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Thursday, November 1, 2012
Five Storylines: USC-Oregon

By Garry Paskwietz

Five storylines for the USC Trojans (6-2 overall, 4-2 Pac-12) going into their showdown with No. 4 Oregon (8-0, 5-0) at the Coliseum on Saturday.

1. USC's ability to regroup: The loss to Arizona was a body blow, as gut-wrenching of a defeat as the USC program has had in years. With the possibility of a national title officially off the table, the Trojans cannot afford to sit around and wonder what happened, they need to turn right around and face the best opponent on the schedule.

2. Oregon looking to bolster national title run: The Ducks are clicking on all cylinders these days and Chip Kelly has his team’s sights set on a national championship. Kelly is a ruthless coach and he will not hesitate to keep his foot on the gas if he gets an opportunity because he knows just what is at stake in this game.

3. Lane Kiffin play calling: The Ducks are going to get their points -- they are No. 1 in the nation in scoring average with 53.4 points per game -- so the Trojans need to make sure they get theirs as well. Kiffin played a big role with his play calls last year against Oregon as the Trojans piled up enough early points to hold on for the victory, he needs to put his offense in the same kind of position this year if he wants a similar result.

4. USC front seven vs Oregon blockers: The Ducks blocking schemes can create split-second holes for the blazing fast backs and the USC defenders need to be technically sound. The Trojans defensive linemen need to be strong up front and play their assignments while the linebackers need to fill the open spaces and make tackles.

5. Penalties: Neither team is going to be very proud of their penalty situation this year. USC ranks last in the nation -- 120 out of 120 teams -- while the Ducks sit at No. 108. This is likely going to be a game of runs as each team can get hot offensively but untimely penalties have a way of slowing momentum and limiting scoring chances.