No. 4 USC Football Goes To No. 10 Oregon On Halloween
Oct. 25, 2009
No. 4 USC goes back on the road for the fifth time this year and faces No. 10 Oregon, the Pac-10 leader, on Halloween night in sold-out (54,000-seat) Autzen Stadium. The Ducks are always a challenging foe for USC, as they have won 6 of their last 11 meetings against Troy. The Trojans are barely above .500 when playing at Oregon. Troy has lost in its last 3 trips to the state of Oregon (twice at Oregon State and once to the Ducks). USC has won its last 10 games against AP Top 25 teams (this is the Trojans' fourth road game against a ranked opponent in 2009). USC's Pete Carroll, college football's winningest active coach (85.5%), has won 83.3% of his games against AP Top 25 teams (35-7). Oregon holds the upper hand against the Trojans when the Ducks come in ranked, but in games when both teams are ranked, Troy has a decided edge. This is the 99th consecutive game USC has been ranked in the AP Top 25, extending its school record. USC owns a streak of 7 consecutive Pac-10 titles, AP Top 4 finishes, BCS bowl trips and 11-win seasons. The Trojans won a shootout against Oregon State last weekend. USC's offense has gotten untracked lately, as it now is averaging 440 total yards (nearly 200 on the ground) and 31 points per outing. True freshman QB Matt Barkley leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency. The Trojan passing attack--featuring dangerous WR Damian Williams (he also has 2 punt return touchdowns in 2009) and TE Anthony McCoy (averaging 23.4 yards per catch)--has been bolstered by the return of deep threat WR Ronald Johnson. USC sports a pair of productive runners in TBs Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford (who is coming off a career-best 147 yard showing) and they run behind a line anchored by sixth-year OG-C Jeff Byers. The Trojan defense, which started the season strongly, has been somewhat vulnerable lately. But it still is among the nation's Top 25 in every statistical category, including first in sacks, second in tackles for losses and fifth in rushing defense. Top Trojan defenders include 2-time All-American S Taylor Mays, LB Chris Galippo and Michael Morgan and DE Everson Griffen (the Pac-10's sack leader). Oregon is hot under new coach Chip Kelly, riding a 6-game winning streak, including an easy win at Washington last Saturday. The Ducks' spread offense, which is highly ranked nationally in rushing (210.7 yards) and scoring (34.0 points), is directed expertly by QB Jeremiah Masoli and features elusive RB LaMichael James (17th nationally in rushing) and effective TE Ed Dickson, who owns the school record for tight end career receptions. UO's defense has been staunch, ranking in the Top 25 nationally in total defense, scoring defense, pass defense, pass efficiency defense, sacks and tackles for losses. A pair of players with relatives who played at USC--LB Casey Matthews and DE Kenny Rowe--highlight the Oregon defense. The game will be televised live nationally by ABC-TV or ESPN2. ESPN's College GameDay pre-game show will be in Eugene.
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