Let's state the obvious, the Trojans need to run the table.
In the three years since College Football changed to a four-team playoff format, no team with two losses as ever made the final four.
After a heartbreaking loss on the road to Washington State in Pullman last week, the Trojans now have to complete the daunting task of running the table for the remainder of the schedule in order to have an opportunity to play for a national championship.
USC took an important first step towards that goal on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as Sam Darnold threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns as the Trojans defeated the Oregon State Beavers, 38-10.
The Trojans weren't overly impressive in the victory, but they made sure to set the tone early as Darnold found Tyler Vaughns for a 37-yard strike, the freshman's first touchdown of the season.
Ronald Jones II rushed up the middle for the Trojans second touchdown of the game as USC jumped out to an early 14-0 lead in the first quarter against the Beavers.
Despite Darnold turning the ball over twice, the offense had 512 yards, as he distributed the ball to 12 different receivers, finishing 23-of-35 on his pass attempts.
"I think, honestly, I'm stopping the offense a little bit right now with the way I'm turning the ball over and it's never good, so I just got to be better," Darnold told reporters after the game."
Darnold's struggles are a direct result of injuries on the offensive line as three starters have missed the last two weeks for the Trojans.
“I can sense defenses are focusing on tendencies of ours,” Darnold said. “Maybe we need to change some play calls.”
Make no mistake about it, the Trojans should have beaten the inferior Beavers, and still have a lot of things to clean up on both sides of the ball if they plan to win the Pac 12 and play in the postseason.
There was a lot of shakeup in the Top 25 rankings as No. 3 Oklahoma was stunned by Iowa State at home, and No. 7 Michigan was also upset at home in Ann Arbor by in-state rival, Michigan State.
In total, six different teams ranked in the Top 25 lost in Week 6, paving the way for plenty more upsets as the season rolls on.
The Trojans know every single game is now a "must-win," and will face another tough test next week when previously ranked Utah comes to the Coliseum with potential Pac-12 South title implications on the line.
Moment of the Game:
Blind Long Snapper, Jake Olson, took the field for the second time this season as he succesfully converted an extra point in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans will host Utah, who was ranked No. 20 entering the week, but lost to Stanford, 23-20 at home. Utah famously upset the Trojans in Week 4 last season in Sam Darnold's first start of his collegiate career.