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Oregon State 20, USC 0: Trojans Continue First Half Struggles In Corvallis

Tonight feels like deja vu all over again for the USC Trojans, who trail Oregon State at halftime, 20-0. The Trojans have lost two straight games in Corvallis, and three of the last four road games against the Beavers. Two big plays in the first half gave Oregon State their big lead.

Both teams had one long drive in the first quarter. USC was stopped on fourth down at the Oregon State 25-yard line, while the Beavers converted their drive into three points with a 34-yard field goal by Justin Kahut with 35 seconds remaining in the opening period. The second quarter was when the big plays happened.

USC was driving after a strong kickoff return by Ronald Johnson, but Jordan Poyer intercepted a Matt Barkley pass and ran the ball 65 yards for a touchdown, giving Oregon State a 10-0 lead. Later in the quarter, after it appeared USC forced the Beavers to punt, Oregon State ran a fake punt on 4th-and-6 from the 38-yard line. On the pass attempt, USC was called for pass interference, extending the drive which ultimately ended with a three-yard touchdown by Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers, who had 299 rushing yards in his two career games against USC, ended the half with 64 yards on 12 carries.

USC failed to score in the first quarter in Corvallis for the fourth straight game. The last time the Trojans scored in the first quarter on the road against Oregon State was in 2000, and even then Oregon State began that game up 14-0 and would beat USC 31-21.

USC First Half Struggles In Corvallis
Year 1st Qtr Score at Half Result
Tonight 0-3 0-20 ??
2008 0-7 0-21 L, 21-27
2006 0-7 10-16 L, 31-33
2004 0-6 7-13 W, 28-20

Barkley was largely ineffective for USC in the first half, completing 10 of 19 passes for 75 yards, throwing one interception. He nearly threw a second interception, but it was dropped by Oregon State on what was an unsuccessful fourth-down attempt for USC anyway. Barkley appeared to hurt himself on the Trojans' final offensive play of the half, when it looked like Barkley's left leg was hurt on a sack.

USC gets the ball first in the second half.

For more USC football news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.