We 'shocked the world,' OSU says of USC upset
By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Leila Wai
In the two false starts before Oregon State fans were able to celebrate their upset win over Southern California last Saturday, safety Al Afalava tried unsuccessfully to join in the celebration.
"I wasn't even thinking, I just ran on the field, like most of our fans," the 2005 Kahuku graduate said.
Then for a second time, it appeared as though the game was over, and "most of the fans and players rushed again. And then we had to come off again," Afalava said. "The crowd was acting like we won the national championship."
Three days after the madness of OSU's 33-31 victory over the then-No. 3 Trojans, offensive lineman Jeremy Perry said, "It was a pretty exciting moment. Everybody played hard. It was getting kind of scary toward the end. And they had a chance to tie it up and take the win."
The Beavers snapped USC's 27-game Pac-10 winning streak and "shocked the world," Perry said.
Perry, a 2004 Kahuku graduate, started at left guard, and Afalava rotated in at safety. Defensive lineman Naymon Frank, a 2003 Roosevelt graduate, also played. The Beavers have 11 players from Hawai'i on their roster.
The scene after the game was "insane," Perry said.
"Everybody was standing up, and the bench was trying to get the crowd going, get it louder," Perry said. "Everyone was squeezing."
Afalava had "goosebumps" because of the crowd noise.
Both said it was the biggest win in their careers.
"It is bigger than when we beat Saint Louis (in the 2003 state high school championship game)," Afalava said, "because just having about 45,000 people just cheering, and beating the third team in the country and have everybody rush the field, that was amazing."
Thousands of Oregon State fans were forced to delay their celebration twice: once after Jeff Van Orsow batted down USC quarterback John David Booty's two-point conversion attempt with seven seconds left, then again after the Beavers recovered an onside kick.
Afalava pulled a muscle in his left leg in the third quarter and didn't play the rest of the game, but it didn't stop him from joining the celebration.
Afalava said he had to cover USC receiver Steve Smith, who would eventually catch the touchdown pass from Booty that made it 33-31. Earlier, Afalava said he was beaten by Smith, "but he dropped the ball."
Afalava also said he went up against USC sophomore linebacker Kaluka Maiava on special teams. Maiava, a Baldwin alum, finished with eight tackles, including two solo stops.
Afalava, who finished with two tackles (one solo), tried to find Maiava after the game, but couldn't because of the crowd. Then he had to wade through the fans to find his mother, Teresa, and father, Donald, who were in town for the game.
"It's still pretty exciting, but as a football team we're leaving it behind and we're focusing on Arizona State (Saturday's opponent)," Afalava said.
Although the Beavers squandered a three-touchdown lead, Afalava said the players weren't panicking.
"Our coaches were calming us down, telling us to go out there and play our game," he said. "We kind of held back because we thought we had them, we were up by three touchdowns."
Oregon State travels to Hawai'i to play in the Warriors' final home game of the season, Dec. 2.
"I'm really not focused on UH yet, but it's going to be great to come home and play in front of our people and the Kahuku community," Afalava said. "Plus I'm playing against guys I grew up playing with."
Reach Leila Wai at email@example.com.