USC vs. Oregon prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Trojans and Ducks.
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Let’s start a slow clap for Clay Helton. USC (5-3) has won its last four games and has eclipsed 40 points in three of those victories. That’s quite the turnaround from the 1-3 start the Trojans were off to in September. All three of those losses came against ranked teams: No. 1 Alabama, (then) No. 7 Stanford and (then) No. 24 Utah. Their most recent win, though, came at home versus Cal, 45-24. USC scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters to cruise past the Golden Bears.
As for Oregon (3-5), it finally snapped a five-game losing streak last weekend. The Ducks had dropped games to Nebraska, Colorado, Washington State, Washington and Cal before beating Arizona State, 54-35, this past weekend. Oregon took an early lead against the Sun Devils and never trailed in the game.
The Ducks have been on the winning side of the scoreboard the last two times they’ve met the Trojans. However, USC still owns the advantage in the all-time series, 37-20-2. Last year’s matchup ended in a 48-28 Oregon victory in Eugene.
What To Know About USC
Sam Darnold has been an absolute stud for the Trojans so far. He set a school record with 18 passing touchdowns in his first five games, which are more than any freshman (or in his case, redshirt freshman) has thrown in one season for USC. Darnold shredded the Cal defense last time out. He completed 18-of-25 passes for 231 yards, five touchdowns and only one pick. Two of those touchdowns went to Darreus Rogers, who finished with six catches for 97 yards. JuJu Smith-Schuster caught six balls for 66 yards but failed to get into the end zone. Deontay Burnett, Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Ronald Jones II all caught one touchdown apiece.
Jones was also given 18 carries, and he went off against the Golden Bears. The Trojans running back rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown while averaging 12.4 yards per attempt. Aca’Cedric Ware chimed in with a cool 130 rushing yards on 20 carries.
What to Know About Oregon
The Ducks will see your record-setting redshirt freshman quarterback, USC, and they’ll raise you a record-tying true freshman quarterback. That’s right. Justin Herbert — a former 3-star quarterback — tied Bill Musgrave’s school record with 489 passing yards in Oregon’s win over Arizona State. Herbert completed 31-of-42 passes and threw four touchdowns. Pharoh Brown caught two of those touchdowns and ended up with seven grabs for 129 yards. Johnny Mundt and Charles Nelson caught the other two touchdowns and combined for eight catches for 135 yards.
The running game was effective as well, though. Tony Brooks-James ran for 132 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Royce Freeman tacked on 38 more yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. And Herbert, even with his big game through the air, managed to rush 11 times for 23 yards.
Offense: USC – Both Herbert and Darnold have been playing great football, but Smith-Schuster is a difference maker. Plus, the Trojans have been running the ball very well.
Defense: USC – The Trojans have ballhawks in the secondary with Iman Marshall, Adoree’ Jackson and Leon McQuay III.
Special Teams: USC – Jackson is a game changer in the kick return game.
Coaching: USC – Both Helton and Mark Helfrich had the guts to go to young quarterbacks, but Helton’s decision came much sooner than Helfrich’s, and it might have saved the Trojans’ season.
Matchup To Watch
Sam Darnold vs. Justin Herbert
This is clearly the most intriguing matchup in this game. Both quarterbacks are young. Both have very little experience prior to this season, and both have been threading the needle to their receivers. Darnold has the advantage of a clear X receiver in Smith-Schuster, but Herbert has done a great job of spreading the ball around. This will come down to whichever quarterback has a better night.
Spread: USC -17
USC vs. Oregon Prediction
Get ready to watch the future of the Pac-12 in this one. Darnold and Herbert are going toe-to-toe, and both will have solid games. They’ll both fly past the 300-yard mark in the air, and both will throw at least three touchdowns. USC will get another solid effort from Jones, who will eclipse 100 rushing yards and find the end zone at least once. Brooks-James will match him and supply the Ducks with a few big runs. This will be a shootout, but the Trojans are going to come out on top.
USC vs. Oregon Score Prediction: USC 55, Oregon 42