Oregon State pushed No. 7 USC to the brink of an upset on Saturday night before the Trojans survived for a 17-14 victory thanks to a late touchdown from a largely ineffective offense. After connecting just twice for 21 yards over the span of 58 minutes, quarterback Caleb Williams found Jordan Addison for a 21-yard score down the right sideline with 1:13 remaining. The Trojans defense, which came up huge all night, then produced a game-clinching interception — the fourth of the evening — as Max Williams picked off Chance Nolan with 35 seconds remaining.
The touchdown connection between Williams and Addison was a rare moment of brilliance in an otherwise frustrating night for the Trojans offense. Williams finished just 16 of 36 passing for 180 yards and was held without a touchdown until his go-ahead toss to Addison, who finished with just 42 yards on receiving on three receptions.
USC started the night with a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and a punt before finally getting on the scoreboard with a 42-yarder from Denis Lynch with 5:38 left in the first half. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Trojans finally found the end zone, when Travis Dye surged in from 7 yards out to make it 10-7 with 14:18 remaining.
The Trojans averaged 50.7 points per game in their first three wins against Rice, Stanford and Fresno State; Oregon State similarly entered averaging 45.7 points. Defense won the day, however, as USC’s four turnovers gives the Trojans an astonishing 14-0 turnover edge on its opponents so far this season.
Jam Griffin scored from 18 yards out with 4:41 remaining to give the Beavers a 14-10 lead. Then, with its back against the wall, the Trojans delivered their response to improve to 4-0 in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season.