- Ted Miller, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- Oregon leads USC 29-17 at the break.
USC isn't wilting, but the Ducks' big plays are making the difference.
Turning point: USC took a 17-15 lead and then forced an Oregon three-and-out in the second quarter. The Trojans then faced a 2nd-and-10 on the Ducks' 44-yard line. Quarterback Matt Barkley appeared to call for the snap, then when it came, he wasn't ready. Oregon recovered the errant snap on the Trojans' 45. One play later, Jeff Maehl made a brilliant catch on a 45-yard TD pass for a 22-17 lead. The momentum swung to the Ducks.
Stat of the half: 8:42 -- That's Oregon's first-half time of possession. The Ducks scored four TDs. Three drives took 28 seconds or less.
Best player in the half: Maehl not only made a brilliant, tip-it-to-himself catch, he also caught a 15-yard TD pass. He had four catches for 82 yards at the break.
What Oregon needs to do, What USC needs to do: Oregon needs to continue doing what it's doing. Play solid defense. Assault the Trojans relentlessly on offense. Then wear them out. As for USC, it needs a defensive stop to start the third quarter and then some points. It needs to show immediately that the Ducks won't have things easy in the second half.