PULLMAN – The Oregon State Beavers have tugged on Superman’s cape twice in the past three years.
Saturday, they’ll have to answer for it.
See, it’s one thing to defeat USC in your home stadium. It’s another to go into the Coliseum the next year.
Of the Trojans last 47 home games, they’ve won 46. Only Stanford’s monumental upset in 2007 blemishes Pete Carroll’s Coliseum record since midway through his first year at USC.
“I try to point out to our players, there are goal posts and lines, it doesn’t change, but it does,” OSU coach Mike Riley said Tuesday about playing USC in Los Angeles. “Their place is a tremendous atmosphere with a ton of history. Then you put a very good team in there with it, which is the biggest factor, obviously.
“Those are the things, and a lot of them are mental, that you have to overcome.”
Another is the crowd. The 5 p.m. contest, televised on ABC, will be played before a sellout crowd in the Coliseum, which holds 93,607.
Three years ago Oregon State upset then third-ranked USC 33-31 in Corvallis. The next year they were dominated 24-3 in L.A.
Then last year the Beavers destroyed the Trojans’ national championship hopes with a 27-21 home win.
That will play a big part in Saturday’s game, although Carroll said he doesn’t need to remind his players of last year’s upset.
“We don’t use last year or the years before for anything,” he said. “I think it’s clear to our guys that this is the team that got us last year and all that. There’s nothing to do. That’s just the facts. I’m not going to spend any time on it and we won’t be talking about that.”
But it does help the Trojans, coming off a 34-27 win over rival Notre Dame last week, to be playing someone this week they want payback against.
“I do think they definitely have our attention,” Carroll said.
The feeling is mutual. So much so, Riley was repeating himself a little this week.
“We know it’s a big, big chore,” Riley said. “We’re going to have to play our very, very best to have an opportunity to win. As always, they are very impressive.”