"This was a real mess for us tonight," Pete Carroll said. "Oregon did everything that they wanted to do. I thought going in we would have a much better time defending their stuff but we just had a horrible time with it."
Saturday's matchup was billed as the Pac-10 game of the year, but it turned out to be a blowout, as Oregon's high-powered offense proved to be just too much for the fifth-ranked Trojans to keep up with.
For the third week in a row, the USC defense was exposed by a talented quarterback, this time putting together a poor performance against the Ducks in a lopsided 47-20 loss in Eugene.
The Trojans surrendered scary numbers on Halloween, and never were able to solve the Oregon offense, that finished the night with a season-high 613 yards of total offense.
The 613 yards allowed were the second most yards ever allowed by a USC defense.
"Their offense coaches really put together a heckuva plan," Carroll said. "It really wasn't that hard for them."
To give you an idea of just how poor USC's effort was, the only time they had given up more yards was to rival Notre Dame, way back in 1946, and the Ducks' 391 rushing yards were the most since Texas A&M had 486 in 1977.
The Ducks attack was led by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who made all the right moves on the ground, and all the right reads through the air, racking up 386 yards of total offense.
"We had a terrible time tackling Masoli tonight and we didn't figure that was going to be the big issue," Carroll said. "We thought that we would be able to get to him and get him down when we had our chances."
Masoli got the Oregon offense started early and frustrated the Trojans with his ability to break out of the pocket and use his legs to gash the defense for big gains. The 5-11, 220-pound quarterback ran tough in the open field and took advantage of the Trojans' poor tackling.
"The runs that he popped just broke our back," Carroll said.
Freshman running back LaMichael James also had a spectacular game running the ball for the Ducks, rushing for a game-high 183 yards. Masoli and James were the first duo to both surpass the 100-yard mark against USC since the 2001 season.
USC safety Taylor Mays didn't making any excuses for the lackluster effort, admitting that the Trojans simply got pushed around by a more physical team.
"It was everything that we were ready for but we just didn't execute," he said. "We just got beat up. We didn't tackle well and they busted us."
Masoli also proved that he could hurt the Trojans through the air when needed, connecting with former USC wide receiver Jamere Holland, who beat cornerback Josh Pinkard in the back of the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
Holland transferred from USC to Oregon following the 2006 season and came up with the first touchdown of his career against his former teammates.
"While the offense was moving it and staying alive, they gave us hope that we could hang with it until we settled [Oregon's offense] down, but we never did," Carroll said.
Barkley had 16 completions and two touchdowns at the half and wide receiver Damian Williams had 7 catches for 70 yards and a TD, but the Ducks pulled away in the third quarter and never looked back.
Barkley completed 21-of-38 pass attempts for 187 yards and a touchdown on the night and Williams finished with 9 catches for 82 yards in the loss.
The Ducks' 27-point win was the first time the Trojans have lost a game by more than seven points since 2002.
In the USC locker room, several of the players said this loss was particularly painful because of the way in which they were physically dominated from start to finish.
"We have a lot of pride in how play football at USC," Mays said. "To take a loss like this hurts, but we have a lot of heart and we have a lot of pride in our tradition, and we are going to come back very hard on Monday."
With the loss the Trojans fall to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the Pac-10.
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