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Much like the Alabama-LSU tilt, this game has taken a hit as well, mainly due to the home team not performing as expected. USC already has two losses this year, while they both were on the road, they lost each game as favorites. The Trojans offense hasn't been as dominate as people thought it would be and their defense is nothing special. Oregon doesn't have an outstanding defense either, but their offense has lived up to expectations as they are scoring 53.4 points per game, the most in the country.
In similar games, Oregon beat Arizona by 49 points and Washington by 31 (both at home). USC played both of those schools on the road, most recently losing at Arizona by three and beating the Huskies by 10 points. USC hasn't had much trouble at home this year, but none of those opponents have a winning record. As for the Ducks, their wins on the road aren't as overwhelming. They beat Washington State by 25 points and Arizona State by 21, beating the spread only against the Sun Devils.
In that Arizona State game, Oregon was only able to score 43 points, their season low in Pac 12 play. The USC defense will have to step up if they want any chance because we've already seen that Matt Barkley can't do it by himself.
Not much is needed from freshman QB Marcus Mariota and he's done well for the most part. He has 1,438 yards on the season and a solid 18 passing TDs. His five interceptions could be better, but he's still completing 68.6 percent of his passes. Mariota has only attempted 26 passes in the last two games as their running game has been dominant. Kenjon Barner runs by everyone with ease. He's averaging 6.9 yards per carry (141 rushes, 974 yards) and has 14 touchdowns. De'Anthony Thomas spells Barner and he still has a solid 499 yards and seven TDs. Mariota can move as well with 378 rushing yards and three more TDs.
When needed, the Ducks have stepped up defensively as seen when they shut out Arizona. But they've also had games when they allowed 19 first half points to Washington State. In what is probably the first game they circled on their schedule, they will definitely be pumped up to face Barkley, especially after losing last year.
Barkley threw for 493 yards last week and three TDs, but he still had problems as he tossed two costly interceptions. He already has eight INTs for the season which is one more than he had all of last year. His 25 TDs are nice, but to win this game, he'll need to limit his turnovers. Marqise Lee went off last week with 16 grabs for 345 yards and two TDs. He's obviously going to be a main focus for Oregon, but Robert Woods also needs to be looked at who has 17 grabs and 225 yards in his last two games. Silas Redd hasn't gotten much work in recent weeks as Barkley has taken the forefront. Redd only has 16 carries for 70 yards in the last two games. To keep the Ducks off the field, the Trojans will more than likely feed Redd a good amount.
As mentioned before, USC won at Oregon last year 38-35 as 16-point underdogs. Barkley had 323 yards and four TDs in that game while Barner ran for 123 yards and two TDs. That game destroyed any chance the Ducks had to make the National Championship game.
USC is 4-1 ATS in their last five home games while the Ducks are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games. The under has hit four times in their last five meetings in Los Angeles. The favorite is 6-2 ATS in the last eight contests between these two schools.
Our model has this game right around the number, so no strong lean either way here, but that does suggest that USC has a shot in this game. The pressure is on Oregon here, so USC may be worth a look.
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