Archive for Friday, November 5, 2004

Oregon State once toppled USC

Beavers would love to become ‘Giant Killers’ again against top-ranked Trojans

November 5, 2004


— Oregon State coach Mike Riley was a teenager growing up in Corvallis during the year of the storied Giant Killers.

That's when mighty Southern California, led by O.J. Simpson, came to the rural Oregon college town and unexpectedly lost, 3-0, to the Beavers.

It was the season's only loss for the top-ranked Trojans, who went on to claim the national championship. To this day it is one of Oregon State's greatest moments.

Riley was 14 and in junior high. His father, Bud, was the Beavers' defensive coordinator under Dee Andros, who became known as the Great Pumpkin because of both his girth and penchant for bright orange jackets.

This week, Riley pointed to the general area of Reser Stadium -- then known as Parker Stadium -- where he watched on that day, Nov. 11, 1967.

"It was fun as a kid being around the team and it makes it fun for me now because I can relay those memories to the team," Riley said. "Having grown up here and having some knowledge of our history feels good, and that certainly was a highlight in Oregon State football."

The '67 Oregon State team became known as the Giant Killers because they also knocked off then-No. 2 Purdue and tied then-No. 2 UCLA before beating the Trojans.

Simpson gained 188 yards on 31 carries on a field that was a muddy mess from November rains.

But it all boiled down to a second-quarter field goal by Oregon State kicker Mike Haggard. Of his three attempts, a 30-yarder with 5:18 left before halftime was the only one he made.

"The whole game I didn't think that field goal would hold up," Andros said in an interview with The Oregonian years later. "The conditions didn't bother O.J. a bit, and it was just a well-played defensive game by both teams."

Andros passed away last year, but one of his greatest achievements was that Giant Killers team, which finished 7-2-1 and ranked No. 7.

The Trojans (8-0, 5-0 Pacific-10) of this season also are undefeated, ranked atop both the AP poll and the Bowl Championship Series standings. They have won 17 straight overall, 12 straight in the Pac-10 and nine straight on the road.

Saturday night, they visit Reser Stadium. Like they did with Simpson, the Beavers (4-4, 3-2) face a dynamic runner in USC tailback Reggie Bush.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Oregon State strong safety Sabby Piscitelli said. "How many times in your lifetime do you get to play the No. 1 team in the country in your house?"

While Riley said the '67 victory likely would be mentioned this week, he didn't even know where film of that win might be found.

"I don't have a copy of it. We'll make reference to that, that was a great moment in Oregon State history, for sure," he said. "(But) It was obviously a different era, different team."

The '67 game, which remains Oregon State's only victory over a top-ranked team, was played 15 years before quarterback Derek Anderson was born.

"There was probably grass out there back then, wasn't there?" asked Anderson, who is used to playing on artificial turf at Reser.

Riley might also want to mention the 2000 game, the last time the Trojans were in Corvallis, when the Beavers snapped a 26-game losing streak to Southern California with a 31-21 victory.

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