USC Football Goes To Oregon For Pac-10 Opener

Sept. 18, 2005

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After a 2-year hiatus, 2-time defending national champion USC and Top 25 Oregon meet in the Pac-10 opener for both. Top-ranked USC--which has held down the AP No. 1 spot for more consecutive polls than anyone else--is riding a 24-game winning streak, 1 shy of the school and Pac-10 record. Head coach Pete Carroll's Trojans also have won their past 15 Pac-10 games and last 10 road contests. Troy has captured its last 11 games against AP Top 25 teams, but historically hasn't fared well against a ranked Oregon club. It's the third straight Trojan-Duck game in Eugene (and the fifth there in the past 6 meetings between the teams). Noisy 54,000-seat Autzen Stadium is sold out and has always been a challenging venue for Troy. The Trojans, who play 4 of their next 5 games on the road, are coming off a 70-17 blowout at home over Arkansas. The dynamic USC offense--which is ranked in the nation's Top 25 in every offensive category while averaging 67 points and 627 total yards--is led by the likes of 2004 Heisman Trophy QB Matt Leinart (the nation's passing efficiency leader by a mile), the dangerous TB duo of 2004 Heisman finalist Reggie Bush and LenDale White, a trio of outstanding pass catchers in WRs Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith and TE Dominique Byrd, and a veteran line that likely will see each member vying for national honors. This figures to be the toughest test yet for the maturing, rebuilding USC defense, which lost a pair of starters to injuries last week. Head coach Mike Bellotti's Oregon squad features a prolific offense guided by a hot signalcaller in QB Kellen Clemens (third nationally in total offense) and a talented receiver in WR Demetrius Williams. All the offense has to do is get close, as PK Paul Martinez tops the country in field goals (he already has kicked 12 this season). Oregon pulled out a close home win last Saturday over Fresno State, who USC will play in late November. The game will be shown live regionally on ABC-TV.

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