Season of The Giant Killers - Game 9 Preview
November 11, 1967
The 1967 Oregon State Beavers football team had known stunning victory and frustrating defeat, but the greatest
game of this famous season came during the ninth week against the Trojans of Southern California. The Trojans were
the top-ranked team in the country, and the game would mark the first time in history that such a team would play
in the state of Oregon. The Beavers were as ready as they would ever be, after having defeated Purdue and tied
UCLA - both were ranked number two in the country at the time.
The Tallest Giant:
As well as the Beavers had played; as stifling as their defense and as explosive as their offense had been; as
impressive as their upset win at Purdue and tie at UCLA were - none of it was enough to give the Beavers a snowball's
chance in the eyes of the media and oddsmakers. Purdue was tough and UCLA was pretty, but they were only ranked
number two by the Associated Press. USC was something else altogether. After the tie against UCLA in Pasadena the week before,
Beaver Coach Dee Andros uttered the famous quote, "I'm tired of playing these number two ranked teams. Bring on number one." He was about to get his wish.
California Governor Ronald Reagan and Oregon Governor Tom McCall were among the dignitaries in attendance for the meeting between Oregon State and USC.
USC was far and away the most dominant program in the PAC during the 60's. From 1960 to 1969, USC finished no worse
than second in the PAC, winning or sharing the conference title on six occasions, appearing in four Rose Bowls,
and twice ending the season as national champions.
In addition to having great teams, the Trojans of this era had incredible individual talent. 82 USC players during
this period were drafted into the pros. Included in this group were two Heisman Trophy winners, ten consensus All-Americans, and five individuals who would eventually be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
With eight games under their belts, the 1967 Trojans were undefeated as they arrived in Corvallis. They entered the
game with the country's third ranked defense (giving up just 7.6 points per game) and the Pac-10's highest
scoring offense (27.9 points per game).
The stars of the Trojans' 1967 squad were halfback O.J.
Simpson and right offensive tackle Ron
Yary. Simpson was the top runner in the country in 1967 and 1968. Going into the game against Oregon State,
'The Juice' was leading the nation with 1,050 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Simpson would finish second
on the Heisman ballots in 1967 and would win the trophy outright in 1968. Yary was unquestionably the best
offensive lineman in the country, and his dominance was rewarded at the end of the season with the Outland Trophy.
Both Simpson and Yary were the top selections in their respective draft classes and are members of the College
Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame. In addition to these two legends, the 1967 team had two other consensus All-Americans
in defensive end Tim Rossovich and linebacker Adrian Young. At split-end was world-record holding hurdler Earl McCullouch.
The Trojans' coach was a legendary figure as well. John
McKay was the head coach at USC from 1960-1975, and his 127-40-8 record at USC is the best in school history.
He led his Trojan teams to four national championships and earned Coach of the Year honors on two occasions.
Oregon Governor Tom McCall and
California Governor Ronald Reagan were not immune to the excitement generated by the impending game. McCall, though
an alumnus of the University of Oregon, had proudly hopped on the bandwagon in support of the Beavers. A former
sportscaster, Reagan was an ardent Trojan fan. Arrangements were made for these two larger-than-life men to watch the
game together in the comfort of the press box at Parker Stadium.
Ever the politician, Reagan was quick to give the Beavers their due. Commenting on the lack of respect the Beavers
had received in the polls, Reagan said, "You people can't get into the ratings, but you sure can knock everyone
else out." As is customary, the two political bigwigs made a friendly public wager as to the outcome of the
game. Governor Reagan offered up a box of oranges and Governor McCall countered with a freshly caught silver salmon.
Besides an intriguing matchup on the gridiron, it was also Veteran's Day and the guest list was appropriate for
10 Generals and Admirals
3 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients
A full contingent of ROTC marching units
The Air Force Academy Drum and Bugle Corps
The Beavers received a pre-game telegram from 5,000 listeners of Portland-area radio station KEX. Volunteers contributed
nine cents each for the signatures and listeners called in to have their names added. The telegram read as follows:
"To us you are No. 1. We know you can deliver the biggest upset of the year. If support from the fans could
score touchdowns, you would already have won. USC has the reputation but you have the ability. Beat the Trojans."
The rain had come down heavily over the previous 24 hours. The forecast called for a slight let-up, but wet
weather still appeared inevitable. Despite the weather, all signs pointed to a capacity crowd of 40,750 filling
Parker Stadium, setting a new record for the largest single sports crowd in state history.
Next Up - Kickoff