USC football: Trojans 42, Oregon State 36 (final)
USC found out Oregon State can be tough away from its home field in Corvallis, too.
The No. 4-ranked Trojans, who lost their last two games at the Beavers' home stadium, barely held on tonight at the Coliseum, winning 42-36 to keep alive their hopes for a Pacific 10 Conference championship.
Oregon State pulled to within a touchdown with 5 minutes 41 seconds remaining in the game, but the Trojans were able to run out the clock, marching from their own 27-yard line to the Beavers' 35 on five running plays and three passes.
USC freshman Matt Barkley was trusted to throw in the final minutes, even after he threw a pass that was intercepted to set up Oregon State's final touchdown.
And he was three for three after the pick, completing an eight-yard throw to Ronald Johnson and passes of eight and seven yards to Damian Williams on the final drive.
Barkley completed 15 of 25 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. Oregon State's Sean Canfield completed 30 of 43 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
Oregon State outgained USC, 482-429. USC's Allen Bradford led all rushers with 147 yards and two touchdowns in 15 carries. The Beavers' Jacquizz Rodgers carried 20 times for 113 yards and one touchdown.
USC 42, Oregon State 36 (5:41 remaining in the game)
Matt Barkley hasn't made many freshman mistakes, but he made one with a bad throw midway through the fourth quarter and Oregon State took full advantage.
Lance Mitchell intercepted the pass at the Oregon State 19, returned it seven yards to the 26, and the Beavers' high-powered offense took over from there.
Jacquizz Rodgers scored on a one-yard run on the 10th play after the turnover -- Barkley's second interception of the game.
Rodgers has rushed for 113 yards in 20 carries. Barkley has completed 12 of 22 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns.
USC 42, Oregon State 29 (12:07 remaining in the game)
All the many happy returns are not for USC.
Not long after Damian Williams' long punt return gave USC some breathing room, Jordan Poyer was taking the ball back in the other direction for Oregon State.
Seventy yards to be exact, on the kickoff after Williams' touchdown.
Poyer brought the ball back to USC's 26 yard-line. Then the Rodgers brothers took over.
Jacquizz Rodgers ran for nine yards, then eight, then two. Then James Rodgers hauled in a seven-yard scoring pass from Sean Canfield, securing the ball just before USC safety Taylor Mays ripped his helmet off. (Incredibly, there was no call by any official.)
Oregon State failed on a two-point conversion try when a pass fell incomplete.
Canfield, a left-hander, has completed 27 of 39 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
USC 42, Oregon State 23 (14:05 remaining in game)
Damian Williams was mad at himself earlier in the game when he couldn't stay in bounds after catching a Matt Barkley pass near the goal line.
He probably feels better now.
Williams took back a punt 63 yards for a touchdown on the second play of the fourth quarter.
The senior caught the ball at theU USC 37, broke left toward the middle of the field, then cut back to his right, picked up some nice blocking and sprinted down the sideline. It was his second punt return for a touchdown this season.
USC 35, Oregon State 23 (end of third quarter)
It's turning into a shootout.
After Oregon State pulled to within five points, Matt Barkley got the Trojans moving with a 16-yard pass to Damian Williams. On second and seven from the Beavers' 40, Barkley connected with receiver Ronald Johnson for 38 yards and Allen Bradford then scored on a two-yard run to make the score 28-16 with 6:34 left in the quarter.
The Beavers came right back, Jacquizz Rodgers starting the drive with a 32-yard run. Rodgers also had a 13-yard gain during a drive that culminated with Sean Canfield's 15-yard touchdown pass to receiver Damola Adeniji to make the score 28-23.
USC answered with Bradford's 43-yard touchdown run to make it 35-23.USC 21, Oregon State 16 (third quarter)
Remember those second-half penalties that helped Notre Dame get back into the game last week?
A 15-yard penalty for interfering with a punt catch helped Oregon State start at drive at its 39-yard line. Sean Canfield completions of 15 yards to receiver Casey Kjos and a 35 yards to tight end Joe Halahuni helped the Beavers move downfield.
A pass interference call against USC linebacker Malcolm Smith gave Oregon State a first and goal at the six, and Canfield brought the Beavers to within less than a touchdown with a six-yard touchdown pass to running back Jacquizz Rodgers.
USC 21, Oregon State 9 (halftime)
Matt Barkley passed for two touchdowns and ran for another while USC's bend-but-don't-break defense gave up three field goals.
Barkley has completed seven of 14 passes for 96 yards with an interception.
Joe McKnight has rushed for 50 yards in eight carries and Allen Bradford has run for 44 yards in four carries.
Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield is 19 of 28 for 183 yards.
Running back Jacquizz Rodgers gained 18 yards in seven carries before suffering an ankle injury. James Rodgers, his older brother, has caught five passes for 40 yards and has gained 34 yards in three carries.
Justin Kahut has kicked field goals of 48, 48 and 33 yards.
USC 21, Oregon State 6
The Trojans extended their lead on a one-yard sneak by Matt Barkley with 2:15 left in the half after two lucky breaks.
First, Oregon State kicker Justin Kahut, who had already kicked two 48-yard field goals, missed a 22-yard attempt.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, linebacker David Pa'aluhi intercepted a Barkley pass that tipped off the hands of tight end Anthony McCoy. But the play was nullified because linebacker Keaton Kristick was called for a late hit on Barkley.
Barkley moved the Trojans down the field with consecutive completions to Ronald Johnson and McCoy. Barkley tried to run the ball in from the six but was stopped a yard short. He finished the drive with his sneak into the end zone.
USC 14, Oregon 6
Receiver Ronald Johnson struggled in his return to the lineup last week against Notre Dame, but he looks like he's back to full speed today.
The junior receiver, who suffered a broken collarbone during training camp, just made a diving catch to complete a 22-yard touchdown pass play from Matt Barkley (pictured above earlier this season).
The play completed a nine-play, 82-yard drive.
USC 7, Oregon State 6 (end of first quarter)
Oregon State did not appear fazed by USC's touchdown.
Justin Kahut kicked 48-yard field goals on consecutive possessions to make it a one-point game.
Quarterback Sean Canfield's 30-yard pass to receiver Damola Adeniji was the key play during a nine-play, 37-yard drive that culminated with Kahut's first field goal.
On the ensuing possession, cornerback James Dockery intercepted Matt Barkley's first-down pass, giving the Beavers the ball at USC's 48.
Canfield completed three of four passes before the drive stalled at the 30 and Kahut kicked his second field goal.
Barkley is two of five for 28 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Canfield is nine of 12 for 78 yards. Joe McKnight has gained 41 yards in six carries for USC while the Trojans have contained Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, who has 18 yards rushing in seven carries.
USC 7, Oregon State 0
After causing four fumbles but recovering none of them last week against Notre Dame, the Trojans did extra work in practice recovering fumbles.
It paid off early in the first quarter when cornerback Josh Pinkard stripped the ball from receiver James Rodgers on a running play and Everson Griffen recovered the ball for the Trojans.
Three plays later, Matt Barkley passed eight yards to tight end Anthony McCoy for the early lead.
The lost fumble was the Beavers' first this season.
-- Gary Klein
Photo credit: Stephen Dunn / Getty Images