Oregon at Southern California

Jones, Darnold power USC to 45-20 win over Oregon

By DAN GREENSPAN
Associated Press
  •  

LOS ANGELES (AP) Southern California coach Clay Helton was afraid his team might look past struggling Oregon toward next week's marquee matchup against College Football Playoff contender Washington.

Fortunately for Helton, there were no such issues as Ronald Jones tied a school single-game record with four rushing touchdowns and the Trojans demolished Oregon 45-20 on Saturday.

''Now y'all can ask all the UDub questions you want,'' USC safety Chris Hawkins said.

Sam Darnold had 309 yards passing and two touchdowns with one interception, and Deontay Burnett had seven receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown to help propel USC (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) to its first five-game winning streak since 2013.

After rushing for a career-high 223 yards in USC's win over California, Jones again feasted on one of the worst rushing defenses in college football. The sophomore exploded for a 66-yard touchdown run on the third play of the second half before picking up a fourth score early in the fourth quarter to match a mark last accomplished by LenDale White in 2005. Jones finished with 171 yards rushing on 20 carries.

''I hold my breath every time he touches it because I know there is a chance he can go all the way,'' Helton said. ''Between himself and a very effective offensive line, they are doing some special things right now.''

Freshman quarterback Justin Herbert, who tied school single-game records for touchdown passes and passing yards in his two previous starts, threw for 162 yards and one touchdown as Oregon (3-6, 1-5) was assured its first losing record in conference play since 2006. Pharaoh Brown caught a touchdown, while Charles Nelson had a touchdown run.

USC jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on each of its first three possessions. After settling for a 35-yard field goal by Matt Boermeester on the opening drive, Jones ripped through the middle of the Oregon defense on a 23-yard touchdown run.

Jones' second touchdown run was even more spectacular, bouncing outside for a 3-yard score after spinning free from two Oregon defensive linemen who immediately met him behind the line of scrimmage.

The Oregon defense then responded by forcing punts on USC's next three possessions, benefitting from several dropped passes and penalties by the Trojans. But Oregon's offense was unable to mount a similar resurgence, aside from a one-play touchdown drive after a short USC punt.

Nelson took an end around 25 yards into the end zone with 15 seconds left in the first quarter, but Aidan Schneider missed the extra point.

''Our guys rallied, but just didn't seize enough moments there early,'' Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. ''As soon as you plugged one hole in the dike, another one opened up. Those guys are talented enough to make you pay for it.''

Oregon went three-and-out on four of eight possessions in the first half, unable to consistently block the aggressive USC defense and gaining just 125 yards. The Ducks finished with just 85 yards rushing in the game, with Royce Freeman running for 38 yards.

Dakota Prukop rushed for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to extend Oregon's streak of games with at least 20 points to 39, the longest active mark in the FBS.

Burnett caught four passes for 42 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown, on USC's last drive of the half to extend the lead to 24-6. Tight end Taylor McNamara added a touchdown reception in the third quarter.

Helton did offer a brief initial scouting report on the Huskies, praising sophomore quarterback Jake Browning and coach Chris Petersen.

''It ought to be a lot of fun,'' Helton said. ''We played our way into a really big game in November, and that's what you hope to do.''

THE TAKEAWAY

Oregon: The Ducks' streak of 11 straight bowl games is all but over. Oregon now needs to win its final three games to reach the six-win mark, but winning one game against resurgent Stanford, Pac-12 South challenger Utah or improving Oregon State would be a big ask of this flawed team.

USC: The Trojans are talented but temperamental. No one can doubt USC's athleticism across the board, but there are too many stretches where the offensive line misses blocks or the receivers drop passes. It will require a near-perfect performance to win in Seattle against a legitimate College Football Playoff contender next week.

UP NEXT

Oregon: Hosts Stanford in a diminished edition of what had annually been the Pac-12 game of the year since the conference expanded in 2011.

USC: Travels to face Washington in what might be the Pac-12 game of the year.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Scoreboard
Oregon  (3-6)607720
Southern California  (6-3) «17714745
Scoring Summary
USCMatt Boermeester 35 yd FG
USCRonald Jones II 23 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
USCRonald Jones II 3 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
OREGCharles Nelson 25 yd run (missed kick)
USCDeontay Burnett 2 yd pass from Sam Darnold (Matt Boermeester kick)
USCRonald Jones II 66 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
OREGPharaoh Brown 5 yd pass from Justin Herbert (Aidan Schneider kick)
USCTaylor McNamara 7 yd pass from Sam Darnold (Matt Boermeester kick)
USCRonald Jones II 1 yd run (Matt Boermeester kick)
OREGDakota Prukop 15 yd run (Aidan Schneider kick)
 
Team Stats
 OREGUSC
First Downs1928
Third Down Efficiency5-169-14
Fourth Down Efficiency1-20-0
Plays-Net Yards67-28881-579
Rushes-Yds30-8540-270
Passing Yds203309
Kick Return Yds980
Punt Return Yds044
Passes20-37-028-41-1
Punts8-2934-159
Fumbles-Lost1-01-0
Penalties-Yds7-4313-129
Time of Poss.25:934:51
 
Individual Stats
RUSHING
OREG: Royce Freeman 10-38, Tony Brooks-James 8-25, Charles Nelson 1-25, Dakota Prukop 2-16, Taj Griffin 2--2, Kani Benoit 3--3, Justin Herbert 4--14
USC: Ronald Jones II 20-171, James Toland IV 8-49, Dominic Davis 6-28, Sam Darnold 5-23, Team 1--1
PASSING
OREG: Justin Herbert 18-33-162-0, Dakota Prukop 2-4-41-0
USC: Sam Darnold 28-40-309-1, Max Browne 0-1-0-0
RECEIVING
OREG: Pharaoh Brown 5-30, Tony Brooks-James 4-26, Johnny Mundt 3-28, Jalen Brown 2-64, Royce Freeman 2-9, Taj Griffin 1-25, Charles Nelson 1-8, Darren Carrington II 1-7, Dillon Mitchell 1-6
USC: Deontay Burnett 7-87, Michael Pittman Jr. 4-61, Taylor McNamara 4-47, Darreus Rogers 4-33, Daniel Imatorbhebhe 2-37, Ronald Jones II 2-26, JuJu Smith-Schuster 2-10, Dominic Davis 2-5, Tyler Petite 1-3
 
Standings
TeamStandingsConferenceOverall
Oregon6th Pac-12 North2-74-8
Southern California2nd Pac-12 South7-210-3

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