Before anyone could even ask him after the game, Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers addressed the obvious.
“There were no problems with the shoulder,” he said. “The shoulder is good.”
Rodgers, last season’s Pac-10 offensive player of the year who sat out the last two games with a rotator cuff injury, ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns Saturday in Oregon State’s 34-7 victory over Portland State.
Quizz, as he is known, said he knew the shoulder was on everyone’s mind.
“That’s the only question I have been asked since I got hurt,” he said.
Big brother James Rodgers caught a pair of passes for 95 yards and a score in the opener. He too was injured at the end the end of last season, and missed Oregon State’s Sun Bowl victory over Pittsburgh because of a broken collarbone.
“It’s a world of difference for sure. Those guys are playmakers,” Oregon State coach Mike Riley said about the Rodgers’ return. “Every time they have the ball they have a chance to go all the way.”
The Rodgers brothers combined for 253 yards of offense against the Big Sky Conference Vikings. Quarterback Sean Canfield also contributed, completing eight of 11 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.
Canfield was opening the season in place of Lyle Moevao, who was still recovering from offseason rotator cuff surgery. Portland State was led by Ray Fry, who caught 10 passes for 146 yards.
Drew Hubel completed 20 of 37 passes for 252 yards for the Vikings, who opened their third season under former NFL coach Jerry Glanville.
Despite his disappointment over the loss, Glanville was impressed with his firsthand look at Oregon State’s high-profile brothers.
“Those two Rodgers brothers are probably worth more than everybody says they are,” he noted.
Jacquizz Rodgers rushed last season for 1,253 yards, a Pac-10 record for a freshman. James Rodgers, instrumental in the Beavers’ success with the fly sweep, rushed for 408 yards and five touchdowns and had 607 receiving yards with four scores last season.
On Oregon State’s first play of the game from scrimmage, James Rodgers pulled down Canfield’s pass and ran for an 87-yard touchdown. It was the sixth longest scoring catch in school history.
Not to be outdone, Quizz barreled into the end zone from five yards out to put the Beavers up 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Justin Kahut’s career-long 50-yard field goal made it 17-0 early in the second, and Jacquizz Rodgers added a 1-yard TD run before the half.
“It feels good,” Quizz said about the start of a new season. “I have been gone for a while, it feels like, missing all those games. So I just need to come out hard and play the best I can.”
At UCLA 33, San Diego St. 14: Kevin Prince passed for 176 yards and a touchdown in his college debut, UCLA’s defense held San Diego State in check after a shaky start, and the Bruins continued their domination of the Aztecs.
Prince, who became just the second freshman to start a season opener for UCLA, completed 18 of 29 passes with two interceptions. He also lost a fumble in his first game in two years.
The Aztecs scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and got seven first downs and 161 yards in the first quarter. They managed only four first downs and 116 yards in total offense after that.
At No. 4 USC 56, San Jose State 3: Matt Barkley passed for 233 yards after a slow start to his Southern California debut, and the Trojans’ fleet of tailbacks ran for six touchdowns.
Barkley, the first non-redshirt freshman to start a season opener at USC, shook off a rocky first quarter to go 15 for 19 with no interceptions.
He was at his best handing off to his fellow Trojans, who pounded the Spartans with six consecutive TD drives after trailing 3-0 early in the second quarter.
USC’s formidable offensive line cleared the way for 343 yards rushing, along with two scores apiece by Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight.