Oregon vs. USC: Postgame Grades from Trojan's Loss vs. the Ducks
Final Score: 62-51
The USC Trojans tried to keep up with the insanely fast Oregon Ducks but did not have enough firepower as they fell in a Pac-12 shootout 62-51. The loss drops to the Trojans to 6-3 and 4-3 in the Pac-12. The loss puts the Trojans in a tough spot heading into the remainder of the season. They will likely have to win out in order to play in the Pac-12 Championship game.
Let’s take a look at the Trojans’ final post game grades and evaluations.
Overall Grade: A-
Matt Barkley had himself a great game against the Oregon Ducks. Barkley was able to move the ball down the field with accuracy and a great ability to spread the ball out to all of his receivers. Barkley completed 35 of his 54 attempts for 484 yards for five touchdowns and two interceptions.
The first interception that Barkley threw was the one that really hurt the Trojans. They were in the red zone and when you are playing against the Oregon Ducks you cannot afford to not put points on the board. Other than the two picks Barkley made some perfect throws such as the touchdown to freshman Nelson Agholor, which was an absolute strike.
I was really impressed with Barkley’s ability to move around within the pocket and avoid the defense. On the Robert Woods touchdown pass Barkley avoided four Oregon defenders, got outside of the pocket and delivered a perfect pass. If there is one thing that scouts have not liked about Barkley is his ability to throw outside of the pocket. I thought that tonight he did a great job throwing under pressure and outside of the pocket.
It was another solid performance turned in by Barkley who will go down as one of the best Trojan quarterbacks of all time. It is too bad that he won’t have a chance to play for a National Championship.
Overall Grade: A
The USC Trojans have been knocked for their lack of depth at running back all season long but tonight each of the back in the Trojan’s stable chipped in with a useful performance. Silas Redd, who was far too physical for the Oregon defense, led the Trojans on the ground.
Redd carried the ball 18 times for 92 yards and a touchdown. Curtis McNeal helped with 35 yards and provided a nice change of pace for the Trojans. The Trojans did not rely on the running game too much as they were too busy playing catch up all night. The Trojans best drives on offenses included a constant mixture of the run and pass but they were forced out of this by the Oregon offense.
In total the Trojans rushed for 131 yards on the ground, which is exactly where Lane Kiffin wants his offense to be at. With all the weapons in the passing game the Trojans do not need that much from their backs but with Redd running the way he has lately the Trojans may need to rely more on the run.
Overall Grade: A+
The Trojans have the best receiving core in the entire nation. There is no way that you can cover Marqise Lee and Robert Woods at the same time. With how good Lee and Woods are it sets up the freshman Nelson Agholor up perfectly to work on single coverage all night. The result of this was six catches for 162 yards and one touchdown for Agholor.
Lee was a monster throughout the game and has shown the entire nation that he is the best receiver right now in college football. Lee finished the night with 12 catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns. His rare mixture of speed and size made him impossible for the smaller Oregon corner backs to cover him.
Woods did not disappoint either as he hauled in six balls for 71 yards on a touchdown. Woods was much quieter than Lee against the Ducks but when the Trojans needed a big play like in the second quarter he was the man Barkley found in the end zone.
The group of receivers did enough for the Trojans to get the win it must have been extremely frustrating being forced to score touchdowns on every possession.
Overall Grade: A
While the tight ends don’t have the stats that jump off the page like the wide receivers do they had a tremendous game. Xavier Grimble was extremely involved in the passing game catching five passes for 23 yards. Grimble was used mainly as a check down option but when he got the ball he fought for the extra yards on every play, something you want out of every tight end.
Randall Telfer was on the receiving end of a touchdown in the fourth quarter as he continues to be a lethal weapon in the red zone for the Trojans. The tight ends also did a great job in pass protection as well as run blocking. The Trojans did a great job at giving Barkley enough time to make decisions in the pocket and the running backs ran through huge holes most of the night. This was because of the great blocking done by the tight ends.
Overall Grade: B+
The USC offensive line did a nice job for the majority of the night giving Matt Barkley enough time to move the ball down the field. They opened up holes for Redd and the other Trojan backs to get through the hole without being touched. There were a couple of plays where the Trojans needed better protection but for the most part the offensive line did a great job all night. They were much more physical at the line of scrimmage, which really made the difference in the running game as well as the passing game. For a offensive line that has struggled for the majority of the season this was a extremely solid performance and hopefully for Trojan fans they can carry this performance into the final three games of the year.
Overall Grade: D
The USC defensive line played poorly throughout the game against the Ducks. They looked confused and overwhelmed with the tempo that that Ducks played with struggled to react to what the Ducks were doing.
They also struggled at tackling where they constantly missed tackles. USC has never been a great tackling team but this performance was exceptionally bad due to that fact that they missed the tackles on third down when they need to get a stop and get the ball back to the offense. They also lost containment on the majority of the plays giving Kenjon Barner the outside all game long. Barner finished with 38 carries for 321 yards and five touchdowns. A performance that could have been slowed down if the defensive line could of contained the outside of the field better.
Overall Grade: D-
Most of the missed tackles were done by the USC linebackers, who seemed to exhausted the majority of the game. The linebackers were often confused, lining up wrong on most plays they were not set when Oregon snapped the ball. Oregon used this for their advantage as they posted 730 total yards. The linebacker inability to get set before Oregon snapped the ball and their weak tackling effort all lead to huge plays made by Kenjon Barner who put on a running back clinic in the Coliseum.
The Linebacker also were overwhelmed in pass coverage probably because they were struggling to read the run/pass option that Oregon runs. The offense that Oregon runs is extremely tough to play against as a linebacker and the USC linebackers failed to contain the Ducks in the passing game or the running game. It was a rough night for Trojan linebackers who could never match Oregon’s speed.
Overall Grade: D
Much like the linebackers the defensive backs were extremely weak with their tackling. They also struggled to cover the Oregon receivers who found open seams all night. The defensive backs struggled to step up and make tackles on Barner, who made multiple Trojan defensive back miss. The play of T.J. McDonald continues to disappoint, while he puts himself in good spots to make plays he routinely misses tackles or blows basic coverage assignments. As a leader on the team McDonald needs to make those plays in order to set the tone for the rest of the defense. His play will need to improve as the Trojans try and reach the Pac-12 Championship.
Overall Grade: A
The special team unit was extremely productive for the Trojans. Marqise Lee was dominant on kickoff returns and constantly put the Trojans in solid field position. The kick coverage was extremely impressive, Oregon’s roster is filled with a ton of weapons and none of them could create on kickoff returns. Their effort was washed out by fact that the defense could not stop the Ducks so field position ended up not mattering
Overall Grade: C
Lane Kiffin had his offense ready to go against the Ducks. They moved the ball up and down field with ease and Kiffin made great play calls throughout the game. The defense was a complete different story. The defense was so bad that it led Fox announcer Gus Johnson to call the Trojans “Swiss Cheese”. Playing from behind every time you get the ball on offense creates far too much pressure. The Trojans were behind for the entire game and the coaching staff was unable to make any adjustments on the defense that would have slowed down the Ducks offense. One area where the Trojans did improve was the discipline of the team. The Trojans did not make many stupid plays or get flagged for stupid penalties. This is an improvement from last week against Arizona when penalties cost the Trojans dearly.