Winning streaks will be on the line Saturday when the Oregon State Beavers (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS) host the USC Trojans (3-0, 3-0) in Week 4 college football action. The Trojans hit the road after last weekend’s 45-17 win over Fresno State while the Beavers romped 68-28 over FCS Montana State and will be aiming to tally consecutive wins over USC for the first time in 79 all-time meetings.
USC vs Oregon State Opening Odds
The Trojans have taken a big tumble since opening as 12.5-point favorites, dipping to their current position as 6.5-point chalk. Conversely, the total has made slight gains since opening at 67.5, rising to 68. Both teams have won and covered in each of their first three contests of the season. In addition to last weekend’s rout of Montana State, the Beavers also impressed in season-opening victories over Boise State and Fresno State.
The Trojans are coming off a one-sided triumph over Fresno State and have won by an average of 31 points during their 3-0 start. USC has also dominated their century-old rivalry with Oregon State, but it is the Beavers who took home a decisive 45-27 win as 11-point underdogs when they visited USC last season.
Versatile USC Offense Clicking
The versatility of the Trojans’ high-powered offense was on full display in last weekend’s 45-17 rout of Fresno State. Quarterback Caleb Williams increased his touchdown pass total on the season to eight with a pair of scoring strikes, and added his first two scoring runs of the year.
The USC backfield also made big contributions, with both Austin Jones and Travis Dye topping 100 rushing yards and running for one score. The Trojans defense stood tall, particularly after recess, forcing a fumble and a pair of late turnovers on downs to snuff out any hope of a late Bulldogs rally.
The performance of this team marks a massive about-face after they closed out last season on a dismal 1-6 run, with five of those defeats coming by double-digit margins.
Slow Starts A Concern For Oregon State
As expected, the Beavers faced little resistance in last weekend’s win over Montana State. Oregon State scored on nine of its first 10 possessions of the game, with the lone exception being a missed field-goal attempt as the clock ran out on the first half.
More effort was required in their 35-32 win over Fresno State in Week 2, in which they twice surrendered leads before rallying to claim the win on a Jack Colletto scoring run as time expired. The Beavers struggled to contain a Bulldogs attack that compiled 492 yards and controlled possession for over 33 minutes.
One positive for the Beavers defense was forcing the Bulldogs to settle for field goals on five occasions, including one missed attempt. However, Fresno State pivot Jake Haener still managed to rack up 360 passing yards while completing 29 of 45 attempts.
USC: Keys To Win
The Trojans put on an offensive clinic in last week’s victory over Fresno State, and simply need more of the same to give themselves a chance to win. However, the offensive line’s struggles to protect Caleb Williams early on remains a concern. Williams was sacked three times for the second time this season in last week’s win.
Oregon State: Keys To Win
While this team was able to rebound from a slow start against Fresno State, they are unlikely to be as lucky against this high-powered Trojans squad. Striking first and eating up as much clock as possible will be crucial to the success of the Beavers, who saw the Bulldogs put points on the board on the next possession following three of their first four scores of the contest.
A return to good health is also crucial. The team has sorely missed tight end Luke Musgrave, who sat out last week’s game due to a lower body injury and is uncertain for Week 4.
College Football Computer Pick: Oregon State +6.5
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