Oregon State hasn’t beaten USC often over the years, but the Beavers have posted some monumental upsets of the Trojans. One came on this date in 1960, as USC started the John McKay era with a shutout loss.
Sept. 16, 1960
USC finished the 1959 season losing its final two games, to UCLA and Notre Dame, but still finished 8-2, and took a No. 6 ranking and a new head coach into the 1960 season.
After Don Clark resigned after failing to beat UCLA or Notre Dame in any of his three seasons as head coach, the Trojans turned to his assistant, John McKay, to lead the team in 1960. McKay had only been an assistant at USC for one year, but had built a solid reputation as an assistant at Oregon for nine years.
McKay would win a national championship in his third year as the Trojans’ head coach, but that would have been tough to see coming on Sept. 16, 1960.
USC opened that season at home against Oregon State. To that point, the Trojans and Beavers had played 33 times, with Oregon State winning five.
Oregon State scored a touchdown on its opening possession–a 16-yard touchdown run from Don Kasso–and that would be enough. The Beavers added a third-quarter touchdown, as USC managed just 197 total yards in being shut out 14-0.
USC would go on to score just six points through its first three games that year, all losses. The Trojans then beat Georgia to give McKay his first win, and though USC would finish the season 4-6, the Trojans did beat No. 11 UCLA for their first win against the Bruins in four years. It would take two more years for the losing streak against Notre Dame to end.
Oregon State continued to pop up as a bit of a thorn, as the Beavers have toppled two No. 1-ranked USC teams–once with a 3-0 shutout of a dominant 1967 USC team, and another with a 27-21 win, as USC’s dominant 2008 defense put together its worst performance of the year.
Other notable “On This Date” events
Sept. 16 2017
It doesn’t even begin to make up for the heartbreak of losing the 2005 national championship, but the Trojans were finally able to celebrate a win over the Texas Longhorns, when Chase McGrath kicked a field goal to win the game in double overtime.
The game provided a wild finish, as Texas scored a touchdown with just 45 seconds remaining to take a 17-14 lead. USC quarterback Sam Darnold marched the Trojans quickly downfield, leading to a 31-yard field goal from McGrath to tie things up on the final play of regulation.
After trading touchdowns in the first overtime, it looked as though the Longhorns would punch it in again, but Christian Rector ripped the ball away from Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger and Ajene Harris recovered the fumble. McGrath’s ensuing field goal won it for USC.
Previous “On This Date” entries
Sept. 1 – A Dynasty Begins
Sept. 2 – Woo Pig, Again
Sept. 3 – Woody’s Record
Sept. 5 – Barkley with the firsts of many
Sept. 6 – Another USC – Stanford Classic
Sept. 7 – Slovis gets his start
Sept. 8 – Stars are injured in USC’s 1979 opener
Sept. 10 – Welcome to the Pac-12
Sept. 11 – Mizz-who?
Sept. 12 – Turning of the Tide
Sept. 13 – Hipp’s game-winner
Sept. 14 – Penn State turnovers lead to USC upset
Sept. 15 – USC dominates Nebraska on the ground