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Turnovers Propel No. 7 Oregon Over USC
By Jonathan Bassey, Contributing Writer
Published November 7, 2019

USC Wide receiver Drake London (#15) catches a first quarter touchdown pass (Photo Credits via Mesiyah McGinnis/LA Sentinel)

With the PAC12 South title still in play, USC was looking to continue their undefeated streak at home against the seventh ranked Oregon Ducks. The Trojans have looked unstoppable at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum defeating two ranked opponents for a 4-0 home record. The streak came to an end in a 56-24 loss at the hand of the Ducks who are atop the PAC12 with a 5-0 conference record.

To start the game, USC made a statement drive after receiving the opening kickoff. Freshman Quarterback Kedon Slovis led the Trojans on a 16 play 81-yard drive capping it off with an elusive 8-yard touchdown strike to Freshman Wide receiver Drake London.

Oregon looking to gain steam made a costly turnover in their own territory. Senior Quarterback Justin Herbet was intercepted by Sophomore Safety Isaiah Pola-mao leading to a Chase McGrath 24 yard field goal.

In the second quarter, USC began unraveling as Kedon Slovis was intercepted by Oregon Freshman Verone McKinley III for a 25-yard return. The downward spiral continued when the Trojans crucial defensive back Isaiah Pola-mao was ejected for a targeting penalty.

Oregon Ducks Quarterback Justin Herbert (#10) in shotgun formation leading the Ducks offense (Photo Credits via Mesiyah McGinnis/LA Sentinel)

Oregon piled on the scoring as Justin Herbert ran for a 10-yard touchdown run on a 6-play 79-yard drive. In a promising drive, Kedon Slovis brought the Trojans down to the 3-yard line, only to give possession right back to the Ducks on a fumble recovered by Oregon in crucial red zone territory.

“We go up ten nothing, we really had the opportunity to go up ahead, and we end up getting a red zone turnover and in that second quarter,” emphasized Helton.

Oregon Wide receiver Jaylon Redd scored a 2-yard rushing touchdown. Kedon Slovis was intercepted for a 32-yard touchdown return. The Trojans had a 2nd quarter meltdown as they were trampled by the seventh-ranked Ducks. USC snuck out of the first half with a strong 9 play 74-yard drive finishing with a Michael Pittman 13-yard touchdown reception.

With 8 seconds left in the half Oregon Freshman Mykeal Wright returned the kickoff 100-yards for a Ducks touchdown, deflating the Trojan momentum ending the half. After a shutout first-quarter performance, the Ducks outscored the Trojans a whopping 28-7.

“There was just a couple things that went against us, a pick six happened, and you can’t do those things against that football team, they’re a quality football team, very well coached and tonight we just didn’t execute like I know we can,” Helton mention about the downhill turn of events.

The Ducks continue the scoring barrage into the 2nd half with a 7 play 80-yard drive out of halftime finishing with a Senior Juwan Johnson 15-yard touchdown catch. Junior Deommodore Leonir intercepted Slovis for a 45-yard return.

The Trojans repeatedly shot themselves in the foot each with costly turnovers as they strived to claw their way back into the game with the heavyweight Ducks.

“We made enough mistakes against a top ten team, you can’t turn the ball over four times and have the penalties we had and play and expect to beat that team,” said USC Head Coach Clay Helton.

USC possesses a talented team filled with 4 and 5-start recruits across the nation. Potential top-level NFL talent suit up for the Trojans each Saturday, but the lackluster record has Clay Helton on the hot seat.

On why he believes he’s the right coach for the program moving forward Helton passionately said, “I’ve been here for ten years, and I believe in being a servant to this University and the young men that are here. Each and every day I wake up, represent them and our school, and I will continue to do that. I’ll fight like hell for the people I believe in and the people I love until they ask me not to do it anymore. I’m going to show up on Monday and work my butt off for the next one.”

USC will fight to stay in PAC12 South title contention taking on Arizona State in Tempe, Saturday November 9th at 12:30pm.

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