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(Saturday, October 30th)
Final Score: (1) Oregon 53, (24) Southern California 32
Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - LaMichael James rushed for 239 yards and three touchdowns and Darron Thomas threw three of his four TDs to Jeff Maehl, as the No. 1 Oregon Ducks were too much for the 24th-ranked USC Trojans, scoring the final 24 points en route to a 53-32 triumph at the Coliseum.
The trio was part of a prolific offense that outgained the Trojans, 599-377, as the Ducks (8-0, 5-0 Pac-10) matched a school record for most consecutive victories to start a season.
"The good part of this team is we always push through, even when we're fighting through adversity," Oregon linebacker Casey Matthews said.
Thomas completed 19-of-32 throws for 288 yards, 145 of which went to Maehl on eight hookups.
USC (5-3, 2-3), playing its first game against a top-ranked foe since 1992, failed to do much offensively after scoring two touchdowns in the first four minutes of the second half.
Matt Barkley completed 26-of-49 throws for 264 yards with two interceptions and a TD toss to Ronald Johnson. Marc Tyler rushed for two scores in the loss, the Trojans' third in their last four games.
"That's what we needed tonight was four quarters of solid football," Barkley said. "It seems like only the first quarter and the start of the second half, we were rocking and we were rolling with the turnover ratio. Finishing, I think, is what we didn't do."
The Trojans quickly erased a 29-17 halftime deficit in the third. Jurrell Casey picked off Thomas on the fourth play from scrimmage at the Oregon 21- yard line, and two plays later, Johnson settled down between a pair of defenders and hauled in a five-yard score.
USC forced a rare three-and-out from the Ducks, and Johnson's 55-yard punt return set up a Barkley one-yard plunge just 3:41 in. Johnson caught a two- point conversion after the TD for a 32-29 edge.
Oregon, wearing the all-white version of their ever-evolving jerseys, answered with a 12-play, 69-yard march that featured four third-down conversions, including Maehl's go-ahead score on 3rd-and-13 from the 30.
James carried the load on another lengthy drive later in the third, capping the 82-yard march with a two-yard spurt with just over a minute remaining in the quarter for a 43-32 cushion.
USC opted to go for the first down on 4th-and-9 from the Oregon 40 early in the fourth, and Barkley's pass to Jordan Cameron was stopped short of the marker.
Last year's conference champions held the ball for the next five minutes and pushed the margin to 46-32 via Rob Beard's 34-yard field goal with 7:18 to play.
John Boyett sealed the win with an interception of Barkley in the end zone, and James, on his 36th carry, put the finishing touches on his terrific game with an eight-yard TD run.
It was back-and-forth throughout the first half.
Joe Houston put the Trojans on the board with a 32-yard field goal 3 1/2 minutes in, and a play-action fake left Maehl open for a 15-yard score with 9:17 left. Oregon added a two-point conversion after the TD.
Tyler's one-yard dive gave USC the lead back late in the first quarter, but James went untouched for a 42-yard scamper early in the second.
Again the hosts had a response, as Johnson's 25-yard grab helped set up an eight-yard TD run from Tyler.
Oregon lost five yards on its next touch but got the ball back when Barkley fumbled a low snap out of the shotgun near midfield. On the next play, Maehl got behind the secondary and hung on for sensational 45-yard touchdown, juggling the ball before hauling it in while falling into the end zone with 6:45 left in the half.
Lavasier Tuinei found a seam down the middle of the field later on and brought in Thomas' 33-yard toss for a 29-17 cushion at halftime.
Oregon's 1933 squad also started 8-0...James, who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark on his first touchdown run, entered the game leading the nation in rushing at 161.8 yards per game...Maehl has a touchdown catch in six straight games...Tuinei caught seven passes for 78 yards in the win...Oregon's defense has allowed seven points in the fourth quarter this season...Johnson ended with 65 yards on four grabs, while Tyler had 69 yards on 17 carries...USC is 7-12 against No. 1 ranked teams, though its last win came in 1984 against Washington.
10/31 02:36:28 ET