Too much offense, even for USC, who were ranked number one in the nation before the season began. Kenjon Barner set records for an Oregon running back and for a Trojan opponent, leapfrogging some players in the wide open race for the Heisman trophy, proving just how good the Ducks are, at least offensively.
Just look at the numbers for Oregon and for both teams: We had 68 first downs, 37 of them for Oregon. A total of 1345 yards, 730 of them for the Ducks. Only 2 punts throughout the entire game. There were 16 touchdowns scored in the 62-51 wins, with only two field goals attempted all game. Marqise Lee had a huge day with 157 reception yards (2 touchdowns) and 251 yards on kick returns.
But it was Kenjon Barner that stood out above everyone else. He set a new Oregon record for rushing with 321 yards and scoring five touchdowns. Unstoppable, untouchable. On 19 of his 38 rushes Barner made it at least five yards past the line of scrimmage before contact. If there was any worrying minds about the Ducks starters playing a full game for once, they were convinced pretty quickly. Their defense wasn’t great, but it got stops. Three turnovers, and the big stop with three minutes to go, as USC turned the ball over on downs.
And we haven’t even begun talking about Oregon’s quarterback, Marcus Mariota, who some say was the reason Darron Thomas left early for the NFL Draft, knowing what he’s going to be up against this season. Mariota threw four touchdown passes on a nearly perfect day with 20 for 23 and 304 yards. He also ran for 96 yards, including a big 58 yard gain, the longest run by anyone in the game.
Oregon had eight touchdowns drives of 75 yards or longer, the most 75-yard touchdowns by any team in a game in the last nine seasons. They closed out the game early, in terms of giving USC something to chase. The Trojans struggle playing from behind, and can’t stop a good offense, as it was proven against Arizona recently. They did come within 3 points on two occasions, but just couldn’t get the stop they needed. The gap was created early on, as Oregon scored four touchdowns on their first four possessions; all 4 were drives of at least 75 yards.
The interesting thing about this win will be seeing what it does to Oregon’s rankings, especially on the computer. They’re number 2 on both human polls, and the win over USC (6-3) will probably give them a boost over what Kansas State (beating Oklahoma State) and Notre Dame (escaping Pitt) did this week. This was always going to be a tough one, especially in the Coliseum, but the Ducks have been the most talented offensive team in the nation for a few years now.
This year, there’s no messing up along the way, with the next big test coming up at the end of the regular season – Civil War against Oregon State, playing their best football in over a decade. Beyond that? Pac-12 Championship game. If they outlast all of that, it’s hard seeing them not getting one of the top two spots in the BCS, and a chance to fix their disappointment from the loss to Auburn nearly two years ago.