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After starting the season 3-0, the Beavers will have their first Pac-12 test with the Trojans coming to Corvallis.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon State football's Jaydon Grant (3) celebrates intercepting a pass in the third quarter with John McCartan (6) against Montana State on Sept. 17, 2022, at Providence Park in Portland.

Beaver believers everywhere can keep the faith for at least one more week.

Oregon State football is 3-0 for the first time since 2014, the final season of Mike Riley's second stint in Corvallis. That factoid will be thrown around a lot this week, especially with OSU entering the spotlight ahead of its Pac-12 opener against No. 7 USC.

But at the risk of being a buzzkill, it's worth remembering what happened next in 2014.

That year, Oregon State defeated two Mountain West teams (Hawai'i, San Diego State) and a Big Sky outfit (Portland State) in nonleague play. As a result, the undefeated Beavers were receiving votes in the AP poll in the week before its Pac-12 opener against the Trojans.

Sound familiar?

MORE COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oregon and Oregon State football face tough first tests to open Pac-12 play this week

After their hot start, Riley and the Beavers went down to Los Angeles and lost 35-10. OSU quarterback Sean Mannion had arguably the worst game of his college career, and the team's only touchdown came on a 97-yard Ryan Murphy kick return. The Trojans' offense burned the Beavers for 461 total yards, while the defense held Oregon State under 200.

Following the loss, Oregon State finished the year on a 2-7 skid, starting the Beavers' seven-year bowl drought.

That 2014 game against USC was in Memorial Coliseum, though. The Beavers finally exorcised their L.A. demons last year, beating USC on the road for the first time since 1960. Now, they look to build on a recent hot streak at home.

Oregon State has certainly had the Trojans' number in Corvallis since the turn of the century. In six meetings at Reser Stadium since 2000, the Beavers are 4-2 at home against USC.

In 2000, Kenny Simonton ran for 234 yards and three scores during the Beavers' eventual run to the storied Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame — the high-water mark in recent OSU history. In 2006, Oregon State jumped out to a 33-10 lead, then nearly gave it all back before breaking up a 2-point conversion that would have tied the game with only seconds to play. In 2008, Greg Laybourn's late interception capped off a 27-21 win over the Trojans, who were ranked No. 1 at the time. In 2010, the Beavers shellacked USC in a lopsided 36-7 victory.

As it happens, the Trojans were ranked in the top 10 for three of those four wins. In those three seasons, the Beavers won a total of 30 games — including going 3-for-3 in bowl games — and finished each year ranked in the AP Top 25.

One of those seasons stands out above the others, though: the 2000 campaign. That was when the Beavers went 11-1 and earned the right to play in one of the country's premier bowls, where they beat Notre Dame 41-9 and finished No. 4 in the AP poll.

MORE FROM PORTLAND: Check out all the scenes from Oregon State football's 68-28 win over Montana State in Portland

The other reason to bring up that 2000 season? The Beavers started the year 3-0 with wins over two Mountain West teams (New Mexico, San Diego State) and a Big Sky program (Eastern Washington) ahead of their Pac-12 opener against top-10 USC in Corvallis.

Sound familiar?

Ahead of USC making its first trip to Corvallis under new head coach Lincoln Riley, the Trojans were ranked No. 7 in the Sept. 11 edition of the AP Top 25 poll. At this moment — with the Beavers hosting, USC surging and Jonathan Smith playing a key role in the OSU program — this season bears a closer resemblance to the 2000 delight than it does to the 2014 disappointment.

If Oregon State can pull off another hometown upset over USC on Saturday, Sept. 24, the Beavers can truly start believing that 2022 will be another magical season.


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