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Oregon +16 over USC – The high-scoring Oregon Ducks waddle on down south to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to take on rival Pac-10 hosts, the USC Trojans, who are coming off of what has become their annual head-scratching-loss-to-a-lesser-team Game. The previously #1 ranked Trojans were totally dominated on both sides of the ball by the Oregon State Beavers, a team they were favored by 25 pts to beat. A team that had lost to Pac-10 doormat Stanford by 8 pts, and who were totally destroyed by Penn St by 31 pts.

Last year it was visiting Stanford edging USC by a point in a Game the Trojans were favored to win by around 30 pts. The year before that is was, again, the Oregon State Beavers edging the Trojans in a 33-31 shootout at Corvallis. You’d think these highly rated teams would have learned by now that they can’t take anyone for granted. Especially when it has already happened 2 years in a row! But time and time again they believe all of the hype and press and think all they have to do is show up for an automatic win. The differeNCe between a #1 ranked team and a #50 ranked team can close awfully fast when one team shows little intensity and the other team is emotionally sky-high. Oh well, enough preaching. But maybe USC wasn’t as good as we all thought anyway. They did annihilate Virginia to open the season, but then Virginia was last seen getting destroyed by ACC doormat Duke by 4 TD’s. And then the Trojans killed Ohio St, which justified their ranking in many people’s eyes. But since then Ohio St has missed 2 more covers with rather pedestrian efforts against Troy and Minnesota to go 0-4 ATS on the year, so maybe they were a little over-hyped also. This week’s Game at Wisconsin may give us a little further insight there.

Anyway, the Trojans, who have now dropped to #9 in the polls, were held to just barely over 300 yds of offense against the Beavers, and zero 1st half points. They scored just 21 pts overall with the last TD coming with just a minute left in the Game and Oregon State up 27-14. Their potent running Game was held to under 90 yds rushing, and their defense, which had been holding opposing offenses to just 50 yds rushing per Game, was scorched for 186 yds and 2 TD’s by 5’6” 180 lb RB Jacquizz Rodgers. Beaver QB Lyle Moevao was able to hit nearly 65% of his passes for another 167 yds and 2 TD’s with no INT’s. In fact, the Beavers did not turn the ball over at all as compared to 2 costly TO’s by the Trojans. Oregon State was also able to control the clock on the Trojans with nearly a 10:00 time-of -possession advantage. The Trojans now have to try and regroup off of this disappointing loss and will have to not only run the table, but hope for a miracle if they are to have any shot at the national championship, which is really their only goal this year.

It won’t come easy this week with the high-flying Oregon Ducks coming to town. The #23 ranked Ducks come in at 4-1 and already have 2 Conference wins under their belt. Their only loss has been a 37-32 shootout vs #17 ranked Boise St. They are averaging an impressive 47.5 pts per Game, having scored at least 32 pts in every Game, and have gone over 60 pts twice. The Ducks can certainly move the chains on offense as they are averaging over 530 yds of total offense and an amazing 27 first downs per Game. The powerful running Game, which is averaging 308 yds per Game, is led by the duo of RB Jeremiah Johnson (65 rushes for 440 yds and 6 TD’s) and LeGArrette Blount (67 rushes for 482 yds and 8 TD’s) who are combining for a hefty 7 yd per rush average. The air attack, which is averaging around 223 yds per Game, has been led by a QB-by-committee approach due to injuries, and the fact that there was no clear-cut winner coming out of the Spring camp. 6’6” QB Justin Roper, who was injured in the Purdue Game, could be ready for this Game. If not, the Ducks still have 2 choices in junior-college transfer Jeremiah Masoli (381 yds, 4 TD’s, 0 INT) and FR Darron Thomas (210 yds, 3 TD’s, 1 INT), who have been very capable in running the offense. They’ve also got FR Chris Harper, who offers a nice change of pace as a running threat. In limited action, Harper has rushed 34 times for 138 yds and 2 TD’s, as well as throwing for a TD. Whoever is out there will have a nice quartet of receivers to go to though as Jaison Williams (20 rec., 288 yds, 3 TD’s), Ed Dickson (20 rec., 266 yds, 2 TD’s), TereNCe SCott (18 rec., 272, 2 TD’s) and Jeffrey Maehl (18 rec., 205, 2 TD’s) have combined for over 1000 yds and 9 TD’s and a 12 yd per catch average.

The Oregon Duck defense returns 8 starters from a year ago from a team that ranked right in the middle almost, at #60 in the nation (38th vs the rush/86 vs the pass). So far this year they have held 4 of their 5 opponents to under 95 yds rushing, and 4 of 5 opponents to under 207 yds passing. Purdue burned them for 200 yds on the ground in Oregon’s 32-26 OT road win there a few weeks ago. And Boise’s potent air attack torched them for almost 400 yds passing in that shootout, but they did hold the Broncos to a paltry 38 yds rushing on 34 attempts, for a miniscule 1.1 yd per rush average.

USC should be able to move the ball and Scorepoints vs this Duck team, but not sure they can out-Scorethem by 16 pts., seeing as Oregon is averaging close to 50 pts per Game themselves.
8 of the last 10 match-ups between these 2 teams has been decided by 15 pts or less, and 7 of those were decided by 11 pts or less. Oregon has actually won 6 of those 10 Games SU, although the Trojans have won 3 of the last 4. Oregon won last year’s meeting in Eugene 24-17 to give USC their 2nd loss of the season.
I like Oregon to hang around in this Game, as on paper this should be a much tougher opponent than last week for USC. I’ll take the Oregon Ducks plus the 16 pts. Oregon +16



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