USC got off to a fast start against No. 7 Oregon, scoring 10 points in the fourth quarter and holding the Ducks scoreless. The Trojans snapped a streak of 14 consecutive quarters in which Oregon scored at least seven points.
That was the only bright spot for the Trojans as the Ducks would go on to score 28 points in the second quarter in route to a dominating 56-24 win on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“Credit to Oregon, they are a good football team,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “We made enough mistakes tonight against a top-10 team that you can’t win a ballgame. You can’t turn it over four times and have the penalties we had and play that not-clean a football game and expect to beat that team. Not our night. As I told the group in there we’ll come back on Monday and get ready for Arizona State.”
USC quarterback Kedon Slovis threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns but had three costly interceptions and lost a fumble. All four turnovers led to 28 Oregon points.
“I don’t think it necessarily affected my decision-making process throughout the game or my reads,” Slovis said. “You can’t commit turnovers like that, but sometimes it happens. You just have to move on and play the next play.”
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert scored on a 10-yard run and wide receiver Jaylon Redd punched it in from two yards out to give Oregon a 14-10 lead. On the next drive, Oregon safety Brady Breeze intercepted Slovis and returned it 32 yards for the score.
Slovis led the Trojans down the field on a 9-play, 74-yard drive which he capped with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr. with 20 seconds left before halftime. Mykael Wright returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and a 28-17 lead.
“If you watch Mykael’s (Wright) high school tape, that wouldn’t surprise you,” Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. “That’s what he has done. Brady’s (Breeze) touchdown was a huge momentum swing and then for them to come down and score, for us to come right back with the kickoff return, that was huge.”
Herbert shook off a rocky start and threw three second-half touchdowns to put the game out of reach. Pittman Jr.’s younger brother, Micah, caught a 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for Oregon. The Ducks scored 28 unanswered points in the second half before USC true freshman Kyle Ford would score his first career touchdown.
“You go on to the next game just like we’ve done,” Helton said. “We’ve got to play an Arizona State team that’s had a week off and they’re in preparation for us. So we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow, immediately. They’re at home with a talented offense and we’ve gotta go back and clean up the things that we did today and be ready to win the next one”