Oregon vs. USC Instant Analysis

    Vernon Adams went off as Oregon's offense blew up in a huge win over USC.

    November 22, 2015


    1. Now, this is why Vernon Adams left Eastern Washington to be a Duck

    Adams made the unorthodox move from the FCS to the Pac-12 for days precisely like today. Six touchdown passes to six different receivers against USC to keep Oregon alive for at least a few more hours in the Pac-12 North title chase. It doesn’t get much better for a kid who was overlooked coming out of high school.

    The Ducks have been a completely different team since Adams returned from a hand injury suffered in September. Actually, the Ducks have been very much the same team that the country has become accustomed to over the past decade—potent, explosive and able to score in the blink of an eye.

    Watching Adams extend plays with his feet, go through his progressions and deliver darts to his bevy of receivers validated his decision to test his skills in 2015 at the highest level of college football. And it also makes you ponder what might have been had Adams never gotten hurt, because Oregon is the Pac-12’s best team, even if it doesn’t win its own division.

    2. Someone ought to scoop up Scott Frost while he’s still available

    Oregon’s Scott Frost is one of the top offensive coordinators in the country. And if ADs with an opening aren’t at least kicking Frost’s tires in the next few weeks, they’re missing an opportunity to land one of the rising stars in the coaching ranks.

    True, the players executed in today’s 48-28 rout in Eugene. But Frost called a terrific game … again. He kept the Trojans off balance from start to finish, mixing in the running of Royce Freeman with the precision passing of Vernon Adams. And a week after averaging more than nine yards a play against Stanford, the Ducks needed just 25 pass attempts to account for 407 yards and six touchdowns through the air, often making USC look silly and lost in the back seven.

    Frost turned 40 at the beginning of the year. He’s learned from some of the best coaches in the game, including Chip Kelly. And his offensive ingenuity and general cerebral capacity would be a plus to any program looking for a spark. Frost is available, and it’s a little shocking his name doesn’t come up more often when head coaching jobs are discussed.

    3. No excuses, but USC is really banged up

    While Troy is no longer dealing with the crushing impact of NCAA sanctions, depth concerns in the latter stages of the season are still a worry.

    A thinned roster has plagued the Trojans for the past few seasons, the byproduct of a reduction of scholarships. And while the program has recouped its full allotment of scholarships, injuries are taking their toll on the team in 2015. And it showed at Autzen Stadium, with the defense missing linebackers Cameron Smith and Lamar Dawson, and star WR JuJu Smith-Schuster heroically refusing the field, despite clearing missing a lot of his explosiveness.

    Oregon was the better team on Saturday, which probably wouldn’t have changed even if USC was at full strength. But the Trojans are noticeably gassed, and that’s a factor that’ll be especially critical when UCLA visits the Coliseum Saturday with the South Division hanging in the balance.

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