Ducks Smashed in the Coliseum

Los Angeles – It was a game of pure frustration for the Oregon Ducks as they were battered 44-10 by the No. 9 USC Trojans. While the Ducks had a blueprint created by Oregon State on how to beat the Trojans, the Ducks either couldn't or wouldn't stop Troy's Mark Sanchez as he threw for three touchdowns and over 300 yards of passing.

(PHOTO) Patrick Chung (15) and the Oregon Ducks couldn't stop USC from scoring in the waning moments of the first half at the LA Coliseum. (Photo by Chris Wilson)

"This is exactly what we needed," said USC Head Coach Pete Carroll. "This was exactly the game we were looking for. We had to remember what it means to play in the Coliseum."

Oregon opened the game up with a solid drive capped off by Jeremiah Johnson's 1-yard touchdown run. The Ducks were able to add a field goal, but that was the story on the Oregon offense as the Ducks failed to pick up first downs to keep drives alive.

More painfully though, was the Ducks inability to do anything with USC's play-action and that allowed Sanchez to erase the stinging memory of the loss to Oregon State last week. Sanchez had little to no pressure applied to him and unlike the Beaver's flying defense, the Ducks looked anchored to spots on the field, giving Trojan receivers lots of room to maneuver.

"We certainly were not doing a good enough job against the play-action pass, especially on fir down," admitted Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti. "We're going to see it until we stop it. USC has some great athletes and are very fast at tailback and receiver. Sanchez was very accurate. They did a nice job protecting him and moving the pocket around."

Sanchez was 19-for-28 for 332 yards and three touchdowns.

The Trojans leading receiver was Joe McKnight with five catches for 86 yards while Turner also had five snags for 77 yards and a touchdown. Damian Williams had four receptions for 76 yards and a touchdown. David Ausberry pulled in three passes for 74 yards a touchdown while Ronald Johnson had two catches for 78 yards with a long of 63 and a score.

Jeremiah Masoli worked very hard but the Ducks were too often in third and long situations and even in those times when the first down conversion was manageable, Oregon couldn't find a play to work. Masoli finished the night with a disappointing 18-for-29, 156 yards and an interception. Terence Scott had five catches for 46 yards and Jaison Williams had four grabs for 31 yards.

Jeremiah Johnson had hoped to do big things in the Coliseum tonight, but other than the first drive when Oregon ran directly at the USC defense, the Duck running game was no where to be found. The Ducks were held to 60 yards net rushing. Johnson led the Oregon runners with 45 yards on 13 carries.

"We had an empasis this week on having me be the eighth man and stacking the box," said USC Safety Kevin Ellison. "They have a great running game, but we had seen that other teams had some success with eight men in the box."

Ellison had a career high 12 tackles tonight, all in the first half.

Earlier in the week Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti had concerns about allowing USC's great team speed come into effect but it did and when Williams fumbled the ball at Oregon's own 22 and Sanchez went to work hitting Patrick Turner for the touchdown that put USC up 27-10. After that it was all down hill for USC and a struggle for Oregon.

The Trojan running game was not completely in high gear but it was effective enough. C.J. Gable was the leading rusher with 10 carries for 49 yards. Stafon Johnson ran it seven times for 43 yards with a 22-yard touchdown run.

"We couldn't stop the run and the play action got us," confessed Oregon's Jairus Byrd. "Once we couldn't stop the run, the whole playbook just opened for them. We played a lot of zone because we couldn't stop the run."

USC field goal kicker David Buehler had success from 21 and 42 yards.

Matt Evensen had one field goal for Oregon good at 24 yards.

Byrd who finished with nine tackles (eight solos) led Oregon on defense; he also had an interception and a pass break up. Patrick Chung also had nine tackles (seven solos) including assisting on a tackle for loss. Casey Matthews and Nick Reed recorded sacks.

The Ducks fall to 4-2 for the season, 2-1 in the Pac-10 race while USC is 3-1 and 1-1 in conference play.

"This loss is not that hard to come off of," Jeremiah Johnson remarked. "We're tied right now with them. USC is a great team, but we just need to get back on Monday and tell everyone it's time for us to come out with good intensity."

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