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2020 Pac-12 Championship Game: USC vs. Oregon

Dec 17, 2020

Gameday Central | Game Notes vs. Oregon (PDF) | Digital Program

Oregon Ducks (3-2) at No. 13 USC Trojans (5-0)

United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 5 p.m. PT on FOX

Duck to Watch: Sophomore QB Tyler Shough

Kedon Slovis is unrivaled when it comes to Pac-12 passers, but Shough has proven to be a clear second behind his fellow Arizonan. While replacing Justin Herbert, who is a front runner for NFL Rookie of the Year, is no easy feat, Shough leads the Pac-12's No. 1 offense, ranks second in passing and second in QB rushing. He is one of only three FBS QBs to average more than 250 yards passing and 50 yards rushing per game. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, he's a big body to bring down.

3 Keys

The Clutch Gene

While the rankings and records make USC look like a heavy favorite, the Trojans could very easily be 3-2 while the Ducks could be 5-0. Led by Slovis, USC has been immaculate in late-game situations this season, winning three games by a combined 10 points. On the other side, Oregon has a three-point win over UCLA, but dropped its last two games by a combined seven points. If the title game comes down to the final possession, USC will like its chances.

Give and Take

USC's defense is among the nation's best at forcing turnovers, averaging three takeaways per game. Oregon has been careless with the football, ranking 11th in the Pac-12 in turnover margin. A year ago, it was the opposite story as Oregon paced the Pac in turnover margin, highlighted by 20 interceptions. With CB coach Donte Williams moving from Eugene to Los Angeles, the Ducks have managed just two interceptions in five games this season. Meanwhile, USC now leads the conference in interceptions after ranking eighth last year. In the matchup at the Coliseum in 2019, Oregon won the turnover battle, 4-1, en route to winning the game, 56-24. If USC flips the stat, the Trojans may also be able to flip the score.

Basketball on Grass

There are some mouthwatering one-on-one matchups in this game, starting at the line with two future first round picks, USC LT Alijah Vera-Tucker and Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Ducks sophomore has had a quiet season, limited to two sacks in five games, but he's a potential game-wrecker. Vera-Tucker has locked down the left-side all season, but this will be his biggest test to date. On the perimeter, USC's talented cornerbacks will see a familiar face in Devon Williams, who transferred out of the program last season. Williams posted back-to-back 100-yard games before missing the Cal game, but he is expected to be back in the Coliseum on Friday night.