At USC, can the Ducks learn from the Beavers? Print
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Thursday, 02 October 2008 12:02
NCAAF Headline News

 EUGENE, Ore. (AP) -At least for this week, No. 23 Oregon is looking admiringly at its in-state archrival.
Oregon State upset Southern California last week, dropping the national title contender from No. 1 to No. 9 in the polls.
Now it's up to the Ducks (4-1, 2-0 Pacific-10 Conference) to show whether the loss was a fluke, or if the Trojans (2-1, 0-1) do indeed have weaknesses. Oregon visits Memorial Coliseum on Saturday.
``I'll say this, Oregon State played a very, very good football game, almost a perfect game in terms of executing their plan on offense and defense,'' Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. ``Whether that woke SC up for certain things that they hadn't prepared for and now they will be, that's another thing.''
USC had solidified its ranking by romping past Virginia in the opener and routing then-No. 5 Ohio State 35-3 before heading to Corvallis for their conference opener. But at Reser Stadium the Trojans met the Rodgers brothers.
chdowns in the 27-21 victory and his older brother James caught a pair of TD passes, as the Beavers (2-2, 1-1 Pacific-10 Conference) took down a top-ranked team for first time in 41 years.
Jacquizz Rodgers' yards rushing were the most by a Trojan opponent since Texas' Vince Young ran for 200 on the way to a national title in the 2006 Rose Bowl.
USC's Mark Sanchez completed 18 of 29 passes for 227 yards and three scores, but threw a crucial interception. Running back Joe McKnight rushed for just 10 yards and had a key fumble against the Beavers, after gaining 105 yards against the Buckeyes.
USC has lost two conference games and shared the title the past two years, with California in 2006 and Arizona State last season.
``This has been an opportunity, is what this is,'' coach Pete Carroll said. ``So we want to see our guys find our way to the focus that takes us right back to the way we're capable of playing. That's what we do. We've done this before and been in this situation.''
Running back Jeremiah Johnson and LeGarrette Blount have helped the Ducks average 308.60 yards rushing, fourth in the nation. They, along with offensive coordinator Chip Kelly, certainly noticed what Jacquizz Rodgers was able to do against USC.
,'' Johnson said.
Oregon won its first three games, against Washington, Utah State and Purdue, before a loss at home to Boise State. Last weekend the Ducks rebounded with a 63-14 victory at Washington State, popping them back into the rankings.
Oregon's trouble this season has come at quarterback. Just before the season started the team lost projected starter Nate Costa to a knee injury which required season-ending surgery.
Justin Roper, picked as the starter in the week before the opener, left that game with a concussion. Then a left knee injury forced him to miss the past two games. He was expected to return against USC, but came down with a virus.
The Ducks have turned to Jeremiah Masoli, a junior college transfer, as well as freshmen Chris Harper and Darron Thomas. Masoli is the probable starter Saturday.
``Oregon State did take it to them and play better football, and that's what we have to do, too,'' he said.
But Oregon center Max Unger believes the loss was an anomaly and that the Trojans will recover. He just hopes it's not against the Ducks.
d.
``So I don't see why they'd come out and play any different if they had beaten Oregon State,'' Unger continued. ``People like to think they're going to have their backs against the wall, but in reality, they know that they've won the Pac-10 championship the last six years. They know how to do it.''
 

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