Nov 3, 2012; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a pass against the Southern California Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

USC Football: Excuses Not Valid in Loss to Oregon Ducks

After losing 62-51 to the No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks, it might be easy for the Trojans to look to make excuses. There was a pass to Nelson Agholor in the endzone that was ruled incomplete, a blown defensive pass interference call on Matt Barkley’s first quarter interception, a costly Marqise Lee fumble going into the half, and a review on an onside kick that went Oregon’s way late in the game.

Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

But despite those moments collectively making an argument for the difference in the game, the truth of that matter is that the Trojans couldn’t stop Oregon, making all of that irrelevant.

Even though the Trojans could have taken a second half lead if Lee didn’t fumble before the half, Oregon would have likely responded just as they did all night long: on three plays and in 47 seconds.

USC forced Oregon to punt just one time all night, in addition to forcing one turnover and a missed field goal. The latter two came in the first half, cancelling out a Barkley interception and giving the Trojans a chance to cut the Ducks’ lead to three to start the second half.

Had they forced the Ducks punt once in the first quarter, they just may have won the game. Had they stopped Oregon two more times at any point of the game, they surely would have won.

Despite the Trojans pushing Oregon, and doing so better than anyone has all season, it was Oregon’s ability to score on each of their first five drives that crippled USC and put them into a hole that they couldn’t get themselves out of, even had they had a break go their way offensively.

Oregon was always going to score. Marqise Lee not fumbling doesn’t change that. They were always going to score.

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Tags: Football Oregon Ducks USC Trojans

  • bpo

    “Had they stopped Oregon two more times at any point of the game, they surely would have won.”
    ..That really is a stretch of the imagination. Ducks would have responded, like they did all night.

    • fafgaghag

      what he is saying is that the ducks couldn’t stop troy either. So if the trojans had stopped them a couple of times, SC would have put up a couple extra td’s. Bottom line is SC could not stop them. It was embarassing to watch as a trojan fan. At least you would hope that they could stop the run and force them to pass on us. oh well, fight on.

      • Michael Castillo


      • Gil Marin

        Chip Kelly was just brilliant at keeping our defense off balance from the beginning to end. Masterful play selection, plays setting up other plays. they operated nearly mistake free and U.S.C. still never gave up. I’m proud of the boys.

      • jonathanhakim

        Ducks did stop Troy plenty of times. First off, USC only scored 3 points in the 1st quarter. Second of all, this is what their possessions looked like in the 4th quarter:

        Drive #1) 3-and-out, punt
        Drive #2) Have to convert 2 fourth downs to keep their drive going, get two other first downs due to penalties, get a bs pass interference call on 3rd-and-goal from the 7 that allows them to punch it in on the next play
        Drive #3) 4-and-out, turn it over on downs
        Drive #4) Score with 2 seconds left after the game is obviously over. Are stopped on the 2-point-conversion.

  • Mick

    True….. sadly all true!
    Fight On…. always FIGHT ON!

  • Ernie Vegopolis

    Heck, the Trojans score 51 in a game and lose? Just shore up the defense and we win; that’s a no-brainer. USC has always had a strong team. There isn’t a team in the nation that can beat USC like USC (and we’ve done a pretty good job of that, lately). Once we begin to play only one team on Saturday, we’re going to be rather scary. Until then, the rest of the world will just have to wait to see if we do play only one team. Let’s win out, guys. Fight On!!


    The Trojans had the refs in their pocket and still lose. What a laugher.

    • Michael Castillo

      USC had the refs in their pocket? In what way?

      • Carlos S.

        Didn’t watch the game but I found it shocking that USC only accumulated three penalties despite accumulating 10 all season.

        • jonathanhakim

          USC averages 11 penalties a game, but is only called for 3.
          Oregon averages 7 penalties a game, but is called for 10.

          I wouldn’t call it “gift-wrapped”, but that’s by far the best penalty advantage they ever could have imagined. And their next-to-last TD only happened due to a really blown pass interference call.

          • Carlos S.

            Yeah, these Pac-12 refs are a bit of a joke and it doesn’t shock me at all that the penalties favored USC here. Refs have awful games, but Oregon still won. The only thing refereeing can factor in here is that USC was as close as it was; if there was a wacky PI call on Oregon late in the game, the contest might not have been close, I suppose.

          • Michael Castillo

            I understand the discrepancy in penalties from the averages. However, other than a missed defensive holding call on Oregon in the first quarter (there was also a missed offensive holding on Kevin Graf on the same play that could have cancelled that out), and a poor PI call on Oregon in the 4th quarter, where did the referees give unfair advantages to either team, in terms of penalties? Both reviews went Oregon’s way, which was just in my opinion, despite Mike Perriera saying the onside kick should have been overturned. Just because one team has more penalties than another, doesn’t mean it was unfairly reffed and it doesn’t mean that most calls weren’t accurate or a team got away with things and/or got called too much. There were missed calls on both sides and fair calls on both sides. Unless you have a long list of penalties that should have been called or not called, you can’t use the number of penalties as evidence. That’s ridiculous as a fundamental argument, as anything can happen in any game.


    IF IF IF… If the refs hadnt have gift rapped half of the penalties for USC it would have been a blowout.


    Now I dont have to hear USC fans talking crap for a few years. At least 2. On the flip side USC will have to live with Oregon dominating for those 2 more years.

  • rjo

    I am a USC fan but did anyone REALLY doubt that Oregon would win? USC started the season loaded with talent and ranked #1. Now they will be lucky – LUCKY – to break even for the season. Have they beat any team with a winning record??? Down the stretch they face three more teams with winning records and they will be LUCKY to beat any of these teams. They have lacked discipline and cohesiveness from the start. And their play selection has been completely unimaginitive. ie: BAD COACHING. Kiffin is a buffoon. He should take his PAT shift – and his ineptitude- back to mddle school coaching where he belongs.

    • Gil Marin

      Yes, we have not truly shown the full force of our offense and that has been frustrating. The Ducks are ranked in the top 4 or higher in most polls, U.S.C. was one big defensive play of winning this game. The season is not over.

      • jonathanhakim

        Wait, USC was behind 17 with 2 seconds left. Other than a bad snap and a missed field goal, they only stopped Oregon once all game. How the heck were they “one big defensive play of winning this game”?

      • allthegoodnamesweregone2

        Yeah, I don’t get your ‘one big defensive play’ comment… Do elaborate on this new 18-point play you’ve discovered. Haha, I kid.

  • OreVsUSC_Sucks

    Ok USC lost – I give them credit for scoring 51 points. Any other game and that would have been a win. But Oregon has an offense as good. Though it could be said that their defense sucks.

    Look who Oregon has played though. Do they deserve their position?

    Arkansas State – Not Ranked
    Fresno State – Not Ranked
    Tenn Tech – Not Ranked
    Arizona – Not Ranked
    Washington St. – Not Ranked
    Washington – Not Ranked
    Arizona St. – Not Ranked
    Colorado – Not Ranked
    USC – 21st.
    The rest of their “tough” season
    California – Not Ranked
    Stanford – 16th
    Oregon St. – 13th

    Should it be a surprise they are still 9 – 0? Yes, some of these teams were ranked at some point, but when you see where those teams are now, it is a total fluff season. Just because the BCS lets you run the score to improve your rank, doesn’t mean you deserve the rank.

    I personally would rather watch ND v Pitt type games every weekend. Then you are seeing games where the teams are bleeding and dieing to get that 1 point.

    • Gil Marin

      Fine, let’s see what happens when we meet up for the last game of the season.

    • jonathanhakim

      6 of the 9 teams that Oregon has played have winning records right now. 4 of the 9 were ranked at some point in the season, and all four of those teams are getting votes in at least one of the polls right now. And Oregon has beaten every single one of them by double-digits. In fact, not a single team has even seen single-digits in the 4th quarter of any game against Oregon yet.

    • jonathanhakim

      p.s. – how many of Notre Dame’s opponents are still ranked? 2? Since Oregon will play three more (Stanford, OSU, Pac-12 championship), and since ND plays 1 more, at most, Oregon will finish with more ranked opponents than Notre Dame.

    • allthegoodnamesweregone2

      Actually, the BCS computer rankings don’t look at margin of victory. Otherwise Oregon would be #2. Their high rank in the BCS standings right now reflect the human element of the BCS rankings: the polls.

  • topkick163

    As the comentator said “SWISS CHEESE DEFENSE” seems to apply to both teams, but USC’s cheese had more holes.

  • jonathanhakim

    Pretty funny that USC is complaining about calls when they lost by 17 despite a 10-3 edge on penalties. And they were gifted a TD in the 4th quarter after a bs pass interference call on 3rd down.

    (Yes, I know they supposedly lost by 11, but touchdowns scored with 2 seconds left in a blowout really aren’t a meaningful measure of the outcome of a game.)

    • Michael Castillo

      You’re right, that ‘gifted’ TD in the 4th quarter cancels out the first Barkley interception, no doubt about it. Also, ‘blowout’? Did you watch the game at all?

      • jonathanhakim

        USC was 2 or more scores behind the entire 4th quarter. They were down 17 with 2 seconds left. By most definitions, that’s a blowout. If you were a USC fan, I can see you thinking “but they’re still in it!” during that time, but that would have required stopping Oregon, and other than a fumbled snap and a missed field goal, Oregon was never stopped until the game was well out of reach.

        • Michael Castillo

          Of course, stopping Oregon was the problem, as highlighted in this article. But to call it a blowout is just ridiculous, especially given how potent both offenses were. It’s not inconceivable at all that USC could have, and maybe even ‘should have’ had the lead in the third quarter, which would have put the Trojans within a field goal in the fourth quarter. Obviously, that doesn’t matter because they couldn’t stop Oregon and as long as that stayed the case, the Ducks were always going to win. Even down 41-38, if the Trojans stop Oregon, they can take a lead late in the third and it’s a different game as they would have found a way to make a stop. But they didn’t, so excuses don’t matter, as pointed out in the article.