Oregon (3-2) vs. No. 13 USC (5-0)
When: 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18
Where: L.A. Memorial Stadium, Los Angeles
Coaches: Mario Cristobal, 3rd year (24-9 at Oregon, 51-56 overall); Cley Helton, 5th year (44-22)
Betting line: USC by 3
TV Channel: Fox
Radio: 1080 “The Fan” in Portland, KUGN-AM 590 in Eugene
How to watch live online: Fox Sports Go
What’s at stake: A conference championship and berth in a New Year’s Six game, likely the Fiesta Bowl. There’s more to it than even that, though. These two programs are atop the Pac-12 and recruit against each other for most every blue chip prospect. Plenty of players know each other. Coaches on each sideline have coached at both schools. Oregon is going for a second straight conference title and NY6 bowl game. USC is going for an undefeated season that could stand in a different sort of light historically depending on how the CFP shakes out.
Oregon offense vs. USC defense
Oregon is the leading offense in the Pac-12 and the most balanced unit in the conference as well. Tyler Shough is the engine that drives Oregon this season. He’s the most efficient passer in the conference and his mobility has made a big impact to Oregon’s run game.
USC is the most talented defense Oregon has faced yet and the Trojans have two major pass rushers in Drake Jackson and Nick Figueroa.
Safety Talanoa Hufanga has had interceptions in four straight games and is a playmaker all over the field.
Devon Williams could pose a particularly difficult matchup for the Trojans secondary, which couldn’t cover UO’s Juwan Johnson last season.
Oregon defense vs. USC offense
USC’s receiving corps is an embarrassment of riches. There is no stopping Amon-Ra St. Brown, Tyler Vaughns and Drake London. Sooner or later, one is going to make a big play. Size, speed, power, great hands. You name it and those three have it. Kedon Slovis gets them all the ball and distributes the ball well to the trio of future NFL draft picks.
Oregon’s defense is probably the most talented USC has faced this season and is coming off its best game. The Ducks should have an edge at the line of scrimmage as the Trojans are not doing well in tackles for loss and sacks allowed.
Did you know?
Jaylon Redd had a team-high four catches for 54 yards in Oregon’s loss at Cal and now had multiple receptions in 20 straight games played dating back to Nov. 17, 2018, when he started the streak with five catches in a win over Arizona State. During the stretch, Redd has three-plus receptions in 19 of those games, four-plus 13 times, five-or-more seven times with one seven-catch game and a career-high nine receptions in last year’s season opener.
Matchup to watch: USC’s receivers vs. Oregon’s secondary
There is too much talent here to make it about anywhere else on the field. Deommodore Lenoir and Nick Pickett, both L.A. natives, are going to be particularly amped to play what could be one of their last college games close to home, against USC and for a conference title. The individual matchups across the field are going to be outstanding. USC does have the superior size but Oregon has done better at keeping the routes in front of them.
They said it:
“From a defensive standpoint they probably think they can run the ball, throw all over us because of the mishaps we had in previous games. We’re going to keep our head down and play our game we know we can play, be physical at the line of scrimmage and we’ll go off from there..” — Oregon LB Isaac Slade-Matautia
With 540 yards from scrimmage on 50 touches, Travis Dye is second among FBS running backs with 10.8 yards per offensive touch.
The last time these teams met:
USC took a 10-0 lead early but Oregon responded with 21 straight thanks in huge part to a 32-yard interception return touchdown by Brady Breeze. After the Trojans got within 21-17, Mykael Wright returned the kickoff 100 yards for a score to make it 28-17 at halftime. Juwan Johnson scored three of the next four straight touchdowns by Oregon in a 56-24 mauling most believed marked the end of Helton’s tenure.
Prediction: USC 28, Oregon 24
Oregon Ducks vs. No. 13 USC Trojans: 5 things to watch in Pac-12 Championship game
Pac-12 senior associate commissioner for football operations Merton Hanks reflects on 2020 season
Oregon Ducks, USC juggle multiple game plans amid tumultuous short week ahead of Pac-12 championship game