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Keys to the Game: Oregon at USC

Can USC take down No. 7 Oregon in a Pac-12 showdown?

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USC v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

What will it take for the USC Trojans to pull off an upset of the No. 7 Oregon Ducks? Here are some ways the Trojans can take care of business in the Coliseum.

#1: Offense, keep your foot on the gas pedal

USC v Colorado Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

One thing that troubles USC is it’s inability to sustain drives more often than not. Last week at Colorado we saw the Trojans struggle early, then kick it into high gear to mount a comeback led by Kedon Slovis and Michael Pittman Jr. Against this year’s Oregon team that is currently in the Top 20 for total defense, the Trojans cannot afford to start slow. Ducks safety Jevon Holland is sits at No. 8 for total interceptions with four. Safe to say Slovis needs to continue his good decision making as of late.

USC also needs to be able to get its run game going. In recent years the Trojans have struggled in games where they lack the inability to establish the run. Kenon Christon is more than capable of supplying explosive plays.

#2: Put pressure on Justin Herbert

Washington State v Oregon Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Justin Herbert has only thrown one interception heading into week nine and boasts a completion percentage of 68.3. If the young Trojan defense wants to make things easier on themselves the must make things harder for Herbert. However it will be no easy feat getting past Oregon’s talented offensive line, which last week had three players named to the Pro Football Focus Eckrick Team of the Week.

USC struggles with mobile quarterbacks and Herbert definitely has the athletic ability to evade pressure as a dual-threat. Oregon sits at No. 25 for total offense, Herbert being the catalyst.

#3: Protect the football

Arizona v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Oregon is tied with Ohio State for third in winning the turnover battle with a margin of 11. Through eight games the Ducks have recovered two fumbles and intercepted 14 passes while only giving up five turnovers of their own.

As mentioned before, Slovis needs to be smart with his passes. Last week his one interception came from a late pass. USC’s running backs also need to keep the ball secured if they want to prevent Oregon’s defense from getting into the end zone. The Ducks have the No. 9 scoring defense in the country with 12 touchdowns.

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