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#7 Oregon Ducks vs. USC Trojans Game Preview, Pick & Odds

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#7 Oregon Ducks (7-1 Overall, 5-0 in Pac-12 North)


USC Trojans (5-3 Overall, 4-1 in Pac-12 South

Saturday, November 2, 2019 @ 8 PM EST

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)

Moneyline: ORE -180, USC +150

Spread: ORE -4 (-115), USC +4 (-105)

Total: Over/Under 62 (-110)

Odds courtesy of MyBookie

Game Preview

The two Pac-12 divisional leaders will face off on Saturday in a game that has CFP implications for Oregon and the Pac-12, as a whole, as the Ducks are one of just two teams (Utah) in the conference that have any chance to make a run at the Playoff.

#7 Oregon Ducks

Oregon has needed late-game heroics in both of their last two games (@ Washington, vs. Washington State). They trailed the Huskies 28-14 early in the third quarter before outscoring them 21-3 in the final 23 minutes for a 35-31 win. In a back and forth game against Washington State, they allowed the Cougars to take a 35-34 lead with one minute to go, before a textbook late-game drive from Justin Herbert. They got a 36-yard kickoff return to their own 39-yard-line, then Justin Herbert completed four straight passes for 52 yards. Kicker Camden Lewis nailed a 26-yard field goal as time expired to keep their undefeated Pac-12 record alive.

Oregon’s defense has looked uncharacteristically bad in their past two games, allowing 66 points and 879 yards of offense. In their first six games combined, the Ducks gave up a total of 52 points and 1,608 yards of offense. Luckily for the Ducks, they have a pretty solid offense to fall back on, led by senior quarterback Justin Herbert.

Justin Herbert has been about as close to perfect as it gets this year, completing 68.3% of his passes for 2,104 yards, 21 touchdowns and just one interception. The senior quarterback looked outstanding through the first four weeks of the season, completing 74.4% of his passes for 1,127 yards, 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Since then, though, his numbers have dropped a bit, as he’s completed just 62.4% of his passes for 977 yards, seven touchdowns and one interception.

Sophomore running back CJ Verdell has had two explosive games in the last three weeks, running for 171 yards on 12.2 yards per carry against Colorado and running for an astounding 257 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s nail-biting win over Washington State. Verdell and the Ducks should be able to take advantage of a weak USC run defense that has surrendered 190 yards per game and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

USC Trojans

USC just got their first road win of the season last week, edging out Colorado 35-31 after trailing 31-21 heading into the fourth quarter. Kedon Slovis’ 37-yard touchdown pass to Michael Pittman Jr. with 2:15 left in the fourth quarter gave the Trojans the lead for good, after they’d trailed for nearly 43 minutes.

Despite the fact that last week was their first road win of the season, the Trojans still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, thanks to their Week 4 upset win against Utah, which remains as the only blemish for the ninth-ranked Utes.

True freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis has been a very pleasant surprise and a sign of great things to come for the Trojans at the QB position. Slovis has played just five full games for the Trojans, but he has looked like one of the more impressive freshmen in the Pac-12 and throughout the country so far, completing 72.3% of his passes (2nd in Pac-12, 6th in FBS) for 1,625 yards, 13 touchdowns, five interceptions and a passer efficiency rating of 164.3 (2nd in Pac-12).

The Trojans’ other big offensive weapon that has emerged in the past few weeks has been true freshman running back Kenan Christon. Christon has 180 total yards and 3 touchdowns in his first two games, but will be up against a very tough Oregon defense that has allowed just 101.3 rushing yards per game (14th in FBS) and just three rushing touchdowns (T-4th in FBS).

The Pick

The numbers and the injury report definitely favor Oregon, but I just feel like this will be a really close one on Saturday night, with Oregon escaping with a close one. Maybe it’ll be a last-second field goal like last weekend, or maybe it’ll be a late-game defensive stop. Either way, I think this one will be close all the way, with Oregon squeaking out a victory at home to extend their winning streak to eight games and remain perfect in the Pac-12. I’m taking Oregon to win, but USC to keep it close and cover.

USC +4 (-105)