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USC 38, Oregon 35 (final)

November 19, 2011 |  8:40 pm


A 37-yard field-goal attempt by Oregon's Alejandro Maldonado sailed wide left as time expired, allowing USC to hold on for the upset at Autzen Stadium.

USC appeared to be moving in for a game-clinching touchdown with less than three minutes left in the game when a turnover gave the fourth-ranked Ducks new life.

USC had driven from its own 28-yard line to the Oregon 11 when quarterback Matt Barkley and tailback Marc Tyler couldn't connect on a handoff. Brandon Hanna pounced on the loose ball for the Ducks.

From there, Oregon quickly moved down the field before stalling in the red zone.

With eight seconds left, the Ducks were called for a false start, moving them back five yards. Then quarterback Darron Thomas took a knee at the USC 25, bringing on Maldonado for what would have been a career-long 42-yard try.

But just before the snap for that kick, USC's Matt Kalil jumped offside, moving the ball to the 20 and making Maldonado's try five yards shorter -- within his range.

But the freshman from Colton, Calif., missed.

USC improved to 9-2 overall, 6-2 in Pacific 12 Conference play.

Oregon fell to 9-2, 7-1. The Ducks only other loss this season was to top-ranked Louisiana State in their season opener.

Freshman Marqis Lee had a huge game for USC with eight receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown, plus 134 yards in six kickoff returns.

Barkley completed 26 of 35 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

For Oregon, Thomas completed 23 of 35 passes for 265 yards and a touchdown. Kenjon Barner ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns in 16 carries.

"This is all about our fans and our players," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said in a television interview after the game. "They've been through so much. They've had so much taken away from them. We just keep moving those clouds away."


USC vs. Oregon photos

Here's a game recap:

USC 38, Oregon 35 (7:05 left in fourth quarter)

Oregon is suddenly within a field goal of the Trojans after cashing in on USC's second turnover of the game, an interception.

USC had driven into Oregon territory when a Matt Barkley pass intended for Robert Woods sailed high and was picked off by John Boyett.

Barkley and Woods complained to no avail that Woods was being held on the play.

Seven plays later, the Ducks were in the end zone on a one-yard run by LaMichael James. Then came a two-point conversion, with Lavasier Tuinei pulling in a Darron Thomas pass just inside the back of the end zone.

The big play on the scoring drive was a pass from Thomas to tight end David Paulsen, who made a spectacular, one-handed grab for an 18-yard gain to the USC one.

USC 38, Oregon 27 (12:44 left in fourth quarter)

Nope, this one is definitely not over.

Oregon's offense seems to have found an extra gear, and USC's defense suddenly looks a step slower.

This could be why Oregon came into the game having outscored opponents, 219-110, in the second half.

Kenjon Barner scored on an eight-yard run, capping a nine-play, 75-yard drive.

Barner has 63 yards and two touchdowns in nine carries. 

USC 38, Oregon 20 (3:13 left in third quarter)

One downside for USC is it's scoring so often.

That gives De'Anthony Thomas, the Oregon freshman who was L.A. City Section player of the year at Crenshaw High last year, a bunch of opportunities to run back kickoffs.

And he just did -- all the way back.

Thomas went 96 yards -- a little reminder to the Trojans that the game is not over -- but the Ducks failed on a two-point conversion try.

USC 38, Oregon 14 (3:28 left in third quarter)

Matt Barkley is putting on a clinic.

His five-yard pass to Randall Telfer -- the eighth different receiver he's completed a pass to tonight -- has temporarily turned this game into a rout.

Barkley has completed 21 of 27 passes for 262 yards and four touchdowns.

USC 31, Oregon 14 (9:27 left in third quarter)

USC just showed Oregon that two can play the quick-strike game.

After the Ducks took all of four plays to score, USC came back in five.

The big one was a 41-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Marqis Lee, who looks like a freshman All-America if there ever was one.

That took the ball to the Oregon three, and Marc Tyler scored from there -- barely -- on a run in which he barely pushed the nose of the football to the goal line.

Before the Barkley to Lee pass, Curtis McNeal broke off a 21-yard run.

USC 24, Oregon 14 (11:34 left in third quarter)

Well, now that looked familiar.

For the first time, Oregon flexed its unstoppable offensive muscle.

Freshman De'Anthony Thomas nearly took back USC's kickoff after the Trojans scored on a field goal. Only a shoe-string tackle by USC kicker Andre Heidari saved a touchdown.

Thomas had to settle for a 39-yard gain to the USC 43.

Four players later, the Ducks were in the end zone on a nine-yard run by Kenjon Barner.

USC 24, Oregon 7 (12:44 left in third quarter)

USC's offense clicked in the first half, and its defense slowed Oregon's high-powered offense.

Now a Trojans special teams unit has contributed.

T.J. McDonald blocked a punt that gave USC the ball at the Oregon 12-yard line, and the Trojans cashed in with a 26-yard field goal by Andre Heidari.

McDonald was in so fast on Oregon punter Jackson Rice, that he almost jumped past the kick.

However, the USC offense didn't fully capitalize on a prime opportunity.

After a three-yard run by Curtis McNeal, Barkley nearly gave the ball right back, fumbling the snap from center, then chucking a pass that was nearly intercepted.

He also missed badly on a third-down pass.

--Mike Hiserman

USC 21, Oregon 7 (halftime)

USC is in position to pull off the upset.

Can the Trojans, a 15-point underdog, hang on?

USC got a huge break in the final minute of the second half.

Oregon was threatening to pull to within seven points by driving to the nine-yard line. But running back LaMichael James lost the ball when he was hit by defensive tackle George Uko, with safety Jawanza Starling recovering the ball for the Trojans, who ran out the final 23 seconds.

The star of the first half has been freshman receiver Marqise Lee, who has caught a touchdown pass and helped set up two by sophomore receiver Robert Woods.

Matt Barkley got off to a rough start when he fumbled a snap, but he has recovered nicely and is picking apart the Ducks' cornerbacks.

USC 21, Oregon 7 (2:27 left in the second quarter)

USC isn't going away.

Not with freshman receiver Marqise Lee in the fold.

Lee returned a kickoff 46 yards and also had a 32-yard reception to set up Matt Barkley's four-yard touchdown pass to Robert Woods.

Barkley's touchdown pass was the 73rd of his career, moving him past Carson Palmer on USC's all-time list. Matt Leinart holds the school record with 99 touchdown passes.

USC 14, Oregon 7 (5:53 left in the second quarter)

Oregon finally gets its offense going, with quarterback Darron Thomas looking sharp after a slow start.

Thomas connected with tight end Colt Lyerla for a 35-yard gain to set up Oregon's first scoring play.

That came one play later when former Los Angeles Crenshaw High star De'Anthony Thomas got open in the Trojans' secondary. Thomas to Thomas resulted in a 29-yard touchdown. 

USC 14, Oregon 0 (14:54 left in second quarter)

Matt Barkley connected with Robert Woods for a 12-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter, temporarily quieting the crowd.

The drive started at USC's 34-yard line, the officials calling a controversial intentional grounding penalty against Barkley.

But the junior brought the Trojans down the field, connecting with Marqise Lee for a first down on a critical third-and-13 play. Barkley also had a 24-yard strike to Woods a few plays before the touchdown.

USC  7, Oregon 0 (6:35 left in the first quarter)

After a sloppy start by both offenses, quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Marqise Lee hooked up on a 59-yard touchdown pass play to give the Trojans the early lead.

Barkley had fumbled a snap on USC's second possession, but the Ducks gave the ball right back when a pass from quarterback Darron Thomas went off the hands of running back De'Anthony Thomas and was recovered by cornerback Isiah Wiley. Upon review, the play was ruled a lateral and a fumble.

The teams traded possessions before Barkley lofted a high pass down the left sideline and Lee hauled it in for the touchdown.


Still about 30 minutes from kickoff but the stars are out.

NBA stars, that is.

With the season on hold, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony are among pro basketball players in attendance along the Oregon sideline.

Reminiscent of USC in pre-sanctions days.


Early this week the forecast was for rain, and possibly snow, at Autzen Stadium.

But an hour before kickoff, the sun is shining through cloudy skies.

It's no sunny Southern California day, though.

Game-time temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s.

--Gary Klein, reporting from Eugene, Ore.

Photo: USC quarterback Matt Barkley throws a pass in the first half against Oregon on Saturday at Autzen Stadium. Credit: Steve Dykes / Getty Images