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Matt Barkley's three TDs in the second quarter narrowed the Ducks' lead to 34-24.
Mariota started the second quarter with a dangerous pass. On 2nd-and-5, USC linebacker Lamar Dawson followed the QB's eyes and drifted towards Josh Huff. Dawson missed an interception at the USC 27.
One thing you can't do against the Oregon offense is miss an opportunity for a turnover. Why is that? On the next play, Kenjon Barner ran to the right for a 27-yard TD. It would be the next storyline of the day: Oregon capitalizes on USC's missed opportunities. Oregon 21, USC 3
The Trojans found themselves in a hole. After throwing an interception to Olumu on his previous pass, Barkley completed a 75-yard TD to Lee, who left Oregon safety Brian Jackson in his wake. It only took USC 13 seconds to make it a two-possession game. Oregon 21, USC 10
A personal foul penalty on the kickoff return placed the Ducks at their own 12, but on the fourth play from scrimmage, Barner broke a 41-yard run down to the USC 29. He completed the drive with a five-yard touchdown. On the point after try, Oregon was flagged for illegal formation, and USC managed to block the attempt. Oregon 27, USC 10
On the next offensive drive that included big runs of 9, then 15, then 20, the Trojans found themselves at the Oregon 21. Facing 3rd-and-11, and not wanting to settle for a field goal, Barkley completed a key pass to Lee on an in-route to get the first down.
Then, in his best Ben Roethlisberger impression, Barkley drifted back way beyond the line of scrimmage, avoided the sack by Oregon defensive end Dion Jordan and extended the play to complete a seven-yard TD pass to Robert Woods. Oregon 27, USC 17
Oregon made big plays in the next 74 seconds. On 2nd-and-1, Mariota ran 58 yards off a read option to reach the USC 14. He then threw a touchdown to receiver Daryle Hawkins. Oregon 34, USC 17
The Ducks made a defensive play on Barkley's next snap. The Trojan QB again attempted to avoid a sack, but this time, Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso picked off the errant pass at the USC 28.
Trojan defensive end Morgan Breslin sacked Mariota on the very next play for a loss of seven yards, and the Ducks could not gain a first down on two rushes by Barner. Facing his first three-and-out of the night, Chip Kelly sent the field goal unit out—yes, Oregon does have one—for a 41-yard attempt, but kicker Rob Beard missed it wide left.
Quick quiz: Who remembers what Barkley did after he threw his last interception? That's right, he threw a touchdown. Coming off another interception, Barkley ran play action and hit Agholor in stride for a 76-yard touchdown. Oregon 34, USC 24
The Ducks started their next drive at their own 32 and took it down to the USC 13, thanks in large part to a 32-yard completion to Keanon Lowe. After losing two yards on a rush the play prior, Mariota mishandled the snap, and USC's Wes Horton recovered the fumble at the USC 19.
With 1:23 remaining, the Trojan offense was in hurry-up mode and took only about a minute to reach the Oregon 15. Barkley then completed a short pass to Lee, who tried to do too much to avoid defenders. Oregon's Dion Jordan came up to force and recover the fumble at their own 23.
The Ducks took over with only 15 seconds on the clock. Barner ran for 10 more yards on the next play, and Oregon may have continued to drive down the field with its quick-strike offense, but a personal foul penalty on Huff set the team back to its own 18. Mariota took a knee to take the Ducks into halftime with a 34-24 lead.