Given the way the first three weeks of the season went for USC, few probably expected the defense to be capable of going out and winning the Trojans a game. USC was firmly on upset watch heading into a road contest with Oregon State, and then when the offense sputtered and the Beavers took a 7-3 lead into the halftime break, the pressure was on.

But USC escaped with a win thanks in large part to the play of the Alex Grinch’s defense. For that effort, Grinch got the nod from On3’s Matt Zenitz as the Pac-12’s top coordinator of the week.

Zenitz had this to say of Grinch:

USC survived an upset scare from Oregon State despite an off game from its offense, largely thanks to Grinch and the Trojans’ defense. In the 17-14 victory, USC held the Beavers to 320 yards and recorded four interceptions, including one to seal the win with 35 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

USC held Oregon State to 5.3 yards per play in the game. In their previous three games — all wins — the Beavers had averaged 7.7, 6.2, and 7.6 yards a play. USC had been trending in the wrong direction, too. After yielding just 4.5 per play to Rice in the opener, the Trojans gave up 5.5 to Stanford and then 6.8 to Fresno State.

Perhaps most encouraging: the turnovers continue to flow for USC, which now has 14 in four games. No team in the country has more.

“The four turnovers, the huge stops, closing the game, you can’t say enough about how we played defensively,” coach Lincoln Riley said after the game. “You just can’t.”