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College football: Nothing but ‘O’ in L.A.

USC falls to Oregon in shoot out at the Coliseum

Posted: November 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 4, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Oregon running back Kenjon Barner (24) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NCAA college football game against the Southern California on Saturday in Los Angeles. Oregon won 62-51.

 

LOS ANGELES — Last week, USC’s hopes of playing for a national championship were all but washed away with a loss to Arizona.

Now, by the looks of it, even a Pac-12 title is looking out of reach.

The preseason conference champion favorite Trojans couldn’t stop the spread offense of Oregon, which held on for a 62-51 win on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

BCS No. 4 Oregon (9-0 overall, 6-0 Pac-12) amassed 730 yards of total offense, which was the most ever against a USC team, breaking Notre Dame’s record of 623 set in 1946.

It was the second straight week an opposing offense put up big numbers against No. 17 USC after the Wildcats gained 588 yards and scored 39 points a week ago.

“Somehow we’ve played two games and both teams are over 600 in both games,” said USC head coach Lane Kiffin. “That’s not real sound and that’s not where we want to be.”

After being voted as the overwhelming favorite to win the Pac-12 and earning a No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press poll to start the season, the Trojans (6-3, 4-3) are now going to have to fight just to make it out the Pac-12 South Division.

Oregon, on the other hand, still hasn’t come across an opponent that could come anywhere near stopping its lightning-fast offensive scheme.

Led by running back Kenjon Barner and redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, the Ducks had their way with USC from start to finish.

“My offensive line, everybody held their blocks tonight,” said Barner, who had 38 carries for a school-record 321 rushing yards and five touchdowns. “I’ve said it before, if we communicate and we execute properly, it’s hard to stop us.”

On Saturday, it was nearly impossible to stop them as Oregon scored touchdowns on each of its first five possessions to go up 34-17 with 5:03 left in the first half.

Mariota completed 20-of-23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns.

“Obviously, they move the ball like that on a lot of people,” Kiffin said. “I didn’t think they would do it on us. Credit to them.”

USC put up quite a showing of its own on the offensive side, and three separate times fought within three points of the Ducks, but never led in the game.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley was 35-for-54 for 484 yards and five touchdown passes as the Trojans collected 615 offensive yards of their own.

Barkley completed two bomb touchdowns — 75 yards to Marqise Lee and 76 yards to Nelson Agholor — in the first half, but also threw two interceptions.

The game was still in doubt headed into the fourth quarter with the Ducks leading 48-38, but the teams only continued to trade scores — a formula that proved futile for USC.

“We felt like we could hold serve basically and it was a big deal for us,” said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. “We answered, then they answered, then we answered.”

The Trojans have three games remaining, all of which are being played in Southern California, as the only road contest will come against UCLA in two weeks. Next up is a home game against Arizona State on Saturday.

“You never want three losses in the beginning of November but at this point in the season, our focus is on Arizona State and Arizona State only,” Barkley said.

Notes: Barkley broke the Pac-12 record for career completions on USC’s opening drive. His fifth completed pass of the game in the first quarter broke the record of 933 set by Arizona’s Nick Foles last year … The first punt of the game occurred with 14:11 left in the fourth quarter, when USC kicked it away on a fourth-and-6 from its own 42 yard line. It was one of two punts in the game.

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