EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -- Even though they were trailing at halftime,
Carson Palmer and the rest of the Southern California offense were
confident of an easy victory over Oregon.
The Ducks' defensive vulnerability was easy to spot.
"We knew they couldn't stop us offensively and they didn't stop
us offensively,'' Palmer said after the Trojans (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) turned
a five-point halftime deficit into a 44-33 victory over Oregon (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 14 AP).
"The feeling in the locker room was that we were going to blow
it out,'' he said.
Palmer threw for a career-best 448 yards and matched a school
record with five touchdown passes.
"I loved every second of it,'' Palmer said. "There's nothing
better than playing in this place and beating these guys.''
With an upset loss to Arizona State last Saturday, any
aspirations Oregon (6-2, 2-2 Pac-10) had for the Rose Bowl are
The Ducks dropped consecutive games at home for the first time
since they lost to Washington State and UCLA in 1997.
However, Southern California (6-2, 4-1) stays in the conference
title hunt for a trip to Pasadena. The Trojans snapped a four-game
losing streak against Oregon.
Palmer's five touchdown passes tied Rodney Peete's mark in 1987
against Stanford. Palmer completed 31 of 42 attempts with one
Palmer's 448 yards passing broke his own school record. He threw
for 411 yards in a loss to the Ducks last season.
Freshman receiver Mike Williams caught 13 passes for 226 yards
and two touchdowns for the Trojans. It was his fifth straight game
with a TD reception.
"You can't give up the big play, the long plays,'' Oregon coach
Mike Bellotti said. "And that was our Achilles' heel today.''
Oregon's Jason Fife, who came in completing 60.9 percent of his
passes to rank No. 2 nationally in passing efficiency, went
20-of-45 for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He was intercepted
Oregon was hurt by its pass defense and offensive problems
getting into the end zone. The Ducks had to settle for four field
Last week against Oregon, Arizona State quarterback Andrew
Walter threw for 536 yards and four touchdowns.
"We knew coming in that they gave up a lot of passing yards,''
Ducks receiver Keenan Howry and Trojans wideout Kareem Kelly
each set a Pac-10 record with at least one reception in 43 straight
They broke the previous record of 42 games, set by Arizona's
Dennis Northcutt from 1996-99.
Howry punctuated his record-breaking catch in the first quarter
with a 54-yard TD reception on the next play, giving Oregon a 10-7
lead. Howry finished with seven catches for 147 yards and two
USC went up 14-10 on Palmer's 35-yard touchdown pass to Williams
with 5:08 left in the first.
After Oregon answered with Jared Siegel's 41-yard field goal,
Palmer put USC on the Oregon 5-yard line with a 42-yard pass to
But Palmer's next pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage by
Oregon linebacker David Moretti and intercepted in the end zone by
Oregon went up 16-14 on the ensuing series with Siegel's 45-yard
field goal to open the second quarter. Siegel added a 31-yarder to
make it 19-14 at the half.
Oregon had success early by forcing turnovers. Haloti Ngata
blocked Ryan Killeen's 22-yard field-goal attempt before the end of
the first half.
After the Trojans went up 20-19 to start the second half with
Palmer's 31-yard pass to Kelly, Oregon tackle Igor Olshansky
blocked Killeen's extra-point attempt.
It didn't matter. Southern California padded the lead with
Justin Fargas' 15-yard scoring run and Palmer's 15-yard TD pass to
Williams before the close of the third quarter. Palmer hit Malaefou
MacKenzie with an 8-yard scoring strike in the fourth.
Killeen added a 48-yard field goal to close out the scoring for
But the Ducks weren't done -- Terrence Whitehead scored on a
1-yard TD dash and Howry added a 31-yard scoring catch on a pass
from Fife as the game wound down.
"I really didn't find a rhythm until late in the fourth
quarter,'' Fife said. "We should have put up 50 points. But that
third quarter just killed us.''
Western Kentucky commit Jared Nash launches this snap from the bleachers and successfully sinks it in the garbage can.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher hopes quarterback Sean Maguire is ready to go full speed by the middle of June.
Graduate transfer quarterback Davis Webb has officially joined California, giving the Golden Bears an experienced option to replace No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Jared Goff.
First-year football coach Dino Babers, hired by former Syracuse AD Mark Coyle, is on the committee that will search for Coyle's replacement.
Hugh Freeze has some major holes to fill on offense with the departures of Laremy Tunsil and Laquon Treadwell, but there is Chady Kelly and good depth.
After transferring in from Montana State, Dakota Prukop has a checklist he's working from as he prepares to compete for the Oregon job.