Oregon Rises to the Challenge and Crushes the Trojans

Steve O Speak

USC saw their BCS Title hopes vanish last night in Oregon with a 47-20 beating by the Ducks. Now the Trojans have two Pac-10 losses on their resume and will likely not be making a return trip to a BCS bowl. The Trojans just got flat out beat by the 10th ranked Ducks. Now to be fair it shouldn’t come as a complete shock that the Ducks won, they are a top-10 team and they were at home. But we have become so accustomed to USC, dominating and winning regardless of the situation that it is a bit of a surprise to see them lose like this. Even those who did predict Oregon would win last night, couldn’t have thought they would have made the Trojans look so helpless.

On paper it looked as if the Ducks would be susceptible to the pass, and might struggle running the ball. For starters they were without their best defensive player CB Walter Thurmond III, who is out the rest of the season with an injury. The Ducks defensive backs were young and inexperienced to begin with and were facing a Trojans team with a number of quality receivers. That matchup looked to distinctly favor USC, but when the dust settled the Trojans had just 187 yards passing, and averaged just 4.9 yards per attempt. To put that number in comparison the Trojans running backs averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and the Ducks passing attack (which isn’t their strength) averaged 7.2 yards per attempt. The Ducks defense did a great job of taking away anything deep, and holding the Trojans top four receivers to under 10 yards per catch.

The Ducks offense faced a similar challenge since it looked like they didn’t matchup with the Trojans defense. USC’s defense hasn’t been as dominate as it has been in the past, but the majority of their failures have come against the pass. Their rush defense is much better than their pass defense. Their front seven is extremely quick and strong, and both of their safeties excel against the run. Oregon’s offense lives and dies by the run, while their quarterback Jeremiah Masoli is a very good dual threat QB, the Ducks lack the big play receivers to really challenge teams vertically. Though Oregon hasn’t had any problems running the ball this year, they are still without their big back LeGarrette Blount, who was suspended after getting into a fight after Oregon’s week 1 loss at Boise State. Blount would have given the Ducks a big weapon against the size and strength of that USC line. In the end though it didn’t matter, because the Ducks rushed their way to 391 yards on the ground, and put up a total of 613 total yards. Both the yardage and points allowed were the most allowed by a USC defense while Pete Carroll has been the head coach.

Oregon’s rout of USC should be a wake-up call for the rest of the college football nation, the Ducks are not to be taken lightly this year. They have beaten USC 47-20 and Cal 42-3, the two teams who were originally considered the best in the Pac-10. The Ducks have outscored their Pac-10 opponents 208-58 so far this season. As long as the Ducks don’t get too overconfident they should easily win out the rest of the season, and will be in the mix to play for a BCS Championship.

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