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USC Loses Pac-12 Championship and Opts Out Of Bowl Play
By Khari Jones, Jr., Contributing Writer
Published December 23, 2020

USC receives pressure from Oregon defense (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

USC Trojans took a disappointing loss in the Pac-12 Championship 31-24 against the Oregon Ducks. The Trojans attempted to make a fourth-quarter comeback after being down 14, but they could not reach their goal of winning the Pac-12 for the first time since 2017, as their undefeated season came to an end.

Quarterback Kedon Slovis started off slow by throwing two interceptions in the first quarter, which led to two touchdowns. Oregon had a 31-17 lead with ten minutes to play, and Bru McCoy caught a TD pass on fourth down. When the Trojans regained possession, Slovis threw his third interception of the game, which ended their chances of making a comeback. USC head coach Clay Helton said, “The kid made a nice play on the sideline. I know that [Slovis] was trying to get that ball out of bounds.” The young sophomore completed a season-low 53.8% of his passes. Slovis finished with 320 yards on 28-52 yards passing with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Receiver Drake London, who finished with eight catches for 75 yards, said, “He’s going to have some hiccups here and there, but it’s Kedon Slovis. We all trust in him.”

The Trojans were disappointed in their loss to Oregon. They had high hopes of winning the Pac-12 championship. Helton mentioned how hurt the players were when they lost. “There’s a lot of hurt souls in our locker room right now. I know our kids wanted extremely badly to win a championship, and we came up short today.” Slovis was under pressure from the Oregon defense, which contributed to him being sacked three times. 

Three interceptions for Slovis (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Oregon will now take the Pac-12 spot in the New Years Six bowl even though they had more losses than USC (5-1), Washington (3-1), or Colorado (3-1).

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Coming into the game, the Trojans had all the momentum being undefeated. USC entered the game with three late come from behind victories. The Ducks only played in the Championship game due to Washington dropping out because of coronavirus issues. Oregon took advantage of the opportunity and won the Pac-12.

USC decided not to accept the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on December 29th because of Covid-19 concerns, the team announced on Saturday. Athletic Director Mike Bohn said in a statement, “We are a student-athlete-centered athletics program; thus we fully support to opt out a bowl game this year.” He continued, “The physical and mental health and the safety of our student-athletes are paramount, and this season has been unimaginably taxing on our players in particular. This will allow them to be with their families who they haven’t seen for a long time and begin preparing for their spring semester academics.” 

Kedon Slovis throws for 320 Yards (Robert Torrence/L.A. Sentinel)

Bohn concluded his statement by saying they are sincerely grateful for how our student-athletes, coaches, and staff handled this unprecedented season and worked through so much adversity. This is the second time USC will not play a bowl game in three years. Helton said in a statement, “We all share the desire to stay healthy and be with loved ones during the holidays, and I fully support this collective decision. I thank our players for their remarkable efforts. We are all disappointed by how our season ended, but I am extremely proud of our players, and it is an honor to be their coach.”

 

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