All eyes will be looking to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this weekend to witness the PAC-12 heavy-weight battle royale between the visiting #4 Oregon Ducks (8-0) and the #1 USC Trojans (8-0). The Ducks are coming off a narrow 38-37 win over the Stanford Cardinal as they got a fourth quarter James Williams’ 42 yard field goal. Oregon had a rough day defensively surrendering some 598 total yards of offense to the Cardinal including a whopping season high 175 yards rushing from tailback William Black. Meanwhile, the Trojans were busy beating up on the Colorado Buffaloes, 28-9. USC limited Colorado to just 14 yards rushing and 120 total yards of offense in tour de force defensive effort. Quarterback Ed Baker threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns while running back Pablo Howell ran his way to 168 yards. Howell’s total marked the seventh time this year he has eclipsed the 100 yard rushing plateau and fourth time he ran for over 150 yards in a game.
The Ducks can win this game in hostile territory if they can find a way to run the ball a bit against the Trojan front. Oregon has been one of the league’s top passing teams this year under the leadership of quarterback Michael Vinson but he comes into this game nursing pulled quad muscle and might not be ready come game time. If Vinson cannot go, then the Ducks and head coach Jay Nemechek will turn the reins over to junior Mark Williams. Williams is more than capable and in his brief stints this season has been effective completing over 60% of his passes and throwing for 6 touchdowns. USC coach Jeff Beyel knows that no matter who is under center for the Dicks this is going to be a real tussle, “Oregon is well coached and have skill players all over the field. Both Vinson and Williams can really throw the rock and their receiving corps is, easily,the best we have faced all season long. Levesque and Estes are both big and strong at 6’3″ and tough covers and their tight-end Alejandro Martin is one of the best in the nation at his position.” But Beyel also noted that Oregon’s defense is no slouch either, “For sure,” Beyel stated, “Their defense has not gotten as much credit this year but that is a very rugged and talented group they have over there. Their front seven gets after ya and their corners are as good as you are gonna see so we know we have our work cut out for us this weekend.”