Friday, October 26, 2007

Oregon vs USC

#5 Oregon Ducks vs #9 USC Trojans
Saturday, 27th October, 3.30pm ET
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR

Thanks Yahoo!

The ninth-ranked Trojans will be underdogs when they visit No. 5 Oregon on Saturday in the first matchup between top-10 teams in the 41-year history of Autzen Stadium.
USC hasn't been an underdog against a Pac-10 opponent since Nov. 17, 2001, when it upset UCLA 27-0 in the regular-season finale. The Trojans (6-1, 3-1), though, have been uncharacteristically shaky in conference games lately, and the Ducks (6-1, 3-1) enter this game as the higher-ranked team.

In its last three Pac-10 contests - all against unranked teams - USC has outscored opponents by an unimpressive 70-61 margin. In that stretch, the Trojans suffered their only loss of the year, falling 24-23 at home against Stanford for their first defeat at the Coliseum since Sept. 29, 2001. They will likely need a better effort against Oregon, which has used one of the nation's best offenses to earn its highest ranking since it finished the 2001 season as the No. 2 team in the country.

The Ducks are averaging 46.6 points per game, second in the Football Bowl Subdivision behind Hawaii. They're also second in total offense with 550.9 yards per game, trailing only Texas Tech. Oregon's prolific offense was on display last Saturday, when the Ducks racked up a school-record 465 rushing yards in a 55-34 win over Washington. The Ducks also had a program-record 39 first downs, and their 661 total yards were six shy of yet another record.

The Ducks were playing their first full game without running back Jeremiah Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury the previous week against Washington State. Jonathan Stewart picked up the slack in Johnson's absence, running for a career-high 251 yards on 32 carries with two touchdowns. Stewart leads the Pac-10 and ranks sixth in the FBS with 134.3 rushing yards per game, but was held to 42 yards on 14 carries against the Trojans last season.

On Saturday, the Ducks can expect another challenge from a USC defense which ranks third in the FBS with just 252.1 total yards allowed per game. The Trojans, though, haven't faced an offense as good as Oregon's. Carroll's team is coming off a 38-0 rout of Notre Dame last Saturday. Backup quarterback Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes while playing in place of injured starter John David Booty as the Trojans took advantage of the now 1-7 Irish.

The Trojans got outgained by the Ducks last Nov. 11, but still cruised to a 35-10 victory - their third straight in the series after a four-game losing streak against Oregon. With a 36-15-2 record in the all-time series, USC has a higher winning percentage against Oregon than it does against any other Pac-10 opponent.

Go Ducks!

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