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Upset seemed to be the theme this week as No. 2 Oklahoma State fell to unranked Iowa State, No. 5 Oklahoma was taken out by No. 22 Baylor, and the No. 7 Clemson Tigers were dropped off by an unranked NC State squad. And as much as Oregon fought USC to not join the group of upset Top 10 teams, it was of no avail.
The No. 4 Oregon Ducks suffered a 38-35 loss at the hands of the USC Trojans, in what was an exciting, fight-to-the-finish showdown, Saturday night. By the third quarter, the Trojans had taken a 38-14 lead and looked to be cruising to victory. But the Ducks never gave up. Freshman De’Anthony Thomas ran a 96-yard kick return in for a score, and the tide shifted into Oregon’s favor.
Though LaMichael James couldn’t get it going with only 78 yards on 20 carries, backup RB Kenjon Barner picked up his slack, especially in the fourth quarter, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns on only 15 carries.
QB Darron Thomas also got it rolling, completing 23-of-35 pass attempts for 265 yards and a touchdown, but USC was able to shut down Oregon’s offense early, preventing them from getting the hot start that they needed.
USC QB Matt Barkley absolutely dismantled the Ducks’ defense, passing for 323 yards and four touchdowns, while completing 26-of-34 attempts. And his favorite target? The true freshman, Marquise Lee, who hauled in 187 and a touchdown on eight receptions; over 23 yards per reception. Barkley also hit WR Robert Woods seven times for two touchdowns.
The spotlight was on Oregon freshman, De’Anthony Thomas, who had verbally committed to USC before changing his mind and officially committing to the Ducks. Along with his kick return TD, he was also on the receiving end of a 29-yard touchdown pass.
For Oregon, hopes of a rematch against No. 1 LSU in the BCS Championship Game have been spoiled, and at 9-2 they MUST win next week’s rivalry game against Oregon State in order to maintain home field advantage in the Pac-12 Championship Game. The Trojans, however, are still feeling the results of the Reggie Bush scandal, and were banned from all bowl games after being found guilty of paying Bush to attend their school.
Their win over Oregon was beautiful, but it may have been in vain.
Image Courtesy of https://www.facebook.com/oregonducks