WHEN USC HAS THE BALL
It’s unlikely that the Trojans will score four touchdowns in eight plays, as they did against Arkansas. Then again, Oregon’s pass defense ranks last in the Pacific 10, giving up 281 yards a game. Quarterback Matt Leinart has been executing play calls and ad libbing with uncanny efficiency. Running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White and receivers Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith are the main weapons, but the Trojans also began working fullback David Kirtman and tight end Dominique Byrd into the passing game last week. Tackle Haloti Ngata leads Oregon’s defense. Cornerback Aaron Gipson (Fontana High) has three interceptions.
WHEN OREGON HAS THE BALL
The Ducks’ spread offense seems ideal for resourceful senior quarterback Kellen Clemens, who ranks third in the nation in total offense. Receiver Demetrius Williams has caught four touchdown passes. Former Crenshaw High star Terrence Whitehead rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown and caught a touchdown pass last week against Fresno State. John Walker, a fifth-year senior, will start at cornerback for USC for the first time. Receiver William Buchanon switched to defense and is the third cornerback. Sophomore linebacker Thomas Williams will start for the injured Dallas Sartz. Safety Darnell Bing returns after missing the Arkansas game because of a hip injury.
KEYS TO A USC VICTORY
1. Protect Leinart. The Heisman Trophy winner is not afraid to put himself in harm’s way so the Trojans must keep him comfortable in the pocket.
2. Contain Clemens. The Trojans must pressure Clemens when he passes and stop him from breaking free on the run.
3. Avoid turnovers. USC cannot afford to give up the ball and let the Autzen Stadium crowd influence the outcome.
HOW THEY COMPARE
*--* USC Oregon 66.5 Scoring 40.7 17.0 Points allowed 24.0 393.0 Passing offense 339.7 234.0 Rushing offense 151.0 627.0 Total offense 490.7 253.0 Passing defense 281.0 128.5 Rushing defense 81.0 381.5 Total defense 362.0