Last night, the USC Trojans marched into Corvalis ranked number one. Some touted it as the best squad USC has ever fielded, some were saying it was the best team ever. They left Reser Stadium, however, embarrassed, frustrated and the at the receiving end of one of the greatest upsets in college football history for the second year in a row. They seem to be getting very good at choking in one of the softest conferences in the BCS since they do it with such regularity. This thrilling upset sent more than a ripple through the NCAA, it was a tidal wave. The national title race is completely up for grabs for whomever wants to take it. This is why college football is so exciting.
Right from the get go, the Beavers dominated the vaunted USC defense. On the ground, no less! Speedy little guys (Jacquizz Rogers, all "5'7" of him), decisive recognition of stunts and blitzes by both the QB Moevao and the offensive line. No turnovers. No deep balls from the offense and nothing fancy. Simple, well executed football here knocked USC right off their pedestal. The bigger, faster, stronger USC was continually stifled on both sides of the ball. Give a big hand to Oregon State head coach Mike Riley and staff for great preparation for whatever USC was going to throw at them. The defense shut down the USC offensive machine by managing the flare passes and the screens, and getting great penetration on runs and passes. The DB's only gave up two deep balls. The game was a pleasure to watch.
When asked after the game why he was so successful, Jacquizz Rodgers said "I'm a little dude, they couldn't find me." Little, speedy. Remind you of anybody? Whereas size and brute strength used to be paramount in college football, especially in the heyday of the Wolverines, the trend is now shifting to favor speed overall. With the advent and the popularity of the spread offense which emphasizes finding empty grass and creating favorable matchups in space, all you need is speed, speed, speed. And the way Rich Rodriguez has been recruiting he's been on top of it. The influx of "electron" (as they're referred to on mgoblog) type, speedy slot guys only goes to show that RR is building a smurf army! Teric Jones, our running back commit out of Cass Tech had the fastest 40 time at the Junior All American combine. All 5'8 of Jeremy Gallon of Apopka, FL has speed in spades. 5'10 Fitzgerald Toussaint out of Youngstown, OH is averaging some ridiculous number like 18 yards per carry.
The damage that Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers inflicted on the USC defense is a great sign for the Wolverine faithful. With the added dimension of a solid passing game in the coming years, you're going to see the slow, powerful, plodding Ohio State teams have a lot more trouble with the new-look Wolverines. I guarantee it.