USC vs. Oregon review: Trojans forget to play defense

Robert Laberge

The USC-Oregon game Saturday night at the Coliseum produced many Trojans records. But not the good kind.

For every Saturday this season, the USC Trojans have seemingly managed to break some sort of record. However, Saturday's record-setting game against the Oregon Ducks is something that should quickly be forgotten.

That's because USC gave up 62 points, 730 yards of offense, including 426 yards on the ground, as USC lost to Oregon 62-51 at the Coliseum. We knew Oregon's running game was the best in the nation, but jeez.

Heisman candidate Kenjon Barner, the fine tailback for the Ducks, absolutely burned the USC defense. Oregon was blocking at will to have its star rumble through the Trojan defense, slicing and dicing his way to carve up USC's front four. Barner broke his school record with 321 yards rushing, a mark held by his predecessor and former Ducks star LaMichael James.

Barner also set a record for most rushing yards against USC.

The Oregon offensive line, and the wide receivers to their credit, were blocking flawlessly against USC's defense. Trojans T.J. McDonald and Jawanza Starling worked overtime getting after the shifty Ducks offensive playmakers.

Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota proved to be 45355345% better than Darron Thomas, as he completed 20 of 23 passes for 304 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Monte Kiffin was outgunned by Oregon's Chip Kelly, and by outgunned I mean Monte brought a knife to the gun fight.

In the past two games, USC has given 101 points and 1,345 yards of offense. That's not a recipe for a boost to win a game, and you have to blame it on the coach.

"If you have back-to-back games against two teams and they both go over 600 yards, we've got to change," head coach Lane Kiffin said in his post game press conference. "I just don't have the answer now, or I'd have tried to change something during the game."

After three years of trying to stop the high-flying Ducks, Monte's defensive game plan is at its worst, and that's continuing from last week's dismal lost against Arizona.

Monte isn't catching up to the spread-offenses that more teams are instituting. His NFL game planning isn't translating in college, and there should be a change in that regard.

Will Lane do the unthinkable and let his Dad retire in Miami? For a season with such high expectations severed by tough losses, it's time for Kiffin to make a move.

But there were good things

Nelson Agholor, the prized receiver from Tampa, Fla., showed why he was one of the top recruits in the nation last year. The true freshman caught six passes for 162 yards. It was a coming out party similar to Robert Woods in 2010 and Marqise Lee in 2011.

Woods looks as if he will enter the NFL draft, but with Agholor to take his spot the Trojans should transition smoothly.

Lee had another big day, grabbing 12 passes for 157 yards. Lee has to go to New York City with Barner as a Heisman finalist. He's leading the nation with 88 receptions and second in the nation in yards with 1,286. His return skills should also propel him to New York, as he's reached "Hold your breath, here comes Reggie (Bush)" mode with USC fans every time he has the ball in his hands.

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