(PHOTO) USC Trojans defensive end Greg Townsend Jr. (93) raises his hand to block Oregon Ducks quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. (3) at Autzen Stadium. (Photo by: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)
"They (USC) are just so talented. A couple times we got lucky, but we responded," said Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich of the game. "We always respond the right way. We learned what happens when you line drive it down the middle to Adoree Jackson, who is a phenomenal player. Just a huge win. We've got a quick turn around and we have to get ready for Oregon State."
Adams was completely at ease in the pocket as he found receiver after receiver wide open. USC was never really able to find a solution to the Vernon Adams though they managed to sack him three times in the second half.
“I was a big USC fan growing up, being from that area," admitted Adams. "It is an awesome feeling. I’m so happy for the guys in that locker room and the rest of the seniors. It is a great feeling.”
The Ducks led comfortably at halftime, 31-14 but the third quarter found Oregon quickly after the kickoff to start the second half to make it 38-14. However, USC came back to score twice to make it a 10-point game, 38-28 when the quarter ended after the Ducks were forced to punt from the Oregon endzone and Adoree’ Jackson returned the ball 43-yards for a TD.
In the fourth quarter the Trojans seemed to have momentum on their side until USC quarterback Cody Kessler was sacked by Aarion Springs and fumbled the ball. DeForest recovered the ball on the USC 32. Adams made short work of the ensuing possession by finding Charles Nelson on a wheel route for a 26-yard score – one play, one pass, one catch and one score.
Royce Freeman was the workhorse for the Ducks by carrying the ball 20 times for 147 yards, but for the second game in a row, the Ducks did not score a rushing TD.
Bralon Addison was the leading receiver with five catches for 105 yards including a 49-yard touchdown reception. Darren Carrington had four grabs for 66 yards with a 37-yard TD. Tight end Evan Baylis had two catches and the longest passing play of the day covering 52 yards for a TD. Dwayne Stanford had four catches for 57 yards and a 21-yard TD. Running back Kani Benoit was standing all alone in the endzone when Adams spotted him 26 yards away. It was Benoit’s only catch of the day. Benoit also had 16 yards of rushing on four carries. Nelson’s only catch of the day was the 26-yard score and that was when he lined up as a running back.
“It was the one I threw to Charles at the sideline," said Adams. "I got so excited because I thought initially the safety was going to pick it off and Charles came out of nowhere and just snatched it. I was just so happy. Happy for Charles and O-line.”
Offensively, the Ducks finished with 578 yards of total offense, 407 passing and 171 rushing.
Cody Kessler was 30-for-41, 238 yards and two touchdowns. Darreus Rogers grabbed one of the TD passes (27 yards) while Tyler Petite caught the other (12 yards).
Ronald Jones ran the ball in for a score from 12 yards out, part of his 56 yards on 14 carries. Justin Davis was the top rusher for USC with 16 carries for 141 yards.
Nelson had 114 yards kick returns giving him 140 total all-purpose yards. He also recorded one break up on defense plus an assisted tackle.
Aidan Schneider was 2-for-2 in field goal attempts, hitting from 37 and 22 yards. He also booted six point after attempts successfully.
Adoree’ Jackson returned a punt for 41 yards for a score. The Trojans did not attempt a field goal.
Matt Wogan continued his success kicking off and creating touchbacks. He had nine kickoffs to the Trojans and five of those kicks ended up as touchbacks.
Defensively, the Ducks allowed 424 yards to USC but recorded five sacks among eight tackles for loss, forced and recovered one fumble plus hurrying Kessler three times.
“Coach was talking about stopping the run early, forcing them to pass, and getting pressure on Kessler," said DeForest Buckner. "We did a pretty good job with that in the first half. In the second half they made some adjustments, so we had to make some adjustments on the fly. We did a pretty good job with that.”
Joe Walker was the leading tackler with 15 (nine solos) including a sack. Buckner also had a sack plus given an assist on a TFL, plus recovering a fumble. Aarion Springs had a sack while Tui Talia had two sacks. Ugo Amadi and Rodney Hardrick were credited with TFLs along with Khalil Oliver with an assist on a TFL.
Springs was given credit for the forced fumble.
Olajuwan Tucker was the leading tackler for USC with six solos including two TFLs of which one and half was a sack. Anthony Sarao also had a sack as did Su’a Cravens who was given credit for one and a half sacks. Chris Hawkins picked Adams off in the USC endzone, preventing Oregon from scoring on its first drive.
Oregon has now won five games in a row and hope for a California win tonight against Stanford for a chance to go to the Pac-12 Championship game. If Stanford wins then there is no chance to go the championship game regardless of what happens next Friday against Oregon State in the Civil War.
"Sunday we won't practice per se, but we will have a debrief in every phase of offense, defense and special teams," said Helfrich of what happens next. "We will get treatment. We will flip the page and evaluate this. By 3:30 tomorrow, it will all point toward Oregon State."
•Vernon Adams Jr. tied the Oregon record with six touchdown passes and became the eighth quarterback in program history to pass for 400 yards (407) in a game.
•Adams’ six touchdown passes were the most ever allowed by USC in a game.
•The game marked the first time six different players made a TD reception for the Ducks. •The 52-yard touchdown by Evan Baylis was his career-long reception and longest TD pass in an Oregon uniform for Adams.
•Royce Freeman eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the seventh straight game and ninth time this season. He finished with a game-high 147 yards on 20 carries. Freeman’s 15 career 100-yard efforts ranks second only to LaMichael James’ UO record of 26.
•Arrion Springs picked the perfect time for his first career sack, forcing a fumble that was recovered by DeForest Buckner, when the Ducks’ lead was down to 10 in the fourth quarter. Adams found Charles Nelson on a 26-yard touchdown pass on the game’s next play.
•Buckner had 1.5 tackles for loss, moving into 10th place on the UO career list with 33.5.
•UO improved to 15-0 in games when Darren Carrington makes a reception and 18-1 when he plays.
•Bralon Addison had a game-high 105 receiving yards on five grabs, including a 48-yard touchdown.
•Joe Walker made a career-high 15 tackles, including a sack.
•Adams extended his personal streak to 34 straight games with a touchdown pass.
•Adams’ touchdown pass to Addison in the first quarter marked the 79th straight game for Oregon with a passing touchdown, extending the Ducks’ NCAA record.
•The crowd of 59,094 was a season high and marked the 109th straight sellout at Autzen Stadium.