Let’s reminisce: ‘Who’s number one now?’

Let’s reminisce: ‘Who’s number one now?’

Most people have heard the recent news of former NFL and University of Southern California running back OJ Simpson’s passing. 

While he had a historic run with USC in 1967, he did hit one roadblock – Oregon State’s defense.

USC, led by Simpson, took home the national title that year going 10-1 on the season. The lone blemish on the record came against the Beavers in what was a very uneventful game for the USC offense.

The game was played on November 11, 1967, and was a home game for the Beavers played at Parker Stadium in Corvallis, which later was renamed Reser Stadium in 1999.

1967 was Simpson’s first year in college, but he quickly showed his talent for the team. He ran for 1,543 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. He won multiple awards as the Trojans went on to win the Rose Bowl and be crowned National Champions.

But we look back to that November game, and what happened to that mighty Trojans team that failed to score a single point, and lost coming off a tie, which could happen back then.

Oregon State quarterback Steve Preece commented after the game, “It was such bad weather, they actually put a towel under the ball much of the game for the center, because if you put the ball down, it would go down in the mud so bad. Literally, you were grabbing the ball with two hands. You couldn’t do much with it.”

The game started with Simpson running for 40 yards, but after that, the Trojans couldn’t get much more and settled for a field goal. The 36-yard attempt sailed wide right and the score remained 0-0. 

Simpson showed his prowess, and why he would later be the first overall pick in the NFL draft, as he had 87 yards rushing after just the first quarter. Early in the second quarter, he broke off for a 41-yard rush that would have resulted in a touchdown if he hadn’t slowed down to let his blockers get rid of the last guy to beat. 

Since he slowed down, Jess Lewis came out of nowhere and dragged Simpson down. While the Trojans were in field goal range, they opted to go for it on fourth down, were stopped, and failed to put points on the board again.

The Beavers capitalized off a USC fumble late in the second quarter and ran the ball eight times before settling for a 30-yard field goal by Mike Haggard. Haggard booted the ball straight through the uprights, scoring the first, and only points off the game. The kick by Haggard was nicknamed, “The shot heard ‘round the football world.”

Haggard was a walk-on back in 1965 who only had two games of experience prior to his time at Oregon State. Yet, by the time he graduated a few years later, he was the all-time leader in field goals made and points after touchdowns made in Oregon State history, yet this was broken not too long later.

Late in the game, Simpson tried to be the savior and attempt some points for the Trojans, but he fumbled. The Beavers recovered the ball, resulting in Simpson’s last carry of the day. His entry in the box score for the day displayed an astonishing 188 yards, but more importantly, zero touchdowns.

The Beavers ran the ball a few more times and kneeled to let time expire, ending regulation. The game was a huge upset, and the Los Angeles Examiner even went so far as to say, “Giant-Killers? Heck, today they’re the giants.”

After the game, OSU head coach Dee Andros yelled, “Who’s number one now?” as his team had just finished off the number one ranked team in the nation at the time.

The game had some crazy records set, as with this win, the Beavers became the only team in history to go undefeated against three top-2 ranked teams. A record that still stands to this day. 

This loss for the Trojans also marked their last regular season loss for the rest of the decade. 

Ultimately, this win for the Beavers marked their last victory over the Trojans for the next 33 years, not beating them again until the 2000 season.

This win is often referred to as the best victory in OSU history.

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