CORVALLIS, Ore. -- USC tailback Javorius Allen ran off the practice field last week holding a football.
Allen had dropped the ball on one of his two carries against Utah, losing opportunities to show the progress he has made as a third-year sophomore.
He told himself he would not waste another chance.
On Friday night at Reser Stadium, Allen seized the moment, rushing for three touchdowns in the Trojans' 31-14 victory over Oregon State.
Allen scored on runs of nine, 18 and 52 yards as the Trojans won at Reser Stadium for the first time since 2004.
"I took advantage of my opportunity and made the best of it," said Allen, who rushed for 133 yards.
On a night when receiver Marqise Lee returned to the lineup, Allen and Silas Redd led the rushing attack and Trojans intercepted three passes to improve their record to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-12 Conference.
USC's victory over Utah had put the Trojans on track to qualify for a bowl game. USC will achieve that goal with one more win, but the Trojans played Friday like a team not willing to settle for the bottom rung.
"The sky's the limit," said junior cornerback Josh Shaw, who intercepted a pass for the second consecutive game. "Just win out. There's still a lot to play for."
The last three times USC visited Reser Stadium, Oregon State knocked off Trojans teams ranked No. 3, No. 1 and No. 20, and Beavers fans celebrated on the turf long after USC players and coaches ran to their locker room.
But on Friday night, interim Coach Ed Orgeron gathered his players on the field and told them to stand back to back.
"Our whole goal was to win the game and see the stands empty," said Orgeron, who improved to 3-1 since taking over for the fired Lane Kiffin.
Oregon State, which played Stanford tough in a loss last week, fell to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12.
"It will be hard to stomach this one for a while," Beavers Coach Mike Riley said, adding, "We did some things that were kind of uncharacteristic of how we've been playing."
USC had scored only one touchdown in each of its last two games, but Allen ran as if he intended to end that streak by himself.
It was the second multitouchdown game for Allen, whose role grew after Tre Madden left the game because of an undisclosed injury.
Meantime, Redd bounced back after being held to 0 yards in 10 carries against Utah. The senior rushed for 140 yards in 22 carries.
"That's definitely the way I wanted to come back," Redd said. "It was a team effort. Man, I loved it."
So did Lee, who returned from injury and caught five passes for 105 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown on the Trojans' first offensive play.
"It felt good to have a chance to celebrate and do good with my team," he said. "It had been a long time."
Shaw, safety Dion Bailey and cornerback Kevon Seymour intercepted passes as the Trojans held the Beavers to 26 points below their season average.
Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion had entered the game with 30 touchdowns and only three passes intercepted. He completed 26 of 45 passes for 277 yards, but the Trojans forced him into mistakes.
"We did some things he hadn't seen all season," Shaw said. "At times, he completed some balls, but the key was just being very aggressive in coverage."
USC took a 14-0 lead on Cody Kessler's touchdown pass to Lee and Allen's first touchdown.
But the Beavers tied the score during a 15-second span on a touchdown pass from Mannion to receiver Brandin Cooks and a 41-yard interception return by Ryan Murphy.
Kessler, who completed 17 of 21 passes for 247 yards, kept his poise, and Allen's second touchdown with just under five minutes left in the first half gave the Trojans a 21-14 halftime lead. Andre Heidari added a field goal early in the third quarter and Allen broke off his 52-yard run late, and Bailey and Seymour extinguished threats with fourth-quarter interceptions.
"We overcame an obstacle tonight," Orgeron said. "For some reason or another we haven't played well here. I thought we had our best game together tonight."