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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

USC Can't Hang with Oregon, Falls 62-51

The Trojans made it close, but the Ducks proved simply unstopable, setting numerous records against USC.

In the 124-year history of USC football, no one has ever done what Kenjon Barner and the Oregon Ducks did on Saturday.

Oregon put up 62 points, the most ever scored on USC. They gained 730 total yards, 426 of them on the ground. Running back Kenjon Barner rushed for 325 yards and five touchdowns. All of those records against USC.

"They've moved the ball like that on a lot of people," said USC coach Lane Kiffin. "I didn't think they would do it on us."

The Ducks scored a touchdown on their first five possesions of the game, including a 75 yard drive that took 1:05 to open the game. After missing a field goal and then fumbling on their last two drives of the first half, Oregon came out with three straight touchdown drives to start the second.

"I kinda felt like we had to score on every possession," said USC quarterback Matt Barkley.

For Barkley's part, the Trojans nearly did just that. After getting a field goal on their first drive, Barkley threw an interception in the endzone when wide receiver Marqise Lee was "mugged" by the defensive back. Oregon, naturally, scored on the ensuing possession, and the Trojans were in a 21-3 hole just like that. But Barkley orchestrated touchdown drives on three of the next four possessions, including one play drives with 75 yard and 76 yard touchdown passes to Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, respectively.

And yet in a game where the USC defense was historically awful, it was offense mistakes that were lamented most. There was Barkley's first interception, which USC felt was obvious pass interference. But Barkley threw another interception late in the first. He did well to avoid a sack, but then tried to force a ball to Lee in quadruple coverage.

Then with the Trojans driving with a chance to make it a three point game at halftime, Marqise Lee tried to do a little to much with a bubble screen and dropped the ball on the Oregon 15-yard line, a wasted opportunity for the Trojans.

Said Kiffin after the game, "What I'm lamenting most is those three drives we should have done more with."

USC took the first drive of the second half into the endzone to make it a three point game, sending a sold-out Coliseum into delirium. Both teams traded touchdowns, but then the Ducks defense got their first stop of the game and, naturally, scored on the ensuing possession to take a 55-38 lead.

The Trojans anwered to again make it a 10 point game, and Nickell Robey came within inches of recovering an onside kick of USC. But he fell out of bounds before retaining possession and it was all over from there.

But there was some good news last night for the Trojans. UCLA smoked Arizona to hand the Wildcats their fourth conference loss of the seson and control of the Pac-12 South back to USC. Assuming the Bruins and Trojans win next week, their Nov. 17 game would decide the South Division and send the winner to the Pac-12 Championship game, presumably in Eugene, Ore.

What a rematch that would be.

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