This is a Trojans offense that is rolling since inserting freshman quarterback Sam Darnold to the position. After benching starting quarterback Max Browne during the Stanford game, Darnold has gone on to compile a 4-1 record, while reeling off four straight wins following his loss to Utah. Him against Justin Herbert will be a fantastic matchup, shall the best freshman win.
After being the passing game coordinator for two seasons, Tee Martin was promoted to offensive coordinator after the 2015 season. He runs a similar offense to that we’ve seen from USC in the past, but look for a little bit more of a spread look. They like to put guys in motion and get you out in space with their playmakers, the Ducks are going to hope some speed on defense shows up in this one. Martin is also the wide receivers coach with strong alumni in the NFL including Randall Cobb, Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, and Nelson Agholor.
After the total beat down to Alabama to open the season, this is an offense that’s steadily gained steam. So far this season the offense is averaging 30.4 points per game. They’re very strong on the ground averaging close to 205 yards per game. Through the air has been solid as well with an average of 259 per game bringing the total yards per game right around 464.
The Ducks are going to need turnovers in this one and they might very well get some. So far, the team has eight interceptions and 18 fumbles with eight of those lost. On third downs, they’ve been pedestrian going at a 43% completion percentage. Fourth down’s are almost identical, going at a 45% conversion percentage. They haven’t been all that great in the redzone so far. In 34 attempts, they have scored touchdowns on 22 trips and settled for a made field goal on four for a total scoring percentage of 76% in the redzone. As I mentioned with the defense, Oregon must be careful of the USC offense in the first half. By quarter the Trojans have scored 62 points in the first quarter, 85 points in the second quarter, then scoring 62 points in the third and 34 in the fourth.
Last year the Ducks did a pretty solid job keeping the passing game in check. Cody Kessler threw for just 238 yards, while Oregon held star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to 57 yards. The running game was pretty solid however as they went for 186 yards, averaging close to five yards per carry.
Three players to watch:
JuJu Smith-Schuster, #9, junior wide receiver, 6' 2", 220 lbs.
Smith-Schuster is probably the best wide receiver in the conference, if not the country. So far he has a team leading 631 yards and eight touchdowns. Not only is he averaging close to 80 yards per game, but also each catch is going for close to 14 yards.
Sam Darnold, #14, (RS) freshman quarterback, 6' 4", 225 lbs.
The true freshman has started off his career at USC with a bang after taking over for Max Browne. In five starts he has 18 touchdowns to three interceptions with a nearly 68% completion percentage and 200 yards per game. He’s also a very skilled runner, coming in fourth on the team with his 149 yards and two touchdowns.
Ronald Jones II #25, sophomore running back, 6’ 1”, 195 lbs.
Last year it was running back Justin Davis who tore up the Ducks. But, with him questionable with an injury it’s leading rusher Ronald Jones II leading the way for the USC offense. He had a fantastic game against California going for 223 yards on just 18 carries.