Game 9 wrap-up: USC defenseless in Barner burner
Oregon 62, USC 51
USC defeated Oregon in Autzen Stadium a year ago, providing a boost of confidence and much anticipation for the follow-up on Saturday. Many had the date circled on their calendars since early January, and rode the hype and expectations through the summer and early fall. What they would find after one quarter is a difference in both teams, with the Ducks asserting themselves as the greater offense, and a Trojan defense consistently on its heels.
Though Oregon lost in Eugene, it outscored USC 28-17 in the second half, which included a 15-0 run in the fourth quarter. The Ducks picked up where they left off, outscoring the Trojans 14-3 in the first quarter on Saturday, which would eventually prove to be the difference in a 62-51 outcome. The teams played to a dead heat in the final three quarters, trading touchdown for touchdown, with USC unable to overcome the early 11-point deficit.
The 61 points scored by Oregon did more than mark the most by a Ducks team against USC, it also marks the most points scored by any Trojan opponent in 124 years of football. To put the scoring in a better perspective and understand the ease of which Oregon moved the ball, consider that those 61 points were tallied in just 28 minutes of possession.
USC successfully contained LaMichael James in its prior victory over Oregon, but still had no answer for Kenjon Barner, who also picked up where he left off. Barner rushed for 100 fourth-quarter yards in a 38-35 loss in Eugene, and established himself early and often at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The senior opened the game with 63 rushing yards in the first quarter, as Oregon built a 14-3 lead. He would finish with a school-record 321 yards on 38 carries, and account for 5 of his team’s 9 touchdowns.
“We’ve gotta reevaluate the whole thing. I take full responsibility; put it on the coordinator.”—Monte Kiffin
Monte Kiffin received praise after his unit limited Oregon to 35 points in 2011, and would bear the brunt of fan anger in the follow-up loss. That anger is warranted, when you check the 72-year old coordinator’s record against Chip Kelly’s offense.
In three year’s of devising schemes to slow the Oregon offense, Kiffin’s units have surrendered a combined 1,803 total yards and 150 points to the Ducks. Oregon has also rushed for 903 yards in the three games. The Ducks eclipsed the 60-point mark on two previous occasions in 2012, first against Tennessee Tech (63), who has now lost 7 straight games, and again against the lowly Colorado Buffaloes (70), losers of its last five. The third would come against USC, giving it something to share with two of the nation’s worst programs.
Southern California entered its last three games against Oregon with a flawed defensive scheme, and can earn a fourth confrontation with victories over Arizona State and UCLA. It’s pride and a possible Rose Bowl birth that welcomes a rematch on a new stage, but USC would tote the same baggage to the Pacific Northwest. In three years, the staff has failed to solve the Oregon equation. So in four weeks, why would we expect anything but the same?
Is it time for changes in the coaching staff? —-That’s a question we’ll continue to ask until USC rights the ship, but one that only Pat Haden can answer. The Trojans have dropped its last two games to programs implementing the spread offense, and will find three variations of the spread in the remaining three weeks. If there is indecision about the direction of the USC program, specifically defensively, it should become more clear by season’s end.
- Oregon’s 62 points established a record for opponent scoring versus USC, and the 730 total yards generated by the Ducks is also the most allowed by a Trojan defense.
- Kenjon Barner’s 321 rushing yards are the most ever by a USC opponent.
- USC and Oregon (113) became the third-highest scoring game between AP ranked teams in the history of the poll. The two games with most points scored were also played this year.
- USC’s 51 points and 615 yards of offense are the most Oregon has allowed all season.
- USC and Oregon combined for just 2 punts
- The 51 points scored by the Trojans are the most ever in a loss.
- USC is the third team in the last 3 years to begin No. 1 in the AP poll and suffer 3 losses during the season.
- The Trojans began the season as the highest ranked Pac 12 program. After 9 games, they are the lowest of 5 conference teams appearing in the AP poll, placing 21st behind UCLA (17), Stanford (16), Oregon State 13), and Oregon (2).