On a night where a number of 1-loss teams fell in defeat USC took another step towards another BCS Bowl Game and perhaps a return trip to the title game. We still have a long way to go but the first hurdle is out of the way. Things came together last night as USC had their way with Oregon. The defense looked pretty good creating turnovers and getting penetration. In the beginning I thought the Ducks were moving the ball well and it looked liked SC was having trouble picking up assignments and allowing the Ducks' receivers to clear underneath but the made the adjustments and they put a lot of penetration on both UO QB's. Lawrence Jackson finally got on the board and recorded his first sacks of the season and the SC blitz package seemed to be effective in breaking up the UO rhythm. That was a big deal as UO QB Dennis Dixon has the potential to make big plays but tonight that was not going to be the case.
Steve Dilbeck has a great take on it in his column in this mornings Daily News.
Anyway, it should have. Should have left them focusing on a conference championship, on a Rose Bowl berth, on aspirations that would be lofty for any other school.
Yet here they are all wide-eyed and giddy this morning, very much back in the national championship picture.
Their loss to the Beavers dropped them to eighth in the BCS poll, which should have ended all dreams of crystal footballs.
But this week, teams ahead of them seem to start falling over each other trying to get out of the Trojans' way, and Saturday night USC took full advantage of its unexpected opportunity with an impressive 35-10 victory over No. 21 Oregon.
Mays changes the game.
(Wally Skalij / LAT)
John David Booty had a pretty good game going 16 for 25 176 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT. The INT was a little disheartening because it appeared that he threw it right at the defender deep in Ducks territory. Once again WR Steve Smith was ready and available with some great catches and WR Dwayne Jarrett also had some big plays. Chauncey Washington has best game rushing for 119 yards and 3TD's. To me he was the player of the game. SC held onto the ball and didn't put it on the ground which was great to see. The injury to Moody is a tough one and I don't expect him back this year. A Grade III ankle sprain with torn ligaments is not something one comes back from quickly.
Oregon never seemed to get it going after their first series that went for 13 plays and over 8:00 minutes that ended with SC stopping Dixon on 4th and short. They made some plays underneath but the SC defense was always putting pressure on the QB and keeping UO's gains short. Dixon's only INT was a costly one when Taylor Mays picked off a pass at the Oregon 45 and returned it 38 yards to the Oregon 7. That was the game changer as Washington scored two plays later to make it 14-0.
Washington breaks his big run.
(Wally Skalij / LAT)
This win puts the Trojans back in the BCS picture. From the LA Times.
Tailback Chauncey Washington rushed for a career-high 119 yards and three touchdowns in 15 carries and USC took advantage of two Oregon turnovers en route to its 31st consecutive home victory.
On a day when the BCS dominoes continued to topple, USC improved its record to 8-1 overall and 6-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference and remained in control of its postseason destiny.
Of course each game has its own controversy and this game saw a 17-minute delay on a review that was overturned twice. I am still not sure how the ruling was come to but it really pissed off Coach Carroll with the F-bombs that he was throwing on the sidelines. I'm not sure if he was directing the at UO Coach Bellotti but it was clear that he wanted someone's head. I'm sure we will hear more about that incident in the days to come. Anyway, this was a big win but it is just the beginning because there is still a ton of work to done.