CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Southern California coach Clay Helton said his offensive line wanted to control the game. And there's no question they opened up massive holes, for which Helton was thankful in his first time this season handling play calling duties for the Trojans.
"It's so easy as a play caller when the run is going, because it sets up so many other opportunities. . It set up our explosive plays and over 500 yards of offense," Helton added.
Aca'Cedric Ware rushed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including 57-yard and 62-yard scoring sprints, as Southern California beat Oregon State 38-21 on Saturday night.
"The o-line, they did their thing today. Every time the running game is going good, it's because of them," Ware said.
JT Daniels threw for 177 yards and a touchdown and Vavae Malepeai added 101 yards rushing for the Trojans (5-4, 4-3 Pac-12), who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Jake Luton went 31-for-45 for 301 yards and a touchdown and Isaiah Hodgins had 129 yards receiving for the Beavers (2-7, 1-5).
"We just didn't have enough tonight," Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith said.
Southern California stormed out to a 21-0 lead thanks in part to a grinding 17-play first drive and a lightning strike 57-yarder from Ware on the Trojans' second possession.
But Oregon State recovered and trailed 21-14 at the half. The Beavers' second touchdown, an 11-yard catch by Noah Togiai with four seconds before the break, capped an 85-yard drive that lasted just 67 seconds.
Southern California opened the second half with a drive that led to a 2-yard Ware touchdown, but Oregon State responded with its own touchdown run by Artavis Pierce.
With 11:53 remaining, Ware uncorked his 62-yarder to make the score 35-21.
Daniels suffered a concussion two weeks ago versus Utah and returned as the Southern California starter on Saturday.
Luton returned as the starter for Oregon State after missing four weeks with an ankle injury. Last week, he came in during the second half against Colorado and passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns and was named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week.
Southern California: Helton, a former offensive coordinator for the Trojans, took over play calling duties and fired the offensive line coach after last week's loss. The offense looked particularly crisp to open the game and at the start of the second half. . Southern California averaged 7.5 yards per carry against the Beavers defense. . Just one more win makes Southern California bowl eligible.
Oregon State: The Trojans looked determined to stuff the run, but with Luton back behind center, the Beavers are a different team. Oregon State's remaining schedule appears brutal, but if Luton can stay healthy, things look somewhat brighter.
WIDE OPEN SOUTH: The Pac-12 South leaders - Southern California, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State - all have three losses. "We put ourselves back in position. The south is wide open," Helton said.
FUN TIMES: Helton said that the Trojans showed poise and players were feeding off each other's energy. "It was cool to look up and see them dancing at the beginning of the fourth quarter. There was a lot of fun. And in that locker room, we let out a huge scream, all together, just letting out a bunch of frustration," Helton added.
SLOW STARTS: Smith noted Oregon State's trend of slow starts. "It's not a lack of effort. I don't think it's a lack of focus. For whatever reason, we haven't scored first in games," he added. The Beavers' opponents have scored first in every Pac-12 game this season.
Southern California hosts California on Nov. 10.
Oregon State plays at Stanford on Nov. 10.