USC's defense held Oregon to 85 rushing yards — it’s lowest total since a 2013 loss to Stanford and only the third time the Ducks had been held below 100 yards on the ground since the 2011 season.
The Trojans played behind the line of scrimmage, collecting seven tackles for loss, including three sacks, and they limited the quack attack to 288 total yards — 231 yards below their season average coming into the game.
It was a satisfying performance for the USC defense.
“We came out with a great mindset,” senior linebacker Michael Hutchings said. “They're a top rushing team in the conference, top 25 in the country and we kept them to 85 yards rushing.”
“Knowing that they were a top rushing offense in the country and just a high-powered offense in general. I was pretty satisfied with the way we played on defense.”
The Trojans’ 45-20 victory was also a bit of redemption for the defense against Oregon after the Ducks had scored at least 35 points in the last five meetings between the schools. In the last two matchups, Oregon averaged 55 points in a pair of wins.
The breakneck tempo that Oregon has been known for under Mark Helfrich and Chip Kelly previously was more of a broken leg hobble on Saturday night at the Coliseum. USC’s defenders lined up correctly, performed their individual tasks and collectively stopped the Ducks over and over and over.
“It was great...for the first time,” Hutchings said of beating Oregon. “I think last year compared to this year I didn't feel overwhelmed this time. Usually their skill players and the speed of that game is usually no one like it. They are the innovators of the fast offense.
“This time we felt prepared and I think it goes to our service team during the week. They had a great week preparing us and we're starting to catch up a little bit and get used to the tempo.”
Now the Trojans move ahead to a matchup with undefeated No. 4 Washington, who is averaging 48 points and 499 yards per game. It’s a showcase opportunity for a USC team that was written off after a 1-3 start that included a 52-6 drubbing by No. 1 Alabama.
Hutchings said the team will be treating the Washington matchup like just another game. But the Trojans have struggled on the road against quality opponents recently, so this is a chance for them to play with their backs against the wall.
“I think this is the perfect time for us to go up and play a game like that,” Hutchings said. “With us on a roll and us getting better every week, it's time for a great game and a great dog fight.”
Watch Michael Hutchings, above, talk about USC's dominant defensive performance against Oregon and the upcoming matchup with the Huskies.
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