USC bounces back with a dominant run game in 38-21 win over Oregon State

The Trojans’ final three games, against competent California and rivals UCLA and Notre Dame, will tell the tale of whether Saturday night’s offensive outburst in a 38-21 victory over Oregon State was the product of a pathetic defense, an improved USC attack or a little bit of both.

When the Beavers challenged them at the end of the first half with back-to-back touchdowns, USC answered with a scoring drive to start the third quarter, providing relief to the Trojans’ porous defense.

After the loss to the Sun Devils, it seemed a near impossibility that the Trojans could recover to win the Pac-12 South, down a game to Utah in the standings with the Utes having the head-to-head tiebreaker.

With Utah losing starting quarterback Tyler Huntley to a season-ending broken collarbone, the likelihood that USC could win the South with a 6-3 record has majorly increased.

Helton’s growing number of detractors won’t be able to overlook the fact the offense succeeded against Oregon State, which entered the game ranked 126th in the country against the run.

But USC’s defense clamped down in the fourth quarter, boosting Helton’s record in November as permanent head coach to 8-0.

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