Grades: USC-Oregon


It doesn't get much better than this. Matt Barkley had an absolutely splendid day -- his fourth-quarter interception notwithstanding, because it was Robert Woods' mistake that led to it. True freshman Marqise Lee proved to be a dominant presence on a big stage.


They weren't asked to do much until later in the game, but Curtis McNeal and Marc Tyler were once again an effective duo for the Trojans. But while McNeal didn't do anything to hurt USC's cause, Tyler's fumble late was a crucial mistake that almost cost the Trojans.


USC's defensive line built on last week's terrific performance against Washington and again produced pressure on Thomas and the Oregon offense. And while the Trojans' O-line did have a few false starts, the big guys kept Barkley off the ground and gave him time to operate.


Considering Oregon's track record -- pun intended -- this was a solid performance by the Trojans' defenders, demonstrating clear improvement from the beginning of this season. Darron Thomas did fine at quarterback, but LaMichael James wasn't allowed to run wildly, as he often is.


For the umpteenth time this year, coordinator John Baxter's unit produced a big play with the third-quarter punt block that netted USC some points, but it also allowed a couple big kick returns by De'Anthony Thomas, including the 96-yard touchdown later in the third.


Lane and Monte Kiffin out-coached Chip Kelly and his crew, plain and simple. The Trojans' offensive gameplan was solid, and USC also knew what to do to stop Oregon's top offensive options. Kiffin is going to gain a lot of national respect for this.