No school is better prepared to celebrate Halloween than Oregon State, with its orange and black uniforms, penchant for unpredictable fog and stormy weather, and personal house of horrors in Reser Stadium.
But USC may have its own tricks in store for the Beavers this Friday, with star wide receiver Marqise Lee and tight end Xavier Grimble upgraded to probable and expected to boost a passing offense thin on scholarship players at those positions.
Lee and Grimble each practiced Wednesday, going through a series of non-contact drills in helmets and shorts, the Los Angeles Times reported. Lee aggravated a knee injury in the loss at Notre Dame, while Grimble hurt his ankle against the Fighting Irish.
Both Lee and Grimble missed USC's 19-3 win over Utah last week, leaving the offense without any available scholarship tight ends and just three scholarship wide receivers.
Lee has endured a miserable junior season filled with injuries and disappointing play when he has been on the field, making several uncharacteristic mistakes and drops in losses to Washington State and ND. In six games, Lee has caught 32 passes for 403 yards and one touchdown, statistics that pale in comparison to his outstanding sophomore campaign.
With sophomore Nelson Agholor emerging since offensive coordinator Clay Helton took over the playcalling -- Agholor has 19 receptions for 347 yards and two touchdowns in the three games since head coach Lane Kiffin was fired -- the conditions are there for Lee to stage a turnaround, even at less than 100 percent.
A fine red-zone target at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Grimble has 10 catches for 127 yards and one touchdown to lead USC tight ends this season.
Having lost three straight in Corvallis, Ore. and now facing the prolific passing battery of quarterback Sean Mannion and wide receiver Brandin Cooks, USC will need all hands on deck to treat itself to a win.