ESPN.com Pac-10 blogger Ted Miller had a breakdown Thursday of how tight end Anthony McCoy had become the big-play threat for the USC passing attack, averaging 23.2 yards per attempt on throws of 15 yards or more.
USC will have to find a way to replicate that production elsewhere, because McCoy will not play Saturday against Oregon because of a sprained ankle.
"I'll be here, watch my boys on TV this week," said McCoy, who is second on the team with 16 receptions for 375 yards. "It's real frustrating that I can't go. I'll work hard and try to be back next week."
Havili likely to have his shot at redemption
In USC's 2007 loss at Oregon, fullback Stanley Havili lost a key fumble to set up a short touchdown.
He'll have a chance to redeem himself as the senior is expected to play despite a lingering shoulder injury.
"Every time you play a team, you want to do better that you did last time," Havili said.
Outside of some light running, Havili did not do any work Thursday. Still, coach Pete Carroll said Havili will play but would not start.
Mays called out – again
First, it was Congress. Now, ESPN analyst Todd McShay took aim at safety Taylor Mays.
The senior All-American admitted that he hasn't played his best the past two weeks.
"I feel like there's some stuff I could do," Mays said. "There are plays to make that I haven't made."
Matthews in the middle
USC fans will hear a familiar name Saturday night, only not in a way they might be familiar with.
Casey Matthews, the latest in a long lineage of standout football players, will be starting for Oregon as its middle linebacker.
A junior, Matthews leads Oregon with 44 tackles. He also has 4 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception this season.
"He's really a good player, just a classically Matthews football mentality," Carroll said. "He does everything right and makes things happen.
"It's just amazing, this family. I don't know where it comes from. They certainly have a way about them."
Then again, despite playing in a showdown of the nation's No. 5 and 10 teams, Casey might only be involved in the second-biggest football game featuring a Matthews this weekend.
- Receiver Damian Williams returned to practice Thursday and will start against Oregon.
- Defensive tackle Christian Tupou (knee) continued to work with the first-team defense and is expected to start.
- Carroll pulled his annual Halloween stunt Thursday, this time scaring players with a tale of a giant snake loose inside Heritage Hall during a team meeting.
-ESPN College GameDay will be broadcasting from Autzen Stadium, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. The Trojans are 10-0 in regular season games when College GameDay has been present (Cal 2004, Notre Dame 2004, Arizona State 2005, Notre Dame 2005, UCLA 2005, Nebraska 2006, Notre Dame 2006, Nebraska 2007, Ohio State 2008, Ohio State 2009)
USC safety Taylor Mays has received some criticism this week for his physical play.