…the defense forces Marcus Mariota into mistakes. The freshman quarterback has been the picture of composure for most of this season. His surprisingly steady play has buoyed the Ducks, but he is still a freshman and that means he can be forced into mistakes. Though he’s only thrown five interceptions, his four fumbles lost this season rank him sixth in the nation. This will be only the third road game of his career and by far the biggest test of his mettle in front of a national audience and 90,000 rabid fans in the Coliseum. In road games against Washington State and Arizona State he had two fumbles and two interceptions.
On the other hand, the USC defense is fourth nationally in turnovers forced. Of the 23 TOs gained, 12 were forced in just three games a the Coliseum. Beyond that, the Trojans are the best defense that Oregon will have faced thus far. Given Oregon’s high scoring offense, turnovers will be key to keeping the Ducks out of the endzone.