Almost a year ago, USC was enduring its worst defensive performance of the season, a 48-28 shellacking by Oregon. One of the Trojans’ best defensive players, Cameron Smith, was left to watch on television.
"I watched it at a buddy's house," Smith said. "It was rough.”
Oregon wracked up 578 yards. Vernon Adams Jr. threw for 407 yards, averaging 16.3 yards per pass attempt, and passed for six touchdowns.
Smith plays middle linebacker, but he had been an effective deterrent in the passing game for much of the season. Against Utah, he intercepted three passes, and quarterbacks afterward were squeamish when throwing across...