Inside the locker room: Best win of season

November, 2, 2013
11/02/13
8:30
AM PT
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from Reser Stadium after the Trojans (6-3, 3-2 Pac-12 South) defeated Oregon State (6-3, 4-2 Pac-12 North) 31-14.

USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron comments

Happy coach: “I’m really happy for our football family. I’m really happy for our young men. I thought it was an outstanding effort, the way our coaches prepared our guys. It was a great job of coming to a hostile environment and really not letting it affect us as much as it has done in the past. There was a belief in the locker room before the game, at halftime and during the game.”

Teachable moment: “We threw the interception for a touchdown but came back and scored. There was like a sense of tightening the strings a little bit, but our guys fought, came back, and I thought that was a very good learning moment for our team.”

[+] EnlargeOrgeron
AP Photo/Don RyanEd Orgeron is 3-1 as USC's head coach since taking over for Lane Kiffin.
Best win of the season: “It seemed like it; it seemed like it right now. We work very hard to play better on the road than we did the last outing and fix some of the mistakes that we made. So there was some improvement.”

Shutting down the Oregon State offense: “I thought it was an outstanding job by [defensive coordinator] Clancy Pendergast. That was a very good offense – a very good offense.”

Containing Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion: “I thought we did an overall great game plan of creating an atmosphere that they are not going to throw the ball deep on us. We knew if they didn’t throw the ball deep on us, we had a chance.”

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley’s comments

On losing to the Trojans: “It was a disappointing loss for sure; it will be hard to stomach this one for a while. They played a good game and we really didn’t. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot. We did some things that were kind of uncharacteristic of how we have been playing.”

Missed opportunities: “Some of the things that we thought were crucial in winning this game, protection on offense, tackling, and big plays on defense, we failed in. Those were probably the big difference-makers in the game.”

More notes and anecdotes

Key(s) to victory: Trojans tailback Javorius “Buck” Allen scored three touchdowns (from 9, 18 and 57 yards), rushed for 133 yards and had and 41 receiving yards.

The Great Northwest: Temperature in Corvallis at kickoff was 55 degrees.

The offensive scoring average: The Trojans scored 31 points against Oregon State. The Trojans raised their average to 25.3 points per game.

Giving confidence: Afterward, Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler was appreciative of his teammates after a 41-yard touchdown interception return by Oregon State safety Ryan Murphy. “All the guys came up to me and said don’t worry about it. George Uko came up and told me not to worry. They made a great play on the interception. I didn’t see the orange jersey. It was my fault, but we bounced back,” Kessler said.

The defensive scoring average: The Trojans defense allowed 14 points to Oregon State, lowering their average points yielded per game to 18.7.

Kennard comments: “This was a big win for us. Our defense put pressure on them and we stopped the run. We feel now the sky is the limit for both our coaches and the team,” defensive end Devon Kennard said.

Sacking out: Kennard’s two first-half sacks were his team-best sixth and seventh of the season.

Offense better: The Trojans had 489 total yards on offense, raising their average yards per game to 391.9.

Getting offensive: “This week we wanted to improve our run game and be physical. I loved seeing Buck [Allen] score three touchdowns. We had to be physical. You just have to push the run game. Like Coach Helton says, ‘Run the ball down their throats and throw it over their heads,’ ” USC center Marcus Martin said.

Defensively speaking: The Cardinal and Gold allowed 369 total yards, and average giving up 323.6 yards per game.

Neon Dion: USC safety Dion Bailey believed the key to the game was stopping the Oregon State passing game, especially standout wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Bailey said, “We took Cooks out of the game. Coach Pendergast drew up a really great plan. I don’t want to say what it was, but it was a great game plan.”

[+] EnlargeRedd
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsBuck Allen is getting the headlines, but Silas Redd was actually USC's leading rusher at Oregon State.
Rush to dominance: Against the Beavers, the Trojans rushed for 242 yards, raising their average to 178.1 yards per game.

The Buck doesn’t stop here: On his critical 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, Allen said, “I saw a DB coming up and I figured I had to make a move. I used my instincts and trusted them. They were right; the move worked.”

Defending the rush: The Trojans allowed 92 yards rushing Friday and are giving up 104.4 yards per game this season.

A different culture: Given the Trojans' new lease on life after the Lane Kiffin dismissal, linebacker Hayes Pullard said, “We just have a different vibe now. Our coaching staff is taking care of business. We rose to the occasion thanks to the coaches, and they made sure we didn’t get our head down when they had the pick six.”

Passing by: Against the Beavers, the Trojans passed for 247 yards, raising their average to 213.8 yards per game.

Marqise is back: All-America wide receiver Marqise Lee returned with five catches for 105 yards, including a 71-yard scoring reception early in the first quarter.

In the air: The Trojans allowed 277 passing yards and average giving up 219.1 yards per game.

Stopping Sean: The Trojans held Mannion to 277 yards passing and also recorded three interceptions.

Stopping Sean 2: Said Trojans standout defensive tackle Leonard Williams, “As a defense going into the game, we wanted to put as much pressure on him. He’s a pocket passer and we wanted to get him off the spot.”

Getting better: Before the Oregon State game, the Trojans were averaging 58.9 penalty yards per game. Against the Beavers, the Trojans were penalized nine times for 68 yards.

Silas of the Redd: Overlooked by Buck Allen’s rushing performance, senior tailback Silas Redd led the Trojans in rushing with 140 yards on 22 carries. “It was fun. It’s fun to be out there playing with these guys. We really feed off the defense when they’re on the sideline, and in the midst of the game you could hear them cheering us on. There is just such passion involved out there, and that makes it ten times better,” Redd said.

Top tacklers: Cornerback Josh Shaw led the Trojans with eight tackles, followed by Pullard with seven tackles.

The infirmary: No major injuries were reported. Tailback Tre Madden was held out because of a hamstring issue.

Scouting the talent: NFL scouts in attendance included the Raiders, Panthers, Buccaneers and Bears. The CFL's B.C. Lions were also represented.

Next Saturday: The Trojans travel to California for a Pac-12 game on Saturday, Nov. 9. Kickoff time is at noon PT.

Greg Katz | email

Columnist, WeAreSC.com

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