If the USC Trojans are going to extend their winning streak to three games this weekend in Corvallis against the Oregon State Beavers, they will have to contain running back Jacquizz Rodgers. The tailback, third in the Pac-10 conference in rushing yards and tied for second in rushing touchdowns, has had success against USC in his career. As a freshman 2008, Rodgers had 186 yards on 37 carries, leading Oregon State to an upset of the No. 1 Trojans. Last year, Rodgers had 113 on 20 carries against the Trojans.
"He's a very explosive player, tough to tackle, you lose him back behind there," head coach Lane Kiffin said on Tuesday. "I think Mike Riley's one of the best offensive coaches in the country; he's proved it over and over again. We're going to have our hands full." However, Oregon State is just eighth in the conference in offense, averaging 331.8 yards per game.
With Marc Tyler taking the bulk of the load at running back, Allen Bradford has been an afterthought. Bradford didn't get a carry last week against Arizona, and has just 11 yards on four carries in USC's last three games. Keep in mind that Bradford is averaging a team-best 7.4 yards per carry this season. However, fumbling has been a problem, something Kiffin and the coaching staff have stressed. "He's just got to make the most of his chances when he gets the chance," said Kiffin.
Here is video of Kiffin after practice on Tuesday:
USC has lost their last two trips to Corvallis, in 2006 and 2008, but Kiffin pays no attention to that recent history. "The way we look at it, this team is 0-0 up there," he said. "This is a new team, new staff, we haven't there yet. We're excited to go up there and play really well."
For more USC football news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.