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November 3, 2012The No. 2 Oregon Ducks entered the contest against No. 17 USC with many questioning their ability to play against a quality opponent. The Trojans would be considered the Ducks first test of the season. Oregon came ready to play.
Taking the opening kickoff the Ducks quickly marched downfield for a 5 play 75 yard scoring drive capped by a 16 yard touchdown pass from Mith Mariotaarcus Mariota to De'Anthony Thomas for a quick 7-0 lead.
The Trojans, looking to keep pace with the high scoring offense of the Ducks were more methodical with their first drive using a 13 play drive to move down the field. The Ducks held the Trojans to a 39-yard field goal by Andre Heidari to cut the Duck lead to 7-3 midway through the first quarter.
The Ducks showed why you cannot trade touchdowns for field goals taking the ensuing kickoff and marching 75 yards on nine plays to take a 14-3 lead with Mariota completing a 21 yard touchdown pass to Josh Huff.
The Duck offense was on fire early with over 200 yards of offense in the first quarter. Oregon extended their lead to 21-3 with a Kenjon Barner 27 yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter.
USC would not go down without a fight, however, as on the very first play following the kickoff, Marquise Lee blew past safety Brian Jackson and hauled in a 75 yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 21-10.
Unfazed, the Ducks took the ball and marched 72 yards on 10 plays for a 28-10 lead. And with that, the shootout would begin. USC used another big play, this time to Freshman Nelson Agholor, for a one play 76 yard touchdown drive to cut the lead to 34-24. After driving into the red-zone, Mariota fumbled a snap to give the ball back to the Trojans who marched the ball into Oregon territory getting to the red-zone with thirty-five seconds left in the first half but were unable to score.
The first half was full of offense with Oregon gaining over 460 yards of offense and USC gaining over 400 yards of total offense in the first half as the Ducks took a 34-24 lead into halftime.
With momentum on their side, the Trojans took the second half kickoff and worked the ball down the field setting up a first and goal at the eight yard line. After a pass interference on third down gave USC another first and goal, Silas Redd converted for the Trojans with a 2 yard touchdown run to bring the Trojans within three points.
Like the first two quarters, though, both teams kept moving the ball up and down the field in the third quarter. After three quarters, the Trojans had put nearly 500 yards of total offense on the board, but the Ducks had 619 through three quarters and a 48-38 lead heading to the final quarter.
This game would come down to either the team that made one extra stop or the team with the ball last. Oregon attempted to answer that by finally forcing USC to punt the ball for the first time early in the fourth quarter. Oregon made the stop count as they moved the ball 85 yards for another Barner touchdown run to extend the lead to 55-38 with just over nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
The Trojans refused to go into that good night. Taking advantage of a great kickoff return by Lee, USC scored on a short Barkley pass to Randall Telfer to bring the score back within ten points at 55-45 with 5:27 left in the game.
The Trojans gambled with the onside kick. After bouncing around, the Trojans recovered the ball but out of bounds. Unable to convert a first down, the Ducks punted for the first time of the night pinning USC inside their own 20 yard line.
Needing to move the ball 85 yards to get within three points, the Trojans were unable to get a first down missing a fourth down pass from their own 20 yard line to give the Ducks the ball back in the red zone. Kenjon Barner would take over from there scoring his fifth touchdown of the night on a 22 yard scamper with 1:58 left in the game sealing the victory with a 62-45 lead.
The Trojans scored a touchdown with one second left on the clock to cut the final margin to 62-51.
With the win Oregon proved it could win a game where the team was challenged to move to 9-0 on the season. Next up for Oregon is a trip to Berkley to take on the struggling Cal Bears next Saturday.