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Saturday, October 30, 2010
Instant analysis: Oregon 53, USC 32

By Ted Miller

LOS ANGELES -- Oregon made a strong statement about its status as a national title contender with 53-32 win over USC. And about being the new big dogs in the Pac-10.

How the game was won: Oregon just wore down the Trojans, who turned in a game performance. The Ducks scored with quick strikes in the first half. They scored with power drives in the second half. Their defense did a solid job of containing one of the nation's best units.

Turning point: USC quickly overcame a 12-point halftime deficit to jump ahead of Oregon 32-29 with a pair of TDs scored on short fields in the third quarter. But the Ducks immediately answered with a pair of long TD drives that killed the Trojans' momentum. And seemed to exhaust the Trojans defense. USC never challenged again.

Stat of the game: Some weeks Oregon barely even sees third down. But against the Trojans they were 13-for-19 on third-down conversions, showing they can convert clutch plays on the road.

Player of the game: So many. While quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James put up great numbers, let's give this one to receiver Jeff Maehl, who caught eight passes for 145 yards and three TDs, including a beautiful, diving 45-yard TD grab.

Record performance: Oregon is now 8-0 for the first time since 1933.

What it means: This was a workmanlike effort by a team that seems like it's comfortable with all the national attention -- perhaps because, as coach Chip Kelly insists, they aren't paying it much attention. USC remains a talented team, and it fought hard, but it just didn't have enough talent and scheme to hang with the Ducks for four quarters.