USC vs. Oregon Preview

By Patrick Schmidt

No. 17 USC is coming off a heart-breaking loss at Arizona and now looks to save their season vs. No 4 Oregon Saturday night at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The Trojans racked up a ton of offense at Arizona including a record breaking performance by wide receiver Marqise Lee who finished with 345 yards and two touchdowns, but the USC defense couldn’t stop the Arizona offense as they lost by three to the resurgent Wildcats.

If they thought the Arizona offense created problems for the men of Troy, then they are going to have fits trying to slow down the high-powered offense Chip Kelly runs with weapons like Kenjon Barner and DeAnthony Thomas.

The Ducks are coming off a 70- point outburst vs. Colorado a week ago and boast the nation’s most prolific offense that averages 53.4 points per game.  The Ducks score quickly and often and do so in large part because of the aforementioned Barner and Thomas who lead the third ranked rushing attack with more than 330 yards per game.

Barner may wind up as a Heisman finalist this season if Oregon continues their winning ways as he has 974 yards and 14 touchdowns.

For all the attention and accolades that the offense has garnered and deservedly so, the reason why Oregon has a legitimate shot at winning the national title is the defense that ranks 24th in the country and shutout Arizona, the team that defeated USC last week, 49-0 September 22nd.

USC has playmakers in Lee and Robert Woods, one of the best receivers in school and Pac 12 history on the receiving end of Matt Barkley passes, but USC will need long possessions on offense to keep the Oregon offense off the field as long as possible Saturday.

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

That however, could be a problem as the USC run game has been inconsistent this season with Silas Redd serving as the lead back after his transfer from Penn State.  Redd has three 100-yard games but also has four games with 57 yards or less.

A loss Saturday would give USC their third conference loss and could end their bid for an appearance in the Pac 12 Championship Game, and a loss for Oregon likely ends their chance at a BCS National Championship appearance.

In a game featuring two outstanding offenses I think this game will be decided on the team who makes the most plays on defense.

Prediction: USC scores a lot, but Oregon scores a bit more as the Ducks soar 41-34.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports and an avid college football fan, and host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on airing live on Wednesday mornings from 8-10. View his show’s website here

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