Oregon vs. USC: 10 Things We Learned from the Ducks' Victory over the Trojans
The Ducks' annual battle in Los Angeles against the USC Trojans was the biggest shoot out of the day, where USC scored 51 points...and still lost. Oregon remains undefeated with its 62-51 victory.
With this win, Oregon stays on its path to the National Championship game, and a chance to jump up in the BCS standings. Their current ranking at No. 4 is very arguable at this point, and have the chance to jump Notre Dame, and maybe make a case to jump a Kansas State Wildcats team at No. 2.
But what else did this game tell us?
Oregon Has the Best Offense in College Football
Chip Kelly has been one of the major driving forces of the spread offense, and this victory shows that his Ducks have the best offense in the nation.
Able to continually outpace teams and move at a quick tempo to wear down defenses, while maintaining balance between running and passing the ball, few offenses can compete with their output. They totaled 730 total yards on the night, with 426 yards on the ground and 304 yards through the air.
The Ducks rank first in points scored, third in rushing yards and 84th in passing yards.
Oregon's Defense Does Enough
Oregon's defense is a part of the team that has seen improvement over the past couple of seasons. The unit is ranked 25th overall, and forced USC into early mistakes that the offense was able to turn into points. The defense faltered in the long run once USC held onto the football, but those early mistakes made the difference for the Ducks.
For them, their defense made the right amount of plays to keep their offense on the field.
USC Still Has a Pretty Good Offense
An offense that gained 615 total yards and scored 51 points? If given those results without the outcome, would you take them? Of course.
But despite these numbers put up by the USC offense, they still fell to Oregon. USC's late surge showed they still have one of the best offenses in the Pac-12, and are definitely one of the top powers in the Pac-12 South Division.
Mariota Has Great Potential
When head coach Chip Kelly went with the redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota over the more experienced Bryan Bennett, many were unsure of how Oregon's offense would remain in top form.
Well, now they know. And he has got a few more years to stick around.
Mariota kept his composure all game, and has quietly been guiding college football's most explosive offense. He went 20-23 for 304 yards and four touchdowns, while adding 96 rushing yards. Mariota's composure and command of the offense make for a dangerous combination with Chip Kelly's aggressive mindset on offense.
USC Has Arguably the Best Receiving Corps
Matt Barkley exploded in the passing game and it was thanks to his fabulous receiving corps.
Barkley's main looks went to freshman receiver Nelson Agholor, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. Agholor led the group with 162 receiving yards in six receptions with a touchdown, while Lee came in second with 157 receiving yards on 12 receptions with two touchdowns, and Robert Woods added 71 receiving yards and a touchdown.
This is arguably one of the best groups of receivers in college football behind one of the best college quarterbacks under center.
Barner Is the Playmaker of the Ducks' Running Game
The biggest factor for Oregon's offense was its ability to run the ball. And running back Kenjon Barner came through in a very big way.
Barner rushed for 321 rushing yards on 38 carries and added five rushing touchdowns. The Riverside, California native averaged 8.4 yards per carry, and remained a constant headache for the USC defense.
Barner is the catalyst for this Ducks running attack, and they fed him the rock on a regular basis. Barner's size and speed make him an ideal fit for this fast paced offense.
Oregon Remains in the National Championship Running
With its victory over USC, Oregon remains in the running for the national championship, and has an opportunity to give itself a better standing in the BCS. Sitting at No. 4, they have a chance to possibly move up thanks to their performance against the Trojans.
But with Kansas State sitting at No. 2 and Notre Dame at No. 3, it might make it harder for the Ducks to make their case. You can bet that Ducks fans will be anti-Wildcats and anti-Fighting Irish these next few weeks.
Hopes of a BCS Bowl Are Gone for USC
With this loss, the Trojans drop to 6-3, and what little hopes they had left to move up in the rankings to make a push for a BCS bowl have been dashed.
They also dropped out of first in the South Division, and are likely to drop even lower in the rankings. Once thought as national championship contenders, the Trojans will be bowl bound, but not a BCS one.
Oregon's Offense Could Match Up Well Against Alabama
It's no secret that Alabama probably has the best defense in college football. Very few offenses could match up against them.
Oregon could be one of them.
Let's face it. Notre Dame has been solid; there's a reason it's undefeated. But their play at quarterback would be their ultimate downfall against a defense like Alabama. They easily shut down Denard Robinson's athletic ability. They would do the same to Everett Golson.
With Kansas State, much of its work goes through Colin Klein, and they could also match up up well.
But does Oregon match up the best against the Crimson Tide?
Chip Kelly has more playmakers on offense than Notre Dame, and his mind against Nick Saban would be a matchup to see. With dynamic playmakers in Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas in addition to their quick tempo spread offense, Kelly could be the first to crack Bama's tough defense.
Oregon Can't Be Matched in Old Fashioned Shootout
If there's something Oregon has shown us, it's that you can't get into a simple back and forth with the Ducks. You won't win if you do.
The key is stops or turnovers, something the USC Trojans failed to do enough. If it's a simple back and forth where Oregon's offense continues to see the field, then the Ducks will win every time.
Assignment football is key with this kind of offense, where it seems that Kelly continues to find ways to keep his offense a fine, well-oiled machine.