Trojans won’t be haunted by Ducks


Here’s a scary scenario for USC fans:

It’s Halloween night and the USC football team is up in Eugene, Ore., trick-or-treating. But instead of terrorizing homeowners with intimidation and trepidation, the Trojans fall victim to the spell of the Ducks and leave empty-handed.

This isn’t your far-fetched Halloween horror movie. This is real.

USC arguably runs into its biggest test of the season when it faces No. 10 Oregon in a battle of one-loss teams. ESPN’s College GameDay will be on the scene documenting and analyzing every move. It’s inevitable that analyst Lee Corso will dress up as a Duck or Trojan this Halloween. But the question is: which one?

Both teams still have their sights set on the national championship, but they’ve used two of their three lifelines.

1. Both teams have asked the audience. Turns out the audience favors the Trojans, who are ranked No. 4 in the AP and Coaches’ Polls, over the Ducks, who are ranked No. 10 and No. 12 respectively.

2. Both teams have phoned a friend — a computerized one. That friend is kinder to Oregon, who sits at No. 6 in the computer rankings, than USC, which finds itself down at No. 9.

3. So now, it’s down to the last lifeline: 50/50. The winner will be in the driver’s seat for the Pac-10 title and still in the same car for the national title. But the loser will be forced to make alternate New Year’s plans. Cases could be made for both teams, but USC is the right answer.

Of course, it won’t be easy. The Trojans’ three-game losing streak in the state of Oregon has been well publicized, as has USC’s poor defensive play recently.

In the first five games of the season, USC gave up 40 total points, didn’t allow anyone to throw for more than 237 yards and didn’t give up a single passing touchdown. However, in the last two games against Notre Dame and Oregon State, the defense has been shredded for 63 points and 614 passing yards combined.

But that’s exactly why USC will beat the Ducks. Oregon’s quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, resembles Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor more than Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen. And USC has had great success against Pryor in the past two years. With defensive ends junior Everson Griffen and redshirt freshman Nick Perry among the nation’s leaders in sacks, the Trojans will knock Masoli down harder than a LeGarrette Blount punch.

Sure, USC lost its last game in Eugene because it had an inexperienced quarterback in Mark Sanchez — who was filling in for an injured John David Booty — but lack of experience won’t be a problem this time. Freshman quarterback Matt Barkley has grown up faster than anyone could have imagined. USC coach Pete Carroll, who’s coached two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, has called Barkley an “outlier.”

Barkley is the cool, relaxed Southern California kid who seems to be enjoying everything life throws at him. During his second start against Ohio State in the third-largest college football stadium in the country, he walked into the huddle, smiled and asked, “Isn’t this fun?”

Students have tried to hurl everything at Barkley, from insults to paper. Before the game at Cal, Barkley said the crowd probably wouldn’t be as bad as the crowd at Ohio State. So, the Cal students printed out fliers reminding everyone of this. Barkley responded by throwing for a then career-high 283 yards.

When Barkley says the crowd won’t be a factor, apparently he means it. Barkley is undefeated thus far in his career at USC — redshirt sophomore Aaron Corp played in the game against Washington when Barkley was injured.

Barkley’s success might hinge on the status of senior tight end Anthony McCoy, who sprained his ankle last week. McCoy is questionable for the game, but there’s no questioning the chemistry he’s developed with Barkley. In the game against Notre Dame, McCoy caught five passes for 153 yards, including a huge 60-yard gain as a Fighting Irish defender clung onto his jersey on a critical third down in the second half.

Of course, Barkley’s job is made much easier by the play of USC’s tailbacks. Even though USC lost its most consistent back in senior Stafon Johnson to a weightlifting accident last month, the ground game hasn’t missed a beat.

Senior Allen Bradford has stepped up, running for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries in USC’s win over Oregon State last week. Bradford, a USA Today first-team Prep All-American in 2005, had been playing in the shadow of Johnson and junior Joe McKnight the past few seasons, so when he finally got his opportunity, he didn’t let it slip away.

Much like the contrasting styles of LenDale White and Reggie Bush, Bradford has become the thunder to McKnight’s lightning. McKnight has finally been living up to the hype that surrounded him during his first two years. He leads the team in almost every rushing category, with 97 carries for 634 yards (an average of 6.4 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns.

With Barkley’s maturation and USC’s unstoppable ground game, the Trojans should give the Ducks quite a fright on Halloween night.

And unfortunately for Oregon, ESPN’s College GameDay will be in Eugene, broadcasting game coverage around the nation. It’s a well-known fact that Carroll’s Trojans play their best games when the national spotlight is on them.

So have no fear, Trojan fans. While Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Corso spend the entire day hyping the game, debating the winner and pumping optimism into the Oregon faithful’s’ bloodstream, there is no need to worry.

After Corso dons his Trojan costume and the Trojans take care of business, it will be hard to imagine the national title game without USC.

“Spittin’ Sports” runs Fridays. To comment on this article, visit dailytrojan.com or email Kenny at klegan23@gmail.com.

22 replies
  1. FalseStart
    FalseStart says:

    This is exactly why USC fans are stereotyped as the University of Spoiled Children fans………..all fans talk smack back and forth but arrogance is ripe all the time in USC comments and analysis……….how does 613 yards of offense, 47 points, being contained to 327 total yards, and 20 points (and 3……thats right…..THREE points in the second half) taste? All I heard all week was how USC is always up for big games and how they never lose big games, and their defense is so good and fast………I have watched a few USC games this year and saw first hand they were not as good as last year and as a Duck fan thought that they would be up for the game but the Autzen magic would lead to some false start penalties (5) and Oregon would pull out a close one, but horry cow Oregon lined up (as Oregon State did last year) and just said we are good, we are running the ball, stop it. They didn’t at all……….USC can win out and get to a good bowl matchup and if Oregon cannot finish what they have going it means nothing but the Pac-10 title runs through somewhere new for the first time in a while……..Eugene baby!!! Oh and here is some arrogant fandom right back at you Trojan fan……..47-20 and a four game state of Oregon losing streak……….SCOREBOARD!!!

  2. DucksRULE
    DucksRULE says:

    47-20 Oregon. I guess that settles that! Happy Halloween Trojans and thanks for the “treat” for all us Ducks fans!

  3. JS
    JS says:

    USC 7 straight Pac 10 titles countless BCS games, Oregon = ZIP…..get real Duck fans. Oregon never even plays a prime time big game. USC has one every week on TV. Oregon loses to Boise St, lol. Even if you win, you’re ZIP….those are the facts. USC 11 national championships, Oregon = Zip, and on it goes.

  4. Krishnamurti
    Krishnamurti says:

    Wow, you guys are hilarious. Really relying on that sound argument huh? I have no clue about physics or science. Whatever I have master’s degree fool. Fully aware of acoustics or sound reverberation. The shoe is also an acoustical nightmare. Games well registered over 120 dBs. Check out there “architecture” and layout douche. Same thing at ND. By the way I never sad it wasn’t loud at Autzen. It’s friggin loud at Washington. Actually I think Washington holds the record for loudest stadium (check other sources besides ESPN). By the way have you guys traveled to these other stadiums by the way?

    Anderso3 – Stats are stats. Facts are facts. Masoli is not a better QB than TP. Look it up. As far as a pure athlete is concerned no one oustide of Oregon will agree that Masoli is better.

    USCsDECade – Since when did I proclaim a “man-crush” or I have blind enthusiasm. Looking for a definition of a man crush look at Anderso3 comments. I gave my props to Ducks on D and outlined where the game will be decided. What are looking for your shot at president of the UN? So sensible you sound. You’re hilarious too bro.

    I just maintain that the sound will not be a factor for Barkley as everyone thinks it will. No need to name call. Captain foolios.

    I thought it would be a good game. Never denied that. But I see a lot unsubstantiated zeal for Oregon. I guess will find out soon enough. LOL god you duck fans need to chill out. Keep hanging on to your crazy uni’s and dB’s agrument. You’re going aneurysmal for no reason.

    Peace in the middle east…. seriously

  5. Edwardo
    Edwardo says:

    Perfect! I’m so glad you Trojans are super-confident! “No Problem.” “No contest!” & all that…. Keep pouring it on! Keep stoking the coals in the Duck locker room……

  6. LawDuck
    LawDuck says:

    Barkley doesn’t matter. He will throw picks, fumble snaps and bumble through false starts. The crowd WILL get to him. But it won’t matter much. If USC is going to win this game, it’s going to be on the shoulders of their monster running backs. As of late Oregon seems to have some issues tackling – a lot of flinging bodies at runners, very little wrapping up, and the wet conditions won’t help that. If Oregon stops the run, we win, because Barkley can’t, and won’t, beat us.

    Likewise, USC’s defense will have to stop Oregon’s running game. Stopping the passing game won’t be hard, there’s not much of one to begin with (not on a consistent basis anyway). Oregon will get more big passing completions than USC, but not enough to make a huge impact, and almost certainly none for scores. (By that i mean long passes for a score – I fully expect Ed Dickson to turn a 10-yard reception into a 40-yd TD, but again that’s his running effort).

    Defense will be the key. And while USC has great players at every position, Oregon’s defense as a whole is better. I’ve never experienced the saying that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” until seeing this defense. It shouldn’t be that good. Man for man, it lacks the size and talent of most top defenses. But as a unit, it’s other-worldly good.

    In the end, it will come down to turnovers, and Oregon will win that battle by a +2 margin, with at least one defensive/special teams touchdown to boot. Oregon wins a close one, 21-17. (21-10 going into the fourth, and USC gets a late TD and loses the on-side kick).

    Go Ducks, and I hope the Trojan fans who come to Autzen simultaneously have a great time and a miserable time, but most importantly a safe time.

  7. USCsDECADE
    USCsDECADE says:

    Pay little attention to this article duck fans. Krishnamurti has all the blind enthusiasm as one of you HOT cheerleaders. Not all USC fans are as naive as this–Autzen will be loud, and Barkley may struggle. We will have to rely on our offensive and defensive lines that are chalk full of athletic future NFLers.

    Our team, thank god, does not completely rely on Barkley’s ability to be a “cool, relaxed Southern California kid who seems to be enjoying everything life throws at him”. Though Krishnamurti’s man crush would have you think otherwise.

    The game will be close, and that is a fact. We will usually have more skill than anyone in the pac-10, but the ducks chemistry this year is far superior to any other teams’ in the country. I hate playing in the northwest, and I would not be surprised to see USC take a loss here. That being said though, we are USC and the Pac-10 crown is still ours to take. I don’t forsee that happening for another couple of years. Maybe when LaMichael James, Boyett(sp?), Cliff Harris, and Darron Thomas become upperclassman–that will be a scary freaking team….

  8. PortlandDuck
    PortlandDuck says:

    Size isn’t everything kris. It’s not the number of people alone that make Autzen as loud as it gets. It’s the way the stadium is built. The croud is litterally right on top of the field with the stands pretty much going straight up so that it traps the sound on the field. USC fans should be really worried, because you aren’t leaving Oregon with a win.

  9. John
    John says:

    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Krishnamurti
    Krishnamurti says:

    Do people commenting even watch football? Hmmm. Okay some facts….

    Autzen louder than the Shoe.? 106k fans > 54k fans. I think Barkley is battle tested and ready for the noise and atmosphere.

    Masoli is a more talented athlete/runner than Pryor? I don’t think so. The stats don’t prove he’s a better passer either. See yahoo. I also don’t think the scheme has any impact. Ohio ran a wildcat and option spread among other things against USC. They tried everything with Pryor that game.

    Don’t infer anything from Washington Loss/Win – USC/Oregon. Set aside personnel issues. Turnovers dictated most of the direction for each of those games. I think PC will have Barkley keen on watching his throws, especially after last week.

    Credit – Ducks are showing up on D this year. However, I think we stop Oregon’s gimmick spread as usual. Each team’s linemen will determine how close this game is for Oregon. Assuming no turnovers, if we run it down their throats not a friggin chance for an Oregon win.

    I’m excited. Should be a showcase game for those outside of the conference to see how PAC-10 football is really played.

    • Duck92
      Duck92 says:

      Having gone to both USC and Oregon, I know the passion on both sides for these school…

      It will be loud and wild. Krishnamutri has no clue about the physics of sound and crowds. The “shoe” is not very loud simply because of the open space. The loudest game recorded in college football according to ESPN is the 2007 USC/Oregon Game at Autzen @ 127.2db. Autzen is the most intimidating place in the country and it will be full of energy.

      Oregon is peaking now and getting better every week. The Trojans are struggling this year. The past three weeks especially….look at common opponents:

      Washington (Ducks 43-Huskies 19)(Trojans 13-Huskies 16)
      California (Ducks 42-Bears 3)(Trojans 30-Bears 3)
      WSU (Ducks 52-Cougs 6)( Trojans 27-Cougs 6)

      It will be a shootout, but the Ducks will prevail.

    • anderso3
      anderso3 says:

      Krishnamurti,

      I have a few comments about your article. The first and foremost point is the point about the noise of the fans in Autzen Stadium. Yes, the Shoe does boast a whopping 106,000 fans that can get quite loud, but the sunken nature of Autzen and the way that the fans are right on top of the action makes it much louder than many other stadiums. It has been in the top 3 loudest college football venues consistently, and one ESPN reporter goes on to say that it is actually louder than Death Valley and The Swamp. What makes Autzen so memorable is the fans. Even Kirk Herbstriet the other day said that Autzen Stadium is the loudest stadium per capita. Just imaging how loud that place would be if the stadium could hold numbers like that of USC, Ohio State, and Michigan.

      The second point that I would like to address is addressing the question of: who is better, terrell pryor or jeremiah masoli? I believe the clear answer to this is actually Jeremiah Masoli, who last year burst onto the scene as a D-I college quarterback. Not counting the Boise State game, Masoli has been an absolute monster, finally starting to connect with his receivers down-field for big plays. He has an amazing arm and is very elusive when scrambling. Terrell Pryor, on the other hand, is still a very immature quarterback, and though he may become one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, he has still not surpassed Masoli in knowledge and speed. Masoli brings a tough game along with him where other quarterbacks would just slide down to their knees.

      Oh, and one more point. I will be in the student section of Autzen Stadium Saturday and have one last thing to say.

      GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FIGHT ON OREGON!!!!!

  11. PortlandDuck
    PortlandDuck says:

    Puh-lease. USC plays well when the spotlight is on them? Did the Author forget about USC’s last trip to Eugene? Big game. National spotlight. They lost. How about last year against Oregon State? Thursday night game. number one team in the country. Spotlight is on them. They lost.

    Trying to compare Masoli to Pryor is like comparing apples to oranges. Their two offensive systems are complete opposites. We all know that Pryor struggles as a drop back passer. Put him in a spread offense like Oregons and he would light up the USC defense.

    I respect your enthusiasm, but let’s get real. The noise at Autzen is definitly going to be a factor when they cause false start after false start when Barkley cant get the play call to his team mates.

    Oregon wins, and wins by at least two scores. I’ll say 35-17 Oregon.

  12. Jeremy
    Jeremy says:

    This article has little to no factual or statistical information to support any of the theories. its just the head coach, freshman Qb’s, and Authors opinion. Its completely ridiculous, statements like “It’s a well-known fact that Carroll’s Trojans play their best games when the national spotlight is on them.” if that was true would the trojans have lost in Eugene in ’07 when the game was featured on National TV? I think not.

    • Brendan
      Brendan says:

      Dude, come on, you can’t be serious. You’re actually critiquing this article about a SPORTING COMPETITION between two teams for not supporting all of its statements with concrete evidence? Is that a joke?
      A football game will be played. Nobody can be certain of the victor until the game is over and one team has scored more points than the other. That is the fact. This author wrote an article with a little bit of excitement and school spirit stating some reasons that he thinks our football team will ultimately win the game. Loosen up.

    • John Martin
      John Martin says:

      OK – So you want some stats, here you go. Oregon has feasted on 4 pac-10 teams. 3 of them were the worst defenses in the PAC-10 and the other was UCLA. They have the worst passing offense in the PAC-10 and that is after playing the 3 worst pass defenses in the PAC-10. They need to run a spread offense to get their running game going, but USC’s team speed will negate that. SC is vulnerable between the tackles, not via the spread. SC’s defense over the past 2 games have been exposed by solid passing from solid quarterbacks, not via the running game

      So we are playing against a team that needs to run the ball with an iffy quarterback. Don’t be surprised if SC gets up early that the Duck crowd becomes quiet when their qb needs to throw and can’t. SC wins this game going away and the Ducks get exposed for what they are…. an average team that beats bad competition via turnovers and a strong running game…

      Any Questions???

  13. Duck Fan in LA
    Duck Fan in LA says:

    Haha!

    It’s gonna be a tough game, and don’t think I’d go as far a declaring a sure-fire winner, but HELLO!

    Matt Barkley has no idea what Autzen Stadium is like. Just ask Mark Sanchez, who threw two interceptions in 2007.

    But if Matt Barkley can play lights out and quiet the Autzen crowd on his way to victory, then kudos to him.

    It’s going to be insane.

    • John Martin
      John Martin says:

      Duck fans. Do you ever leave your state? Have you ever been to a football game at the Shoe? Were you there when SC played Ohio State? You have no idea how loud that stadium was and the bottom line is that Barkley couldn’t hear anything during the final drive anyway. To somehow think that your stadium and your 50,000 fans will make a difference after what he’s already been through is myopic at best and plain dumb at worst. If SC loses it will be because your special teams will have made a different. It won’t be false starts and fumbling the ball. Remember, this isn’t Cal and the Jeff Tedford collapse team that you blew out earlier.

      Today is your midterm exam. Let’s see if all the smack equals a win. Let’s see if your QB can throw the ball and if your defense and line are up to the task. I don’t think they are and just watching Duck fans get on the SC newspaper message board to proclaim their greatness after beating no one is a bit absurd. Heck, I’d be surprised if you can get past Oregon State.

      • Kevin Bass
        Kevin Bass says:

        Wow, sounds like Mr. Martin was a little too confident. You are quite the pompass ass, because look who just kicked your Trojan’s ass. The Ducks. I take it that you have never been to Autzen, and seeing how may false start penalties the Trojans had you can just shut your mouth about that. Douche!!!

      • Chris in Seattle
        Chris in Seattle says:

        “Duck fans. Do you ever leave your state? Have you ever been to a football game at the Shoe? Were you there when SC played Ohio State? You have no idea how loud that stadium was and the bottom line is that Barkley couldn’t hear anything during the final drive anyway. To somehow think that your stadium and your 50,000 fans will make a difference after what he’s already been through is myopic at best and plain dumb at worst. If SC loses it will be because your special teams will have made a different. It won’t be false starts and fumbling the ball. Remember, this isn’t Cal and the Jeff Tedford collapse team that you blew out earlier.

        Today is your midterm exam. Let’s see if all the smack equals a win. Let’s see if your QB can throw the ball and if your defense and line are up to the task. I don’t think they are and just watching Duck fans get on the SC newspaper message board to proclaim their greatness after beating no one is a bit absurd. Heck, I’d be surprised if you can get past Oregon State.”

        What was that ? Can you repeat that, I didnt quite catch it. HAHAHA!

        Well I guess maybe we still havnt beat anybody because USC was a joke! lol

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