They lost to lowly Stanford, then stunk it up in State College. To those who wrote off Oregon State after its 0-2 start this season, I would echo
USC will be accused of taking Oregon State lightly. Those accusations will be false. The Trojans will tell you that they prepare for each opponent with the same focus and intensity. It doesn't matter who we're playing, they can be counted on to repeat. We prepare the same way.
I'm sure, in their minds, they do. It is the Davids in these situations -- Oregon State and UCLA two years ago; Stanford last season; the Beavers again last night -- who are transformed, who play over their heads, as if possessed, against Goliath 'SC. The guys in the orange jerseys in Reser Stadium were simply not the same overmatched Beavers who got drilled 45-14 at Penn State on Sept. 6.
Familiarity bred confidence on the part of the home team -- confidence that they could play with the No. 1 team in the nation. Plenty of these guys celebrated on this same field when the Beavers knocked off the No. 3 Trojans, 33-31, in 2006.
On the eve of that game, wideout
Thursday's hero was a 5-foot-7, 181-pound freshman playing in his fourth college game. A year after strutting his stuff for Lamar (Texas) Consolidated High,
Yet, in his postgame interview with ESPN's
The Trojans couldn't seem to get off blocks. With starting cornerback
To no one's surprise, 'SC came storming back -- just as they had in this quaint little bowl in '06. The similarities did not stop there. Starring as
1) A little gimpy. Did he ding his bad knee?
2) Rattled at critical moments. Even before his the game-sealing interception -- returned to the two-yard-line by safety
3) Left to find for himself by an offensive line that consistently struggled to protect him.
4) Left hanging out to dry by his receivers, who seemed utterly flummoxed by the Beavers matchup zone defense.
Sanchez will now quietly take his leave from any and all Heisman Watch. He hasn't encountered this kind of adversity this season. It will be interesting to see how he deals with it.
We learned last season that early-season losses need not smother the BCS title game ambitions of powerhouses. But the Trojans should pay dearly for this faceplant, which, in a strange way, was perversely predictable. A couple times a year we are treated to the sight of
Always in conference. Always against some unranked underdog for whom familiarity breeds ... confidence.