Oregon's Autzen Stadium is rightfully recognized as one of college football's toughest places for a visiting team to play.
But Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., where No. 20 USC plays Oregon State on Saturday, has been just as unkind for the Trojans in their last few visits.
USC is 1-2 in its last three games there, and even the victory was fraught with the unexpected.
On Nov. 6, 2004, the top-ranked Trojans fell behind 13-0 in a fog-shrouded stadium that made visibility nearly impossible for players, coaches, fans and media. The Trojans hadn't played in such conditions since 1937.
USC rallied for a 28-20 victory and went on to win the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Two years later, the third-ranked Trojans fell behind late in the third quarter, 33-10, before offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, in his first year in that job, turned almost exclusively to the pass.
Quarterback John David Booty brought the Trojans back, pulling USC to within 33-31 with a touchdown pass to receiver Dwayne Jarrett with seven seconds to play. But an Oregon State defensive lineman leaped to bat down Booty's pass to Jarrett on a two-point conversion attempt.
In 2008, after an open date following a rout of Ohio State, overconfident and top-ranked USC went to Reser as a 25-point favorite and was blown off the line of scrimmage in the first half.
Freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers scored once and his older brother James, a receiver, caught two touchdown passes from quarterback Lyle Moevao as Oregon State forged a 21-0 halftime lead.
Jacquizz Rodgers finished with 186 yards in 37 carries and the Beavers held off USC for a 27-21 victory, the Trojans' only loss of the season.
So despite Oregon State's recent struggles, including a loss last week to Washington State that dropped the Beavers to 4-5, Kiffin anticipates that the Beavers will be ready for the Trojans.
"It doesn't matter what teams' records are," Kiffin said. "SC is everybody's big game because of the dominance of what was done here for years."
Tailback Allen Bradford had only one carry two weeks ago against Arizona State and none against Arizona. The senior was on the field only for the final-minute onside kick by the Wildcats.
But on a night when junior Marc Tyler rushed for 161 yards in 31 carries, both career highs, and freshman Dillon Baxter and senior fullback Stanley Havili each got three carries, Bradford did not complain.
"Marc Tyler had a great game," Bradford said afterward. "It just wasn't a game for Allen Bradford to get the ball. Coaches made the right decision. We won the game and that's the most important thing. I'm just happy we won."
An NFL arbitrator denied Kiffin's grievance seeking $333,000 from the Oakland Raiders for money he believes was owed him after his firing by Al Davis in 2008, ESPN.com reported. Kiffin could not be reached for comment…. The Trojans resume practice Tuesday.