Trojans are not only beaten, but beaten up

Times Staff Writers

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- USC might have lost more than a game Thursday when Oregon State upset the top-ranked Trojans, 27-21, at Reser Stadium.

Senior linebacker Rey Maualuga suffered a knee sprain in the fourth quarter and will be examined further today.

Junior safety Taylor Mays was forced to leave the game after suffering a chest injury that caused him to cough up blood.


Senior linebacker Brian Cushing suffered a broken bone in his hand and guard Zack Heberer suffered a toe injury.

Dreamed it, lived it

For Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao, playing USC held special meaning. The junior grew up in Southern California, playing at North Torrance High and El Camino Community College.

“This was something I dreamed of,” he said. “Ever since I was young, I followed the Trojans.”

On Thursday night, he helped defeat his hometown team by completing 18 of 28 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns.

“Going against them,” he said, “it was like David and Goliath.”

All clear

With ESPN broadcasting Thursday night’s game in high definition, the Pacific 10 Conference used the occasion to test new equipment in its instant replay booth.

Officials reviewed plays on the usual, standard-definition screens while Pac-10 executives watched high-definition screens at the back of the room, comparing pictures.

“We’re looking at it to see the quality and how it works in a real game,” said Kristina R. Case, director of video and Internet operations.

The NFL switched to high-definition replays last season, responding to concerns that, in some cases, fans watching from home had a better view of critical plays than did officials at the stadium.

But the Pac-10 could be a year or more away from such a change, in part because of finances. The cost of equipment and infrastructure could exceed six figures in each of the conference’s stadiums, officials said.

The Pac-10 plans to present a report to its athletic directors.

“It’s always easy to say the toy is fun and we should buy it,” Case said. “They’ll decide if it’s worthwhile for what they’re looking at.”

Scheduling benefits

Regardless of the outcome, USC went into the game viewing it as a win-win proposition.

First, it was a nice payday from ESPN -- USC and Oregon State each earned $630,000, a USC official said.

Then there’s the matter of exposure. As the only college game on national television, all eyes were on the Trojans, especially those of potential recruits from Florida and other talent-rich states.

Coach Pete Carroll views spotlight games as opportunities to put on a show and build a brand name. It’s actually a double dose of recruiting because USC coaches can attend high school games today and Saturday.

Of course, all of that exposure was welcome before the Trojans sputtered through the first half, fell behind by three touchdowns, and never found a handle for Oregon State freshman Jacquizz Rodgers.

Thursday night’s game would not have happened, of course, if USC had played last Saturday. But the open date gave the Trojans extra time to prepare for Oregon State -- and by moving the game to Thursday, they also get extra time to heal and prepare for next Saturday’s game against Oregon at the Coliseum.

They’ll need it.