path to the BCS title game. Among the impressive streaks that came to an end in Corvallis were:

• 38 regular-season wins for USC;

• 27 straight Pac-10 wins;

• 18 straight road wins;

• 18 straight wins in October;

• 13 straight Pac-10 road wins

One positive for the men of Troy: By scoring 31 points, USC has now scored at least 20 points in an NCAA-record 59 straight games. While that's likely little consolation to Pete Carroll's crew, we felt it was worth noting.

Oregon State capitalized on four turnovers to upset the Trojans

33-31 on Saturday, snapping USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and

breaking the national championship race wide open.

USC (6-1, 4-1) had also won 18 straight road games. But the

mighty Trojans had shown cracks in their last three games, each a

victory by seven points or less.

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 TD pass to Steve Smith with 7 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 Sunday. That valuable spot behind the Big Ten powers,

previously held by USC, is now up for grabs. All those teams with

one loss are feeling a lot better about their chances to play for a

national title. And Thursday's Big East battle of unbeatens between

West Virginia and Louisville just got a little bigger.

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, which was coming off an open week that allowed All-American

Dwayne Jarrett and fellow receiver Smith to heal injuries, 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 on Sept. 27, 2003. The

Trojans had won 38 consecutive regular-season games since, but most

of those were with Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and LenDale White in

the backfield.

"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


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


Moore, who was booed at Reser stadium by Beavers fans during a

loss to Washington State three weeks ago, was cheered this time


"I'm so stoked right now, I can't explain it," he said.

Turnovers helped the Beavers take control.

Moore's 22-yard completion Stroughter on Oregon State's first

drive set up the quarterback's 1-yard score for a 7-0 lead.

On USC's first possession, Booty's pass intended for Jarrett in

the end zone bounced into the arms of Oregon State free safety

Bryan Payton, who returned it to the USC 48.

Oregon State didn't get any points out of the drive, but it

ended up as a sign of things to come.

Washington ran for a 2-yard touchdown with 10:47 left in the

first half to even it at 7 for USC.

Serna kicked three more field goals, two after USC turnovers, in

the first half, including a 53-yarder.

Mario Danelo kicked a 29-yard field goal for USC to make it to

16-10 at halftime.

Then Oregon State scored 17 straight, making it 33-10 on Serna's


"We're not a bad team" USC defensive end Lawrence Jackson

said. "We've lost in the past. Unfortunately, we didn't get out of

this one with a win."

The Beavers were without tailback Yvenson Bernard, who sprained

his right ankle in Oregon State's 17-10 victory over Arizona last

weekend. Clinton Polk took his place and had 22 carries for 100


The last time the Trojans visited Corvallis, it was 2004 and so

foggy that it was difficult to see Reggie Bush's wily 65-yard punt

return. The Trojans emerged with a 28-20 victory.

Oregon State last defeated the Trojans in 2000. Probably the

Beavers' most notable victory over USC came in 1967, when the

so-called Giant Killers downed the O.J. Simpson-led Trojans 3-0 on

a muddy field in Corvallis.

Thirty-nine years later, the Beavers pulled off another stunner.

It was the highest-ranked opponent the Beavers had defeated since

their win in 1967, when the Trojans were No. 1.

"I think we were ready for them. I don't think we were in awe

of them, but obviously we respected them. They are a very good

team," Newton said. "They had, who knows how many Pac-10 wins? We

definitely respected them, but we knew we could play with them."