Riley, USC have long history

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Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 7:54 pm | Updated: 7:30 pm, Tue Mar 4, 2014.

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley has been linked to the Trojans many times throughout his career

Head coach Mike Riley has a long, storied history with the University of Southern California.

With the Trojans coming to Corvallis on Friday, that history has been rehashed with a few new wrinkles.

USC consistently fields a talented and competitive team. This season, however, the Trojans are in a bit of a state of flux. Head coach Lane Kiffin was fired a little more than a month ago on Sept. 28.

Over the past three games, USC has played with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron as the interim head coach.

Orgeron, who has been with the Trojans for three years, is still very much aware of the struggles that plague USC when they play in Corvallis.

During practices this week, the Trojans have played chainsaw sounds to get used to what they’ll hear when they enter Reser Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Beavers have employed a similar tactic.

“We’ve been lifting weights to one of the Trojan songs,” Riley said, “That’s our counter-move to the chainsaw.”

It will be the first time OSU and USC have played since 2010, when the Beavers won 36-7. That game was USC’s worst loss against the Beavers in nearly a century.

It was also the third consecutive time the Beavers beat the Trojans at home, and the third time as underdogs.

In 2008, the No. 1-ranked Trojans were favored by 25 points, but ended up losing, 27-21.

In 2006, the No. 3-ranked Trojans were upset by the unranked Beavers, 33-31.

“It’s been a credit to their program that those are big games like that,” Riley said. “It’s a big deal when you can beat them. It’s a big deal for anybody’s program to beat them.”

This year is flipped, though. This year, the Trojans are the underdogs.

Even though OSU is favored and Riley has accrued a reputation for beating USC in Reser Stadium, he isn’t overlooking the Trojans.

“(Those games) have no bearing on this game,” Riley said. “Most guys weren’t in those games and don’t even know. Our team is going to face a very talented team on Friday night.”

OSU has played the role of “Giant Killers” in this series, but for Riley, the history with USC is close to the vest.

In 1993, Riley was the Trojans’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He later became their assistant head coach. Riley was part of USC’s staff for four years.

During those years, USC won a Pac-10 title outright, shared another and was second once. The Trojans won three bowl games during Riley’s tenure.

Since then, Riley has gone from Oregon State to the NFL and back again to Oregon State.

When Kiffin was fired, rumors swirled for the second time in four years that Riley could return to Southern California.

Riley, however, has vehemently denied the rumors, and is under contract with the Beavers until 2019.

He’s said multiple times that Corvallis is the place for him and where he expects to finish his coaching career.

Mitch Mahoney, sports reporter

On Twitter @MitchIsHere

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