Southern California's nightmare season continued Saturday night, as it picked up its third loss of the year with a 62-51 defeat to the Oregon Ducks.
Matt Barkley tried to get his team back into the game with his fourth touchdown of the night, but missing out on an onside kick made the hill tough to climb.
It was close, but the Ducks were able to drain some clock, give the ball back to the Trojans and eventually finish the opponent off a few possessions later. Barkley's fifth score of the night was futile, although it did make the outcome look a little better for the Trojans.
The game started just as you would expect, with both teams going full throttle offensively. Marcus Mariota hit De'Anthony Thomas on a 16-yard touchdown pass to start the game's scoring, and neither team looked back. Andre Heidari was able to make the score 7-3, but Mariota's second passing score, this time to Josh Huff, put the Ducks ahead, 14-3.
Kenjon Barner made USC's deficit even more intimidating with a 27-yard touchdown, but then the Trojans' offense woke up. Barkley hit Marqise Lee for a 75-yard score to make the game 21-10, only to see Barner and the Ducks answer with another fast score. Barkley answered that with a touchdown to Robert Woods, but Mariota immediately responded, hitting Daryle Hawkins with a score of his own.
If USC could stop anyone, Barkley's first-half performance would have looked even better. He still did something pretty incredible, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
Matt Barkley 3rd game this season with 300+ pass yards in 1st half. Last time was vs Arizona last week. Trojans lost. #OREvsUSC— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012
But Mariota and Barner made sure that his effort was second class.
Not only was the score 34-24 Oregon at halftime, but Bleacher Report's Twitter dropped some knowledge, showing how dynamic these two offenses really were:
Oregon & USC combine for 58 points & 864 total yards... in the 1st half.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 4, 2012
Not that they would stop. All these two teams know how to do is score—and score they did. USC's Silas Redd would score twice in the third quarter with another Barner touchdown sandwiched in between. Redd did his part, despite USC's loss, finishing with 92 yards on the night.
Mariota's fourth touchdown of the night, and second to Huff, put Oregon up, 48-38, entering the fourth and final quarter.
As well as Mariota played, though, it's hard to deny what Barner is doing each and every week. Check out this tidbit from Sports Illustrated's Stewart Mandel:
Barner finished the game with 321 yards and five touchdowns on 38 carries, making Mariota's 96 rushing yards look like nothing.
He didn't make Mariota's day through the air look bad, though. He went 20-of-24 for 304 yards and four touchdowns, outperforming Barkley and gaining the all-important victory in the end. Barkley had an excellent game as well, going 35-of-54 for 484 yards and five touchdowns, but his two interceptions played a big part in USC's demise.
Barkley was able to hook up with stud receiver Lee 12 times for 157 yards and two scores, but Woods was neutralized more than usual. Nelson Agholor (six catches, 162 yards) stepped up, but it wasn't enough.
The Ducks' offense was good—too good. CBS Sports' Chris Huston showed just how good:
Oregon is 9 yards short of all-time USC opponent total offense mark of 623 set by Notre Dame in 1946. I think the Ducks are going to get it.— Chris Huston (@HeismanPundit) November 4, 2012
The team wound up with 730 total yards, so, yeah, it's safe to say that they got it.
Predicting the Trojans as a three-loss team at this point in the season was highly unlikely, but Oregon's success was expected. Asking any defense to slow down this Ducks attack just isn't fair, and they showed why once again.
This was captivating television. USC tried to kill the game's initial deficit, but didn't have enough to make it happen.
Maybe you're a fan of defense-first football, but these two dazzling offenses put on a show Saturday night to the tune of 1,345 total yards. Of course, poor defense played a big part in that, but that doesn't change how fun it was to watch Barner run through a defense that seemed to be standing still.
The loss puts USC's Pac-12 South title hopes in jeopardy, depending on how UCLA finishes. Oregon is in the driver's seat, still in hot pursuit of Notre Dame, Kansas State and Alabama in the BCS standings.
USC will try to right the ship against Arizona State next Saturday, while the Ducks continue their BCS national-championship hopes against California on the road.