7th ranked Oregon will travel to USC to take on the Trojans in a Pac-12 showdown this weekend. Oregon is a road favorite in this one, led by their senior quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert Guiding Ducks
Herbert has thrown for 2,104 yards this season along with 21 touchdowns and just one interception. He will most likely be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft after this season and will look to take advantage of every game this year to fill out his resume.
The Duck’s top target through the air this year has been senior tight end Jacob Breeland. Breeland has reeled in 26 catches so far for 405 yards and 6 touchdowns. Oregon does a good job spreading the ball around their offense and Jacob Breeland is far from their only target.
On the ground this season CJ Verdell has posted 753 yards for the Ducks along with 5 touchdowns off 112 carries. The Ducks are averaging 36 points per game while allowing just 14.8. This rushing attack from Verdell helps keep their defense off the field and well rested and gives their team a good balance.
Oregon controls their own destiny at this point in the season with their only loss coming against Auburn in a 27-21 final. Although USC is not ranked, they are a tough opponent in a tough environment and the Ducks cannot afford another loss on their record if they want any chance at getting into the college football playoff.
USC enters this game 5-3 on the season, they recently dropped back-to-back games against #9 Notre Dame and #17 Washington, but then were able to bounce back and win their last two games over Arizona and Colorado.
Colorado put up a good fight last week, ending in a 35-31 USC win in Colorado. USC must bounce back and play much better if they want to hang with Oregon in this tough matchup.
Trojans Rolling In
USC has been averaging 31.3 points per game while allowing just 24.9, they have also been posting 442 yards a game while giving up 429. They are a better team than what their record would suggest. Their losses have come against tough teams that would put up a good fight against anyone in the league.
Freshman Kedon Slovis leads the Trojans at quarterback this year. The young starter has 1,625 passing yards this season along with 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. This experience should benefit him a ton down the road of his college career, especially getting reps in against such tough teams.
Slovis’ top target at receiver has been senior Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman is one of the top threats in the country and he has brought in 50 receptions this season for 755 yards and 7 touchdowns. If USC wants to keep up with the Ducks, Pittman will have to have a big role this week.
VaVe Malepeai has been getting it done for USC in the rushing game this year. The Junior has 87 carries so far for 406 yards and 4 touchdowns. In order to keep Justin Herbert and Oregon’s offense off the field, Malepeai will have to be solid on first and second down to keep the Trojans in 3rd and manageable spots.
What to expect
Despite the Trojans having home field advantage and a talented roster, they have come up short against ranked teams all year and I believe this will be the same way. Oregon’s offense will be too much for the Trojans to stop all night and I don’t see the USC freshman quarterback winning a shootout against Justin Herbert.