LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 30: Lavasier Tuinei #80 of the Oregon Ducks reacts to his touchdown in front of Jawanza Starling #29 of the USC Trojans for a 29-17 during the second quarter at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 30 2010 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Oregon Offense Too Much For USC As Ducks Top Trojans

The USC Trojans are 7-12 all-time against AP No. 1 teams, including 4-5 at the Coliseum.

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Oregon At USC: Ducks Run Away From Trojans, 53-32

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - LaMichael James rushed for 239 yards and three touchdowns and Darron Thomas threw three of his four TDs to Jeff Maehl, as the No. 1 Oregon Ducks were too much for the 24th-ranked USC Trojans, scoring the final 24 points en route to a 53-32 triumph at the Coliseum.

The trio was part of a prolific offense that outgained the Trojans, 599-377, as the Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-10) matched a school record for most consecutive victories to start a season.

Thomas completed 19-of-32 throws for 288 yards, 145 of which went to Maehl on eight hookups.

USC (5-3, 2-3), playing its first game against a top-ranked foe since 1992, failed to do much offensively after scoring two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second half.

Matt Barkley completed 26-of-49 throws for 264 yards with two interceptions and a TD toss to Ronald Johnson. Marc Tyler rushed for two scores in the loss, the Trojans' third in their last four games.

The Trojans quickly erased a 29-17 halftime deficit in the third. Jurrell Casey picked off Thomas on the fourth play from scrimmage at the Oregon 21- yard line, and two plays later, Johnson settled down between a pair of defenders and hauled in a five-yard score.

USC forced a rare three-and-out from the Ducks, and Johnson's 55-yard punt return set up a Barkley one-yard plunge just 3:41 in. Johnson caught a two- point conversion after the TD for a 32-29 edge.

Oregon, wearing the all-white version of their ever-evolving jerseys, answered with a 12-play, 69-yard march that featured four third-down conversions, including Maehl's go-ahead score on 3rd-and-13 from the 30.

James carried the load on another lengthy drive later in the third, capping the 82-yard march with a two-yard spurt with just over a minute remaining in the quarter for a 43-32 cushion.

USC opted to go for the first down on 4th-and-9 from the Oregon 40 early in the fourth, and Barkley's pass to Jordan Cameron was stopped short of the marker.

Last year's conference champions held the ball for the next five minutes and pushed the margin to 46-32 via Rob Beard's 34-yard field goal with 7:18 to play.

John Boyett sealed the win with an interception of Barkley in the end zone, and James, on his 36th carry, put the finishing touches on his terrific game with an eight-yard TD run.

It was back-and-forth throughout the first half.

Joe Houston put the Trojans on the board with a 32-yard field goal 3 1/2 minutes in, and a play-action fake left Maehl open for a 15-yard score with 9:17 left. Oregon added a two-point conversion after the TD.

Tyler's one-yard dive gave USC the lead back late in the first quarter, but James went untouched for a 42-yard scamper early in the second.

Again the hosts had a response, as Johnson's 25-yard grab helped set up an eight-yard TD run from Tyler.

Oregon lost five yards on its next touch but got the ball back when Barkley fumbled a low snap out of the shotgun near midfield. On the next play, Maehl got behind the secondary and hung on for sensational 45-yard touchdown, juggling the ball before hauling it in while falling into the end zone with 6:45 left in the half.

Lavasier Tuinei found a seam down the middle of the field later on and brought in Thomas' 33-yard toss for a 29-17 cushion at halftime.

Oregon's 1933 squad also started 8-0...James, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on his first touchdown run, entered the game leading the nation in rushing at 161.8 yards per game...Maehl has a touchdown catch in six straight games...Tuinei caught seven passes for 78 yards in the win...Oregon's defense has allowed seven points in the fourth quarter this season...Johnson ended with 65 yards on four grabs, while Tyler had 69 yards on 17 carries...USC is 7-12 against No. 1 ranked teams, though its last win came in 1984 against Washington.

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Oregon At USC: With ESPN In Town, Trojans Undefeated

For the second straight year, the ESPN College GameDay crew are in town as the USC Trojans battle the Oregon Ducks. Last season, on Halloween, Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, and the gang were in Eugene, Oregon to watch the Ducks dismantle the Trojans 47-20. This year, USC hopes for some of the same home cooking as GameDay will be at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Saturday morning, before Saturday night's big game.

USC is undefeated at home when ESPN College GameDay makes the trip to Los Angeles:

  • October 9, 2004: No. 1 USC 23, No. 7 California 17
  • November 27, 2004: No. 1 USC 41, Notre Dame 10
  • December 3, 2005: No. 1 USC 66, No. 11 UCLA 19
  • September 16, 2006: No. 4 USC 28, No. 19 Nebraska 10
  • November 25, 2006: No. 3 USC 44, No. 6 Notre Dame 24
  • September 13, 2008: No. 1 USC 35, No. 5 Ohio State 3

At home with GameDay in town, USC is 6-0 and has defeated opponents by an average score of 40-14. Then again, the lowest the Trojans have been ranked in the Associated Press poll in those games was fourth, in 2006. USC is ranked 24th in the current AP poll.

This season, home teams are 7-0 with ESPN College GameDay in town. Saturday night's game can be seen at 5 p.m. PDT on ABC and ESPN3.com.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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Oregon At USC: By The Numbers

Saturday's prime-time matchup between the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks figures to be a high-octane battle of two of the best offenses in the country. Both squads are led by sophomore quarterbacks, Matt Barkley of USC and Darron Thomas of Oregon. Here is a look at Saturday's matchup, by the numbers:

  • USC is ranked seventh nationally, second in the Pac-10 in total offense, averaging 494.0 yards per game
  • Oregon is ranked 30th nationally, third in the Pac-10 in total defense, allowing 331.6 yards per game
  • USC is ranked 14th nationally, third in the Pac-10 in scoring offense, averaging 37.4 points per game
  • Oregon is ranked 12th nationally, second in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, allowing 15.9 points per game
  • USC is ranked 18th nationally, third in the Pac-10 in rushing offense, averaging 213.0 yards per game
  • Oregon is ranked 37th nationally, fourth in the Pac-10 in rushing defense, allowing 127.1 yards per game
  • USC is ranked 22nd nationally, third in the Pac-10 in passing offense, averaging 281.0 yards per game
  • Oregon is ranked 52nd nationally, third in the Pac-10 in passing defense, allowing 204.4 yards per game
  • USC has converted on 27 of 29 trips into the red zone (23 touchdowns, four field goals), a 93.1% conversion rate
  • Oregon has converted on 33 of 38 trips into the red zone (25 touchdowns, eight field goals), a 86.8% conversion rate
  • Oregon is ranked first nationally, first in the Pac-10 in total offense, averaging 569.1 yards per game
  • USC is ranked 87th nationally, seventh in the Pac-10 in total defense, allowing 402.4 yards per game
  • Oregon is ranked first nationally, first in the Pac-10 in scoring offense, averaging 55.1 yards per game
  • USC is ranked tied for 60th nationally, tied for fourth in the Pac-10 in scoring defense, allowing 24.3 points per game
  • Oregon is ranked third nationally, first in the Pac-10 in rushing offense, averaging 308.4 yards per game
  • USC is ranked 39th nationally, fifth in the Pac-10 in rushing defense, allowing 128.4 yards per game
  • Oregon is ranked tied for 31st nationally, fourth in the Pac-10 in passing offense, averaging 260.7 yards per game
  • USC is ranked 112th nationally (out of 120 teams), ninth in the Pac-10 in passing defense, allowing 274.0 yards per game
  • Oregon has allowed just 23 points in the second half this season (seven games), including just seven in the fourth quarter
  • USC has allowed its opponents to score on their final drive in six of seven games (all but Washington State)

Expect a shootout Saturday night at the Coliseum.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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Oregon Vs. USC: Yet Another Battle Of Ranked Teams

That the USC Trojans are battling the AP No. 1 Oregon Ducks Saturday is a relatively uncommon affair. After all, the Trojans haven't faced a team ranked number one in the Associated Press poll since 1992, and haven't defeated a top-ranked foe since 1984. What isn't new, however, is the fact that both teams are ranked.

USC is ranked 24th in the latest AP poll, the only poll in which they are eligible in this time of NCAA sanctions. Facing the top-ranked Ducks in a year the Trojans are ineligible for a bowl game makes Saturday night, in essence, the bowl game for USC. Will the Trojans be able to fill their bowl with Duck soup? That is the question that will be answered Saturday night on ABC, in the seventh straight season that both teams are ranked in the AP top 25 at the time of their matchup.

Here are the last six meetings between USC and Oregon:

  • 2002: No. 15 USC 15, at No. 14 Oregon 14
  • 2005: No. 1 USC 45, at No. 24 Oregon 13
  • 2006: at No. 7 USC 35, No. 21 Oregon 7
  • 2007: at No. 5 Oregon 24, No. 9 USC 17
  • 2008: at No. 9 USC 23, No. 23 Oregon 9
  • 2009: at No. 10 Oregon 47, No. 4 USC 20

The Trojans lead the all-time series with Oregon 37-17-2, but Oregon has won six of their last 10 meetings. The Ducks' last win at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum came in 2000, when the No. 9 Ducks beat the unranked Trojans 28-17.

The only other time in the series the series that featured AP No. 1 and No. 24 was 2005, when top-ranked USC scored a 45-13 victory on the road. The Trojans better hope for a different result for the top-ranked road team Saturday night at the Coliseum.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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Markeith Ambles' Suspension Should Leave Any Trojan Fan's Mouth Sour

In the wake of USC’s biggest and probably most important game of the year, head coach Lane Kiffin suspended freshman wide receiver Markeith Ambles indefinitely for violating team rules on Wednesday.

During Kiffin’s post-practice interview, he didn’t give many details of the suspension except that Ambles is “simply not meeting our expectations” in regards to meeting the standards as a student.

“We have extremely high standards for our players that we expect as student-athletes. Markeith wasn’t meeting those, so he’s been suspended indefinitely,” Kiffin said from the report from ESPN Los Angeles. “What you hope is that it serves as a wake-up call, that they understand the importance of something as special as a scholarship to USC can be taken away. You hope that they respond to it.”

Ambles is exactly the player that concerns me because a player of his caliber can go to waste if responsibilities are not met. Ambles came in to USC thinking he could live in the limelight right off the bat, but instead finds himself as last in the depth chart having only caught a pass for three yards this year.

The attitude and character of Ambles disturbs the tradition of USC football. Ambles was leaning towards going to the University of Tennessee before coming to USC, no doubt in my mind Kiffin told Ambles that in order for him to shine, he has to do it off and on the field.

It’s only his freshman season and there is plenty to learn. But playing in a position stacked with talent with an ego large enough to be seen a mile away could lead to a tough decision, like transferring.

As an out-of-state recruit, Ambles should exemplify the very character USC is and spread it to other recruits that are looking to enroll at the school and not distort that image.

And no, I’m not saying he should become a “cheater”, haters.

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USC Vs. Oregon: Freshman WR Markeith Ambles Suspended Indefinitely

The USC Trojans have suspended freshman wide receiver Markeith Ambles for Saturday's game against the Oregon Ducks, per ESPN Los Angeles:

USC freshman receiver Markeith Ambles has been suspended from the team indefinitely as a result of multiple late arrivals to team functions, two team sources confirmed Tuesday night.

Ambles has caught one pass this season for three yards. After practice Wednesday, coach Lane Kiffin addressed the suspension of Ambles, as well as those of fellow freshmen linebacker/fullback Simione Vehikite and safety Patrick Hall.

"We have extremely high standards for our players that we expect as student-athletes. Markeith wasn’t meeting those, so he’s been suspended indefinitely. We still, with all our suspensions, we give them academic help downstairs with our tutors, we still continue to push them academically. If you’re not going to come here to be a student-athlete, you should go somewhere else. We’re not going to let kids come here and not take a serious approach toward academics here and just think they can play football.

"The suspensions that have happened, going back to Simi, Patrick Hall and now Markeith, have all been all young kids that didn’t understand our expectation level. None of it has to do with anything with the law or anything criminal, anything big. It’s simply not meeting our expectations," Kiffin said, "What you hope is that it serves as a wake-up call, that they understand the importance of something as special as a scholarship to USC can be taken away. You hope that they respond to it."

For more USC news and information, be sure to read SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Vs. Oregon To Be Seen By 79% Of Country On ABC

The USC Trojans will have a large audience on homecoming, as they will host the Oregon Ducks on Saturday at 5 p.m. PDT. The game will be televised by ABC, with Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit, and Erin Andrews on the call. The ABC/ESPN telecast will be seen by 79% of the country, per ESPN:

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For the 21% of the country that won't get the game on ABC, the televast is available on ESPN3.com.

In addition, the ESPN College Gameday crew of Chris Fowler, Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, Andrews and the gang will be live from the Coliseum on Saturday morning, preparing for the battle between the No. 1 Ducks and No. 24 Trojans. This season, home teams that hosted ESPN College Gameday are undefeated:

  • September 11: Alabama 24, Penn State 3
  • September 18: Auburn 27, Clemson 24
  • September 25: Boise State 37, Oregon State 24
  • October 2: Oregon 52, Stanford 31
  • October 9: South Carolina 35, Alabama 21
  • October 16: Wisconsin 31, Ohio State 18
  • October 23: Missouri 36, Oklahoma 27

The top-ranked team in the Associated Press poll lost on ABC Saturday night college football on October 9 and October 16, and the BCS No. 1 Sooners lost last Saturday night.The last road team to win at a location which hosted ESPN College Gameday was Oregon, who defeated the Arizona Wildcats last November 21.

USC is 7-11 all-time against AP No. 1 teams, but hasn't faced a No. 1 team since 1992.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Vs. Oregon: Game Preview

(Sports Network) -- The nation's top-ranked team figures to face a stiff test on the road this weekend as the Oregon Ducks travel to Los Angeles to take on the 24th-ranked USC Trojans in a Pac-10 Conference showdown.

The Ducks improved to 7-0 last week with a 60-13 thrashing of UCLA. Because that game took place on Thursday, the team has had a couple of extra days to prepare for this week's matchup, although USC is coming off an open date. The Ducks own their first No. 1 ranking in school history, and all seven of their wins have come by double figures.

"I have a lot of respect for them," said Oregon coach Chip Kelly of USC. "I checked on them last week and it was 42-0 in the 2nd quarter. It's a good football team."

Speaking of USC, its only two losses to date have come on last-second field goals. The Trojans are 5-2 overall and crushed Cal by a 48-14 final last time out. Lane Kiffin is in his first season as the leader of a program which has certainly endured its share of off-the-field distractions.

"I'm very pleased by the way our players came out today," said Kiffin after the Cal win. "For the first time, we played in exactly the style we wanted to play in."

USC owns a 37-12-1 series lead over Oregon, but the Ducks have won two of the last three meetings.

Oregon possesses a legitimate candidate for the Heisman Trophy in tailback LaMichael James, who has rushed for 971 yards and 11 touchdowns. James is suffering from a minor leg injury, but that won't keep him out of action against USC. Darron Thomas is the quarterback of the Ducks, and while he is often overshadowed by James, the signal caller has had a banner campaign. Thomas has completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 1,539 yards with 17 touchdowns against only five interceptions. Jeff Maehl is the top receiver for Oregon, as he has made 39 grabs for 530 yards and six scores. The Ducks are racking up 55.1 ppg and 569.1 total ypg.

The Ducks amassed 582 total yards and 32 first downs en route to eight offensive touchdowns against UCLA last week. James ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while Thomas completed 23-of-31 passes for 308 yards and three scores. Maehl made eight catches for 107 yards and a score, while Remene Alston rushed for three touchdowns on just eight carries.

"Darren was really distributing the ball all over the place," said Kelly of his quarterback. "When we have receivers and Darren clicking like that, we are hard to stop."

Defensively, Oregon is limiting opponents to 15.9 ppg and 331.6 total ypg. The Ducks have been tough against the run, yielding a mere 3.4 yards per carry. They have been equally impressive against the pass, especially considering that they have already intercepted 13 balls. The 25 takeaways mustered by Oregon to date has been key to the team's success, and 19 sacks have helped the cause as well.

Oregon limited UCLA to 290 total yards and came up with three takeaways in that game. The Ducks were extremely tough against the run, holding the Bruins to 2.8 yards per rushing attempt. The pass defense was solid as well, yielding a lowly 6.9 yards per completion.

The USC offense figures to pose a much stiffer test than did UCLA. The Trojans are averaging 37.4 ppg and 494.0 total ypg, and Matt Barkley has quietly had a sensational season. Barkley has completed 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,869 yards and 20 touchdowns against four interceptions. Ronald Johnson leads the team with 39 catches and seven touchdowns, while Robert Woods is tops with 515 receiving yards. Allen Bradford paces the Trojan tailbacks with 560 yards and four scores.

In the romp over Cal two weeks ago, USC rolled up 32 first downs en route to 602 total yards. Barkley was nothing short of spectacular, passing for 352 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. Woods made seven catches for 116 yards and two touchdowns, and Johnson reached the end zone twice as well.

On the defensive side of the ball, USC is yielding 24.3 ppg and 402.4 total ypg. Of the 21 touchdowns that the Trojans have allowed to opposing offenses, 15 have been passing scores. Opposing quarterbacks are averaging 13.2 yards per pass completion and 274.0 yards per game through the air against USC, which has come up with eight interceptions. Foes are moving the chains on 43 percent of their third down conversion attempts, a figure that needs to improve. T.J. McDonald leads USC with 49 total tackles and three interceptions.

USC permitted just 245 yards to Cal last time out, including only 52 rushing yards on 20 attempts. The Trojans intercepted two passes and limited the Golden Bears to 23:53 of possession time,

"It's really frustrating to be talked down," said USC defensive lineman Jurell Casey, on responding to the criticism directed toward the defense. "Every week we've tried to brush it off and play the game we know we can play. Today I think we played that game. The key things were to wrap up and tackle, and I think everyone was on the same page today."

There is no doubt that USC has the talent to beat Oregon, but expect Kelly to out-coach Kiffin, leading the Ducks to a narrow and thrilling victory. Both Thomas and James will shine under pressure.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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USC Set To Host AP No. 1 Oregon Saturday

As the USC Trojans prepare to host the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, this is essentially the bowl game this season for the Trojans. USC, which is bowl ineligible this season while on probation, faces a team ranked number one by the Associated Press poll since 1992. The Ducks are ranked number two in the BCS, but hold the top spot in both human polls.

Here is a look at USC's all-time record against AP No. 1 teams:

  • 1937: California 20, No. 11 USC 6
  • 1938: No. 8 USC 13, Notre Dame 0
  • 1942: Ohio State 28, USC 12
  • 1947: Notre Dame 38, No. 3 USC 7
  • 1949: Notre Dame 32, No. 17 USC 0
  • 1951: No. 11 USC 21, California 14
  • 1954: Ohio State 20, No. 17 USC 7 (Rose Bowl)
  • 1961: Iowa 35, USC 34
  • 1964: USC 20, Notre Dame 17
  • 1966: Notre Dame 51, No. 10 USC 0
  • 1967: No. 4 USC 21, UCLA 20
  • 1968: Ohio State 27, No. 2 USC 16 (Rose Bowl)
  • 1978: No. 7 USC 24, Alabama 14
  • 1979: No. 3 USC 17, Ohio State 16 (Rose Bowl)
  • 1984: No. 12 USC 16, Washington 7
  • 1988: Notre Dame 27, No. 2 USC 10
  • 1989: Notre Dame 28, No. 9 USC 24
  • 1992: Washington 17, No. 20 USC 10

The Trojans are 7-11 against AP No. 1 teams, including 4-4 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC's last win against an AP No. 1 team came in 1984, when they defeated the Washington Huskies 16-7 at the Coliseum. The seven wins by the Trojans against top-ranked teams are second only to Notre Dame's eight.

For more USC news and information, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Conquest Chronicles.

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