It shouldn't have come down to that kick.
Was it a kick Maldonado should have made? Maybe. But it shouldn't have come down to that kick.
There were multiple drive killing drops. There was some terrible offensive line play. There was USC gaining seven yards on the ground on virtually every first down. There was Marqise Lee, who put up an absolutely outstanding performance for a freshman. There was Matt Barkley, who played up to his talent and gave fuel to the people who think he is deserving of a first-round pick in next year's NFL draft.
Oregon dug themselves a hole that they just couldn't get out of. The fact that, after being down 24 points in the second half, they had a chance to send the game to overtime, speaks to the resolve and demeanor of the team. But it shouldn't have come down to that kick.
National championship dreams are gone, but there is still a goal to be reached. Win next week over the Beavers, and the Ducks will host the Pac-12 Championship Game. Win that, and it is on to Oregon's second Rose Bowl in three years, and our third consecutive BCS bowl. There is still a goal to be reached, and it is a major one.
It shouldn't have come down to that kick. But it did, and the kick was wide. For the first time in Autzen Stadium, the day was not won. But tomorrow, the Ducks still control their own destiny in the Pac-12. And it will be Civil War week. Congratulations Trojans, you were the better team. We'll see you at the Coliseum next year. Go Ducks.