USC-Oregon grades


A fairly good game for Matt Barkley, but nowhere near the dynamic performances he had put up the last few weeks. His big miss was an underthrow of an open Ronald Johnson that resulted in a pick near the end of the first half.


Marc Tyler was the guy for the Trojans on Saturday, but he just couldn't get anything going. USC attempted to establish the run game early, but an average of fewer than three yards a carry -- on more than 30 carries, no less -- didn't cut it.


Two consecutive impressive performances performances from the defensive line, as Wes Horton really made a difference with the Trojans' run-stopping efforts. But the up-and-down offensive line played down this time, failing to protect Barkley and not creating substantial holes for Tyler and co.


It sounds odd to say this wasn't a downright horrible performance, but it really wasn't. Oregon is Oregon. USC did limit the Ducks at times, although Darron Thomas' frequent success through the air was a bit surprising. LaMichael James was limited until late.


Johnson had two helpful punt returns, including one that directly led to a touchdown, but the Trojans gave up the needed advantage gained there when they allowed a 41-yard return to Oregon's Cliff Harris at the end of the first half.


Lane Kiffin's play-calling was way too conservative in the first half. Give him credit, though: USC went for it a lot more after the break, and it often paid off. And, despite the loss, Kiffin clearly had the Trojans motivated Saturday.