Oregon State nearly caught USC this past weekend. The sixth-ranked Trojans struggled for much of the evening on offense, mustering only 10 points until late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Caleb Williams connected with wideout Jordan Addison for a touchdown to give USC a 17-14 lead and the win.

On Monday, during an appearance on the Trojans Live radio show, Riley said that USC didn’t handle the environment inside Oregon State’s Reser Stadium as well as they should have. Riley said they spoke with other Oregon State opponents about what to expect in terms of crowd noise but were caught off guard by what they actually experienced.

Reser Stadium is operating at a reduced capacity this season, completely without seating on the west side of the stadium because of a $153 million remodeling project that won’t be completed until Spring 2023. As a result, capacity is reduced by about 17,000 seats for the 2022 season — down to roughly 26,000.

Still, with the Beavers entering the game at 3-0 and optimistic about what this season can bring for coach Jonathan Smith’s group, the atmosphere inside the stadium was electric on Saturday, and it absolutely seemed to affect the Trojans. The Trojans were flagged for six offensive penalties (five accepted), five of them procedural things before the snap.

“We did the things you can’t do to play good offensive ball — we had crucial penalties, we had assignment busts. We admittedly didn’t handle the crowd very well,” Riley said on Trojans Live. “It was loud. I think it was a little unexpected, to be completely honest, with the half-full stadium. We’d talked to some of the previous opponents that had played there, but you’re gonna get a different opponent or a different vibe when USC comes into town. We’ve been used to that a little bit at the other place, too. That was something as coaches we didn’t do a very good job getting our guys ready for.

“You add all that up and then on top of that you’re playing a good defense. You’re playing a group that does some really good things schematically. They’ve got a lot of good players. They’ve got a lot of experience. And they did what good defenses do — they make you earn it. They didn’t really give us any gifts, and then for a large part of the game we did not play sharp enough to take advantage of some of the things that were certainly there.”

USC won to remain unbeaten, and it should expect to get everyone’s best going forward in conference play. USC faces Arizona State at home on Saturday (7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN).