Behind enemy lines: Oregon
After exacting revenge on Washington, a team that beat them each of the last two years, the USC Trojans will head north in search of similar success against the high-powered No. 4 Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have quite a few eye opening statistics.
First off, Oregon ranksÂ 5thÂ nationally in rush yards per game withÂ 291.80. The Ducks areÂ 1stÂ in yards per carry, averagingÂ 6.79yards each time one of their ball carriers takes a hand off. The most dynamic of these rushers is running back LaMichael James, whoÂ leads the nationÂ in rush yards per game withÂ 150.88. USC has fared well against the run this year, holding opponents to only100.4Â yards per game on the ground, good forÂ 8thÂ nationally.
To make matters worse for USC, Oregon has proved to be next to unbeatable at home. The Ducks last loss at Autzen Stadium wasSeptember 20, 2008Â when they fell to Boise State 37-32. Since then, Oregon has reeled offÂ 21Â consecutive home victories. Since taking over the program in 2009, Ducks head coach Chip Kelly is undefeated at Autzen.
Perhaps most impressively, each of Oregon’s 9 victories in 2011 have come by an average ofÂ 29.2Â points. No team has come within14Â points of the Ducks. The opening line for Saturday’s ball game pits Oregon as a 15-point favorite. If the past few weeks have been any indication, Oregon should roll. USC must limit the run game as they’ve done all year and hope for the best in the stormy conditions forecasted for Saturday. Oregon is the hottest team in the country. The Trojans will need to play extremely well to best the Ducks this weekend.