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First-half reflections: USC 27, Oregon 10

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

LOS ANGELES -- It didn't take long to erase the notion that an angry USC was going to take out its frustrations by physically manhandling poor, wide-eyed Oregon.

The Trojans weren't going to regain their mojo, lost during a disastrous performance at Oregon State, just by whipping themselves into a frenzy. They were going to have to play soundly and make plays. They did that in the first half. At times. And at times they didn't.

At times, in fact, they looked just like the sloppy, disjointed crew that lost its No. 1 ranking and had much of the college football nation writing them out of the national title picture.

But when things clicked into place -- my, oh, my.

USC started to look like the team that buried Ohio State three weeks ago in the second quarter, when it exploded for 24 unanswered points to jump ahead 27-10. Mark Sanchez's halftime numbers: 13 of 18 for 233 yards and three touchdowns.

The technical term for that is: really good.

Let's not forget a very important fact about the Trojans shot at redemption: It's coming against a very good team that, when it can keep a quarterback healthy, is as potent on offense as anybody in the nation.

It was hardly a picture-perfect for USC.

The Trojans gave up 179 yards to the Ducks, who were 5 of 11 on third downs. They were flagged seven times for 61 yards, three times extending Ducks drives that appeared over.

But things seemed to take a USC turn after, on fourth and 2 from the Ducks 34, Sanchez found a wide-open Damian Williams for a touchdown to tie the game at 10-10.

The Trojans get the ball to start the second half, and another touchdown could make things very difficult on Oregon. But don't be too quick to count out the Ducks. Their offense works at a fast pace, and quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (12 of 19 for 103 yards) has looked solid.

There may be some plot twists remaining.