USC–Oregon State: Quiz Time for the Trojan Defense


This year’s Trojan defense will get its toughest test of the season on Saturday when they face the Oregon State Beavers.

Pass and they move a step closer to their eighth consecutive Pac-10 title and a possible shot at a national title. Fail and they can forget about both.

Administering the test will be none other than Jacquizz “Quiz” Rogers, the tailback who blasted last year’s Trojan defense with its eight NFL players for 186 yards rushing and ruined USC’s hopes for a shot at the national title.

Currently Rogers is No. 2 in the Pac-10 behind Toby Gerhart of Stanford with 697 rushing yards. If he has another game on Saturday like he did last season, he will take over the No. 1 spot.

His brother, wide receiver and kick return specialist, James Rogers, has even better statistics.

James Rogers is No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 8 nationally in all-purpose yards (1081) including receiving (544) and kick returns (105 on punts; 296 on kickoffs).

Jacquizz is No. 3 in the Pac-10 and No. 15 nationally in all-purpose yards (966) including rushing (697) and receiving (269).

But make no mistake about it, Jacquizz was the one most responsible for handing the Trojans a 27-21 defeat last year, knocking USC out of the No. 1 spot.

The diminutive 5-7 tailback packs a wallop in his powerful 190-pound frame that gets lost in the clash of wide bodies up front.

While the Trojan front four may have a hard time spotting Rogers, the linebackers and corners must be ready for him. But he runs so hard and low to the ground that he carries defenders on his back for several yards before they can wrestle him down.

Last season, Jacquizz Rogers’ speed and power surprised the Trojans right out of the gate. The score was 21-0 before the Trojans could yell, “Where did he go?”

Right now, the Trojans rank second in rushing defense in the Pac-10 behind Arizona State and fourth nationally, allowing just 2.07 yards per carry. But they haven’t faced a tailback of Rogers’ caliber.

Rogers’ running keeps pressure on the linebackers and corners, and that opens up the passing lanes for quarterback Sean Canfield, No. 2 in the Pac-10 in completion percentage (67.86), and third in passing yardage (1405).

Quiz’s brother, James Rogers is second in total receiving yards and first in the conference in receiving yards per game (90.67).

As a team, the Beavers rank second in the Pac-10 in passing behind Arizona and 32nd nationally, averaging nearly 255 yards per game. The Trojans pass defense ranks fourth in the Pac-10 and 33rd nationally, giving up a little over 192 yards per game.

Another test for the Trojan defense will be their ability to cause turnovers. As hard as it is for Trojan fans to believe, the Beavers have not fumbled the ball at all this season.


In fact, the Beavers lead the conference in the least amount of turnovers lost: Four. All four were pass interceptions.

The Trojans on the other hand are tied for fourth in the conference with ten turnovers lost.

While Quiz will be testing the Trojan defense, Beavers’ head coach Mike Riley will be testing Pete Carroll and the Trojan coaching staff.

Since Pete Carroll began his Pac-10 Championship run in 2002, Mike Riley has been the only coach to beat Carroll twice. In fact, he has beaten Carroll twice in the past three years, knocking the Trojans out of the No. 1 spot each time.

But Riley has never beaten Carroll at the Coliseum. If he is going to do it on Saturday, it will be before a capacity crowd as USC celebrates family day.