It wasn't necessarily the final score that was so shocking, it was the way in which the Oregon Ducks dismantled one of the top ranked teams in the entire country. Since their opening week loss at Boise State, Oregon has legitimately transformed in to one of the most complete football teams in the entire country.
Offensively, the Ducks were simply brilliant, shredding what has become a much maligned Trojan defense both on the ground and through the air. The Duck offense racked up an astounding 613 yards of total offense, converted 30 first downs, and hung 47 points on what many tab as the Pac-10's most skilled and capable defensive unit . Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli led the charge, accounting for 386 yards of total offense and assisting in two of the Ducks' five total touchdowns.
"You can't say enough about the o-line play and how they handled themselves tonight," said a deflective Masoli, "That was a good defense…a very big defensive front that we were going against, very strong and fast guys, they did an outstanding job tonight."
The offensive line not only made life easier for Masoli, but played an enormous role in running back LaMichael James' career day on the ground. On 24 carries, James gashed USC for 183 yards on the ground and a touchdown, continuing his assault on the record books for freshman running backs at the University of Oregon.
"He's a special player," said Oregon head coach Chip Kelly of James, "We knew that in the recruiting process. We were fortunate enough that we were able to redshirt him last year because we had two really good running backs. I said last week after the Washington game, the great thing about LaMichael James is he gets better each week. The challenge for him is, can he get better next week."
On defense, the Ducks struggled some in the first half stopping the Trojan offense. With highly touted freshman Matt Barkley at the helm, USC was able to engineer methodical, time consuming scoring drives that answered Oregon's quick strike offense. At halftime, Barkley was an efficient 16 of 22 for 138 yards and two touchdowns, appearing rather unphased by the hostile Autzen crowd.
"I thought he was outstanding," said Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti, "You know I thought he played like a senior. I think he's going to be a tremendous quarterback, he's already very good…it's hard to play here at Autzen and he was cool, calm, and collected."
The second half, however, was a different story. While Barkley avoided making crucial mistakes, the Trojan offense failed to move the ball with any real potency as the Duck defense held USC to only three points in the second half and a very modest 327 yards of total offense overall.
"We went to about three things in the second half that we were going to play," said Aliotti of his defense, "and our kids executed the plan. I don't know what to say. I'm happy, I'm half brain-dead, I'm proud of the kids…great feeling."
Next week the Ducks will travel south to meet the Stanford Cardinal next Saturday in Palo Alto. Though the Cardinal have enjoyed up and down success this season, Kelly and the Ducks say they remain focused and well aware of the potential threats that Stanford poses.
"The task at hand for us now is to go back to work Monday because Stanford is a really good football team," stated Kelly, "They've got a lot of weapons and we understand that…if you don't have the right character team, you're going to go out and fall on your face next week. We need to go out and continue to grow as a football team."
Ducks Overwhelming In All Phases, Trounce USC
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