Beavers rebound but Cardinal and Ducks loom

It’s too soon to tell whether Oregon State’s victory over the
USC Trojans helped the Beavers prolong their season, but it did
help boost the team for the considerable task ahead.

Namely, No. 7 Stanford and No. 1 Oregon.

”When the players set their mind to doing something, then I
know we can be a really good football team” quarterback Ryan Katz
said.

The Beavers (5-5, 4-3 Pac-10) had a two-game losing streak going
into Saturday night’s game over the Trojans, but they focused in
for a 36-7 win and knocked USC out of the AP Top 25.

The victory helped Oregon State’s efforts for a bowl bid but
ultimately it may not be enough – unless the team can put together
the same kind of all-around effort against either the Cardinal and
the Ducks, or both.

”It should not have taken a couple of losses to get our team
going, but unfortunately it did, and we have to take it
game-by-game,” Katz said. ”We have said it all year. We are tired
of talking about it, and we need to just go out there and so
it.”

The Beavers visit Stanford this Saturday before hosting Oregon
in the annual Civil War rivalry game on Dec. 4.

Oregon State has gone to four straight bowl games, and the team
has had a postseason six of the last seven years.

This year the Beavers had a pair of tough non-conference losses
– to TCU and Boise State – to start the season. While it looked as
if the team might be experiencing one of its famous second-half
surges after a victory on the road against then-No. 9 Arizona, the
Beavers were thrown off by a difficult double-overtime loss at
Washington.

The team lost three of four games going into the victory over
USC. Along with Washington, Oregon State lost to UCLA and lowly
Washington State.

”The guys went back to work and got ready for a game,” coach
Mike Riley said. ”That’s what we asked everybody to do, to get
ready for a game. Don’t worry about what happened, what’s going to
come in the future. Don’t worry about it.”

Katz threw for 154 yards and two touchdowns against the Trojans,
while Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 128 yards and a score – after
averaging just 78 yards in losses to the Bruins and the
Cougars.

The Trojans appeared on the rise with victories against Arizona
State and at Arizona. The defeat to the Beavers was more than just
a setback, USC also lost quarterback Matt Barkley to a high ankle
sprain, which could keep him out of the team’s two season-ending
rivalry games against Notre Dame and UCLA.

Barkley, who was hit in the first half and returned for the
second to watch on crutches from the sideline, was hopeful
afterward that he could return to finish out the season.

”Thanks for the love and support everybody,” Barkley posted on
Twitter on Sunday. ”Now’s the time when we truly need to Fight On
and push through adversity. Beat the Irish!”

Barkley leads the Pac-10 with 25 touchdown passes. Senior Mitch
Mustain, a senior who transferred from Arkansas, took over for
Barkley against the Beavers.

”We won’t overreact over one game either way,” USC coach Lane
Kiffin said. ”Last week, we weren’t the greatest team with no
problems, and this week we’re not the worst team with a million
problems.”