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First Half Recap: USC Silencing Oregon’s Offense, 24-6

The Ducks’ defensive effort is keeping them afloat. Meanwhile, the offense has been stuck in neutral

NCAA Football: Oregon at Southern California Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Oregon’s defense is playing solid against Southern California, as the Ducks trail, 24-6, at halftime. USC’s Ronald Jones II is the lone highlight of a low-scoring first half. The Trojan workhorse has two USC scores from Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

A brilliant play by the USC special teams paved the way for their first score. The Trojan offense would begin their initial drive of the afternoon from Oregon’s 35-yard line.

Following a field goal to open up the scoring, USC quickly added to their lead three minutes later. Jones scampered 23 yards to the house, 10-0. The Trojans’ second scoring drive amassed 60 total yards on seven plays. SoCal possessed the ball for 2:32.

After Darren Carrington dropped a sure touchdown pass from Justin Herbert, Oregon was forced to punt once again. Jones hit pay dirt for his second TD of the first quarter, and placed his USC team ahead of the Ducks, 17-0.

Since the second half of the Cal game, Oregon’s defense has been playing much better. Unfortunately, the box score is not always the best reflection of a team’s effort.

NCAA Football: Oregon at Southern California
The Spirit of Troy marching band was in full force prior to game against the Ducks on Saturday from LA Memorial Coliseum.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks’ offense sputtered out of the gate with an ultra conservative approach. Oregon did not score their first points of the day until :15 seconds left in the first quarter.

When they finally did punch it in, Charles Nelson was the beneficiary. The elusive athlete took the handoff 25 yards for the Duck touchdown, 17-6. The PAT was missed by Aidan Schneider.

Just before the halftime whistle, USC quarterback Sam Darnold connected with Deontay Burnett for the 3-yard Trojan score, 24-6,.

Darnold has completed 20 of 31 passes for 190 yards and a TD toss. Jones leads the way with 44 yards on 11 carries and his two TD’s. He also has one catch for 10 yards.

For the first half, Herbert has completed just seven passes for 75 yards. Seven different Ducks have touched the ball so far on offense.

On a side note, Tony Brooks-James started at running back for Oregon today. Royce Freeman will be his back-up against USC. Apparently, the coaching staff has been unimpressed by Freeman’s play this season. However, the move could be viewed as a motivational tactic, trying to stoke Freeman’s fire.

Regardless, the Duck backfield combined to rush the ball 14 times for 49 total yards. Nelson actually leads the RB quartet with 25 yards on his lone carry. Freeman is next with 23 yards on five carries.

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