Oregon Replaces Washington In Pac-12 Title Game Vs. USC

Oregon Replaces Washington In Pac-12 Title Game Vs. USC | 2020 NCAAF Expert Analysis

Written by on December 15, 2020

The Pac-12 Championship Game was to feature Washington at No. 15 USC on Friday night, but due to COVID-19 issues on the Huskies they pulled out Monday and will be replaced by Oregon. The Trojans opened as short favorites on the NCAAF odds.

How to Bet Oregon at USC NCAA Football Odds & TV Info

  • When: Friday, 8 PM ET
  • Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
  • TV: Fox
  • Stream: Fox Sports Go
  • Radio:com
  • Opening NCAAF Lines: USC -3 (total 62.5)

Last Meeting

Oregon visited USC last year and rolled 56-24. Justin Herbert (now in NFL with Chargers) passed for 225 yards and threw three touchdown passes to Juwan Johnson in the second half. Oregon scored a touchdown after each of four turnovers by USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis during a 19-minute stretch spanning halftime. Freshman Mykael Wright also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown shortly after Brady Breeze returned an interception 32 yards for a score late in the second quarter. Slovis threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns on a USC-record 57 pass attempts, but his three interceptions and a fumble erased the Trojans’ solid start.

Why Bet on Oregon?

Oregon was supposed to play Washington this past Saturday but that was canceled and gave the Huskies the North Division title despite not taking the field. And with the Washington program still below the 53-scholarship minimum due to positive cases and contact tracing protocols, it will be the Ducks that face USC. Oregon was scheduled to play Colorado Saturday in Los Angeles, with the Ducks and Buffaloes sent there just in case either Washington or USC ran into COVID-19 issues.

The Ducks (3-2) last took the field Dec. 5 at Cal and were upset 21-17. The Ducks rallied to a halftime lead when Travis Dye’s 67-yard reception helped set up a rushing touchdown by Cyrus Habibi-Likio. That gave Oregon a 17-14 halftime lead, but Cal scored the only points of the second half with a touchdown in the third quarter.

Tyler Shough was 14-of-26 passing for 231 yards and a touchdown, but also lost one of two fumbles by the Ducks in the second half; Oregon didn’t have a takeaway for the fourth time this season. Dye had 156 all-purpose yards and Johnny Johnson III had a 39-yard touchdown reception in the first half, though Johnson too lost a fumble.

Dye became the Oregon player since 2014 to have over 70 yards both rushing and receiving in a game (Byron Marshall). He’s averaging 10.8 yards per touch with a total of 540 yards from scrimmage this season. Shough’s 1,645 yards of total offense on the year are the most by an Oregon QB through five career starts. He’s just the second Duck QB to throw for over 200 yards in each of his first five career starts. Shough is one of three FBS QBs averaging 250 yards passing and 50 yards rushing per game this season.

Oregon’s roster is made up of 73.6 percent underclassmen, good for the highest percentage in the FBS. Oregon has had 14 different players make their first career starts through five games this season. So far, the Ducks have started nine new players on offense, led by five offensive linemen, and five on defense.

Why Bet on USC?

The Trojans (5-0) won the Pac-12 South with a wild 43-38 comeback win at UCLA on Saturday. Sophomore QB Kedon Slovis completed his third game-winning drive of the season, finding Amon-Ra St. Brown for an 8-yard touchdown pass with 16 seconds left to lift after once trailing by 18 in the third quarter.

UCLA had taken a 38-36 lead with 52 seconds remaining on Nicholas Barr-Mira’s 43-yard field goal. Gary Bryant Jr. returned the kickoff 63 yards to the Bruins 43, and Slovis connected with Tyler Vaughns on a 35-yard reception despite great coverage by UCLA’s Mo Osling III. St. Brown the caught his second TD of the game on the next play. Slovis completed 30-of-47 passes for 344 yards, five touchdowns and two picks.

“It started with Gary Bryant,” Coach Clay Helton said of the stunning final drive. “We finally got a pitch to hit in the kickoff return game and what a big play that was to get it across the 50.” It was only Bryant’s third kickoff return of his career.

Running back Vavae Malepeai’s 110-yard performance, the second highest of career, earned praise from offensive coordinator Graham Harrell. “He’s a consistent guy that knows how to do everything, and does everything at a high level, so to have him be as successful as he was, it was big for us,” Harrell said.

Safety Talanoa Hufanga made 17 tackles, the most in a game by a Trojan since Hufanga had 18 tackles against UCLA last year. He also intercepted a pass for the fourth consecutive game and forced a fumble. The Trojans combined for 11 tackles-for-loss, including 2.5 by Drake Jackson and 2 by Hufanga.

USC is 5-0 for the first time in 14 years. The last time that USC started off 5-0 in league play was 2005 (however, all those wins were later vacated due to NCAA penalty; the Trojans also started 5-0 in Pac-10 play in 2004). USC has a 44-29-7 all-time record while playing in the month of December.

Expert Prediction

  • USC 36, Oregon 31
 
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