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USC must bring their A-game to beat Oregon

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USC has to take this game as serious as a heart attack.

NCAA Football: California at Southern California Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon is very proficient on offense in large part because of the strength of their running game according to Clay Helton who provided his normal Tuesday breakdown of USC’s upcoming opponent. Helton specifically pointed out Oregon running backs Tony Brooks-James and Royce Freeman. Each of those backs have over 500 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns for the year.

At wide receiver Helton was impressed with the way the Ducks are utilizing both Darren Carrington and Charles Nelson. Oregon has moved Carrington around the line of scrimmage to get him different looks from the defense which has helped him compile 31 receptions for 447 yards and three touchdowns. Charles Nelson is similar to Adoree’ Jackson in that he has seen action on defense, offense, and returns kicks. Nelson made the switch to wide receiver full time before the start of this season and has 44 receptions for 434 yards and three touchdowns. Oregon spreads the ball around when passing and have 10 different targets that have a receiving touchdown. Nelson, however, has the most total receptions on the team with about 1 out of every 4 completions for the Ducks going to Charles Nelson.

At quarterback Oregon has brought in freshman Justin Herbert. Helton compared the Ducks’ quarterback situation to USC’s in that they brought in a new, young quarterback during the season, and he is playing very well. Herbert has only started 3 games but he has 12 touchdown passes with 2 interceptions and 996 yards. He also has another touchdown and 89 yards on the ground.

On defense Oregon has struggled mightily. Helton did praise the schematic changes Oregon made last week against Arizona State that helped them finally snap a 5-game losing streak.

Helton strongly cautioned his team ignore Oregon’s 3-5 record. Three of the Ducks’ losses were by fewer than 4 points. This Oregon team can put up 50+ points per game and is only a handful of plays away from being 6-2 and if the Trojans do not bring their A game they are going to get beat by Oregon.

Injury Report:

RB Aca’Cedric Ware was carted off of the practice field on Tuesday with an ankle injury. Ware is questionable for Oregon. Running Back Justin Davis is also still questionable for Oregon as he continues to deal with his high ankle sprain. If Ware and Davis are both out the Ronald Jones will be the primary back with Dominic Davis getting some carries to fill in for Ware.

Jonathan Lockett injured his hip against Cal an injury that Helton described as significant. When Lockett went down in the game Ajene Harris stepped into the game at Nickel. Safety Leon McQuay will also be available at the nickel spot.

Linebacker Uchenna Nwosu sprained his knee against Cal on Thursday but was practicing on Tuesday despite some pain. Also on defense, Adoree’ Jackson, Leon McQuay, and Christian Rector all have the bug that is going around campus according to Helton but Coach thinks all three will be ready to go by Saturday.

You can watch the full presser here:

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