( GAME RECAP ) NO. 7 OREGON CRUSHES USC 56-24 TO EXTEND THE DUCKS ROAD WINNING STREAK – Justin Herbert Throws Three TD’s to Juwan Johnson to Help the Ducks Remain Unbeaten in Pac-12 Play
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
No. 7 Oregon came into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum winning two of the last three from USC. On Saturday night the Ducks made it three of four when they crushed USC 56-24 before 63,011. At the outset, however, it wasn’t easy for the Ducks. Early on the visitors found themselves down early by a score of 10-0 in the opening quarter. Once the nerves settled though, the Ducks found scoring from each of their three units – offense, defense and special teams. The Ducks offense scored six touchdowns while the defense had a pick six by safety Brady Breeze and kick returner MyKael Wright returned a kickoff for 100 yards to help lead the Ducks to the win and to remain undefeated at 6-0 in conference play.
HOW IT HAPPENED
It was billed as the game of the day, if not the game of the year ( so far ) in the Pac-12 conference. The No. 7 Ducks came into Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum at 5-0 in conference play facing a tough Trojan team who at kickoff led the southern division.
And the game didn’t disappoint if you’re an Oregon fan.
The story of the first half was penalties for the Ducks who were ticketed 9 times for 112 yards including two unsportsmanlike calls on Austin Faoliu who was ejected midway through the second quarter.
Besides the extraordinary number of penalties, the Ducks were able to take a 28-17 lead into the halftime break.
The scoring began early when the Trojans went on a 16 play – 77 yard drive on their very first possession that ended with a Kedon Slovis 8 yard touchdown pass to receiver Drake London giving USC a 7-0 lead at the 9:15 mark.
USC would make it 10-0 when placekicker Chase McGrath converted a 24 yard field goal when the Trojans drive stalled at the three minute mark of the opening quarter.
The Ducks finally found some rhythm, but it wasn’t the offense that led to the score, it was the defense.
Free safety Verone McKinley stepped in front of a Slovis pass in Trojan territory and returned the interception 28 yards to the USC 26 yard line. On the play however, Troy Dye was ticketed for a personal foul penalty moving the ball back to the Trojan 41.
It was McKinley’s fourth steal of the season and the Ducks 15th of the year.
The takeaway led to points for the Ducks. From the 41, Justin Herbert led the Oregon offense on a 6 play drive that ended with Herbert rushing for a 10 yard score up the middle pulling the Ducks within three points at 10-7 with 10:11 to play in the second.
Penalties again hurt the Ducks on the next USC possession – this time from a personnel perspective. USC was on the move inside of Oregon territory when Duck defensive tackle Austin Faoliu was called for consecutive unsportsmanlike penalties on the same play and was ejected. The penalty put the ball at the Oregon 10 yard line.
With 5:42 and momentum, Kedon Slovis was flushed from the pocket and stripped by Oregon linebacker LaMar Winston. The ball was recovered by safety Brady Breeze at the Trojan 8 yard line. The strip and fumble would prove to be a huge turning point in the game.
Herbert then navigated a 9 play – 92 yard drive which ended with a two yard end around and score by receiver Jaylon Redd – his second rushing score of the season. Oregon grabbed its first lead of the game at 14-10 with 2:36 to play in the half.
The scoring was far from over however.
On the very next USC possession, and twenty seconds later, safety Brady Breeze found himself in the right place at the right time again when he intercepted Slovis and returned the ball 32 yards for the score giving the Ducks a 21-10 lead. It was the Ducks second pick of the game and 16th of the season.
The Trojans came right back however. Slovis engineered a 9 play – 74 yard drive that culminated with a 13 yard hook up with receiver Michael Pittman pulling the Trojans within four points at 21-17 with :20 seconds to play.
Not to be outdone, the Ducks kick return team answered when MyKael Wright grabbed the kickoff and raced 100 yards for the score. The Ducks took a 28-17 lead into the break.
In the third quarter, the Oregon offense flexed its muscle and scored twice – both touchdown passes from Herbert to receiver Juwan Johnson. At the 11:39 mark of the third, Herbert found Johnson for an 15 yard score, his first of his short Oregon career. Herbert led the Ducks on a 7 play – 80 yard drive that took 3:21 off the clock. The Ducks led 35-17.
Two minutes later and on the ensuing USC possession, Kedon Slovis was intercepted again by CB Deomodore Lenoir who grabbed his first pick of the season and the third of the night for the Ducks defense.
Two minutes later Herbert once again found Juwan Johnson on an 11 yard pitch and catch to extend the Ducks lead to 42-17 with 6:14 remaining in the third.
In the first 65 seconds of the fourth quarter, the duo of Herbert and Johnson would find the end zone for a third time. Herbert engineered a 9 play – 92 yard drive that ended with a nice 37 yard catch and score by Johnson. The Ducks extended their lead 49-17 at the 13:55 mark of the fourth.
But they weren’t done there.
With 6:50 remaining in the game back-up QB Tyler Shough was in the game to replace Herbert and tossed a 35 yard touchdown strike to Mycah Pittman to put an additional seven points on the board and extend the lead to 56-17. It was Shough’s third scoring pass of the season and second scoring grab for Pittman.
The Trojans would go on to score another touchdown when Slovis found Kyle Ford for a 20 yard score, however at that point the writing was definitely on the wall and the Ducks would leave Los Angeles with an impressive 56-24 win over USC.
“Really proud of our guys” said Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal after the game.
On the road against an excellent football team. We played with a lot of emotion and passion,…sometimes too much, but we were able to overcome some of those self-inflicted issues and played a really good football game.”
- Oregon was penalized 12 times in the game for 157 yards, the most this season.
- Oregon tallied 139 rushing yards / 266 passing yards for a total of 405 yards
- The Ducks defense grabbed three interceptions, ( one a pick six by Brady Breeze ) and now have 17 on the season to lead the FBS
- The Oregon offense was 4 of 4 in the red zone – All touchdowns
- Justin Herbert was 21 of 26 for 225 yards with three TD’s
- Travis Dye led the team in rushing with 75 yards on 12 carries