Sunday, November 1, 2009
Oregon offense rolls over stunned USC
By ESPN.com staff ESPN.com
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
EUGENE, Ore. -- Let's not go overboard celebrating Oregon's 613 yards of offense in a 47-20 victory over USC. It's not like that's the most yards ever recorded against the Trojans.
AP Photo/Don Ryan
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli hurt the Trojans with his passing and his running in Saturday's rout.
In 1946, Notre Dame had 623, so 613 is only the second-most USC has surrendered in program history. Who cares about second place?
The Ducks 391 yards rushing? A pittance. Texas A&M had 486 in the 1977 Bluebonnet Bowl.
A 27-point margin of defeat? Trojans lost 27-zip at Washington 1997.
UCLA scored 48 vs. USC in 1996.
Oh, you mean has an offense ever poleaxed a USC defense during the nine-season Pete Carroll Era like Oregon did Saturday night in front of a raucous, jubilant, record crowd of 59,592 inside cozy Autzen Stadium on Halloween night?
It was stunning to watch.
Oregon's 47 points were 13 more than it has scored in 56 previous meetings with the Trojans. Carroll's worse previous loss as USC's coach was a 27-16 defeat at Notre Dame in 2001.
"This was a real mess for us tonight," Carroll said. "Oregon did everything it wanted to do. I thought, going in, we'd have a much better time defending their stuff. But we just had a horrible time with it."
The Ducks whirling dervish of an offense wasn't flawless playing against a defense that ranked No. 5 in the nation against the run (80 yards per game) and was 16th in total and scoring defense. They did fumble once, which set up a USC touchdown.
But that was about it. The Ducks offense is an unrelenting, fast-breaking frenzy that left the nation's premier defensive program completely flummoxed.
"When we get in our rhythm, no one can really hang with us," quarterback Jeremiah Masoli said.
Masoli operated like a point guard, one who can score and dish, who can shoot from the outside or drive to the basket and finish. He carved up the Trojans as a runner and passer, distributing his throws among seven different receivers, none of whom caught more than four passes . He completed 19 of 31 for 222 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. He also rushed for 165 yards on just 13 carries -- 12.6 yards per pop -- and a score.
Redshirt freshman running back LaMichael James rolled up 183 yards on 14 carries. It was his fifth 100-yard game this season. James and Masoli were the two stars, but five Ducks scored touchdowns. For every Duck, it was their first touchdown vs. the Trojans, who beat Oregon 44-10 last year.
The Trojans offense, led by quarterback Matt Barkley, mostly matched the Ducks in the first half. Oregon's lead was only 24-17 at at the break, and the Ducks advantage in total yards was only 251 to 193.
So the Ducks outgained the Trojans 362 to 134 in the second half.
"We felt like we would eventually wear them down," Oregon coach Chip Kelly said.
Think about that for a moment. The Ducks thought they'd "wear down" the impossibly deep and talented Trojans. And they did.
"When we kept rolling in the third quarter, you could see that in their faces," Masoli said.
And that's not just about the Ducks no-huddle, just-try-to-keep-up offense.
"Eventually, all the pressure that we were putting on them started to wear on them," defensive tackle Brandon Bair said. "We outworked them."
Oregon had two sacks. USC, which entered the game leading the nation with 29 sacks, had zero. USC's three tackles for a loss cost Oregon three total yards.
Heck, Oregon never wins the time of possession "battle." Kelly makes fun of time of possession and calls it irrelevant. The Ducks are last in the Pac-10 in time of possession. Yet they held the ball for 31 minutes, two more than the Trojans.
"I'm sure they're shocked," said Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews, whose brother Clay starred at USC. "A lot of those people have never experienced a loss like that -- ever."
Said USC safety Taylor Mays, "We got beat up. They busted us.”
If Oregon can run the table -- and there's plenty of work left on the schedule -- it might play its way into national title contention. But that notion will inspire an endless rehashing of the debacle at Boise State in the season-opener.
"It was a long time ago," Matthews said. "We're definitely a better team now."
That's for sure.
The Oregon offense didn't get a first down until the third quarter at Boise. It had 31 vs. the mighty Trojans.
"That's just Oregon football," Masoli said. "That's how we roll."