Most of Oregon State’s punt-coverage team was to his left, so Damian Williams went right. When he dodged the final tackler and slipped into the end zone early in the fourth quarter, he thought Southern California finally had shaken the Beavers as well.
“And then they went down and scored again like it was nothing,” Williams said. “I said, ‘I guess it’s still going to be a fight here.’ ”
The No. 4 Trojans won that fight with one final drive by their revitalized offense, which relished a rare chance to bail out their usually formidable defense in a 42-36 victory over the Beavers Saturday night in Los Angeles.
Allen Bradford rushed for a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns as USC avenged its only loss of last season – a 27-21 defeat last September that prevented the Trojans (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10) from playing for the national title.
USC’s defense looked nowhere near title shape against Sean Canfield, Jacquizz Rodgers and the Beavers (4-3, 2-2), who shredded it for 482 total yards – including James Rodgers’ 7-yard TD catch less than two minutes after Williams’ 63-yard punt return put the Trojans up 42-23.
Jacquizz Rodgers’ 1-yard TD plunge with 5:41 to play cut USC’s lead to 42-36, but the Trojans converted two third downs while running out the clock, with Bradford picking up one last with a stiff-arm in the final minute.
“It was the moment you dream about,” said Bradford, who has spent most of his USC career stuck behind Chauncey Washington and Joe McKnight. “We knew we had to keep scoring and being consistent to beat these guys. It’s good to pick up the defense, because they’ve been picking us up all year.”
Arizona 27, UCLA 13: Nick Foles threw two touchdown passes to Juron Criner, and the Wildcats overcame five turnovers to defeat the Bruins in Tucson, Ariz.
Nic Grigsby and Nick Booth each ran for a touchdown for the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1), who remain tied for second place.
Foles had a hand in all of five of Arizona’s turnovers. The Pac-10’s leading passer threw three interceptions, had a fumble returned for a touchdown and botched a handoff that led to a fumble.
UCLA’s defense did everything it could to keep the Bruins (3-4, 0-4) afloat. All 13 UCLA points resulted from turnovers.
Stanford 33, Arizona State 14: Andrew Luck threw for 236 yards, Toby Gerhart ran for 125 yards and a touchdown and the Cardinal greatly boosted their bowl hopes with a victory over the Sun Devils in Stanford, Calif.
The Cardinal (5-3, 4-2) used a balanced attack to match their 2008 win total and end a three-game losing streak in the series in which they had been outscored 120-23 by the Sun Devils (4-3, 2-2), including 41-3 here in 2007.
Freshman Jamal-Rashad Patterson scored on a 22-yard reverse, Stepfan Taylor ran 33 yards for a TD and Owen Marecic had a 2-yard scoring run.
Stanford is trying to earn the school’s first bowl berth since 2001.
Arizona State center Thomas Altieri suffered a right leg injury late and was assisted off the field.