Keys to the game: Oregon at USC–Ducks have to find their rhythm and rhyme

Getting ready to head to Eugene, so this will be brief. I’ll be mobile tweeting most of the day, with limited internet access unless I can sneak into the pressbox (not likely). Here are the keys to a Duck victory and a #2 ranking with two more weeks to play:

Make Matt Barkley cry

The Ducks have to get pressure on the SC quarterback and disrupt his rhythm, a challenge, because the Trojan offensive line has allowed just 6 sacks this season, lowest in the conference. Oregon leads PAC-12 defenses with 32 sacks, so it’s a clash of the Titans. The Ducks will have to be the titans they remember.

Let LaMichael James fly

James has 422 yards and 4 tds over his career against the Trojans, and the Oregon offensive line has to make the adjustments necessary to give him room to run. This year USC is allowing just 3.5 yards per rush, while holding five of their opponents to less than a hundred yards rushing.

Make Monte Kiffin sigh

The SC defensive coordinator is a master of scheme and has tremendous faith in his ability to scheme. He’ll have a package ready for the Oregon spread, and some crossups ready when they adjust. Oregon has to win the chess game, but more importantly, win the line of scrimmage and the one-on-one battles that make scheme a footnote.

Give The Black Momba a proper piece of the pie

The most dynamic new weapon in college football. De’Anthony Thomas is poised to further his legend if he gets sufficient opportunities today. NBA stars are in the house. Snoop Dogg may drop in. The Trojan roster and fan base is full of former friends and rivals, people who knew him when the legend began in Compton Pop Warner football. He needs touches and opportunities, and his brilliance will do the rest. He may erupt today for three touchdowns; we’ll just have to see.

Punch the upset monster in the eye

Weird mojo is afoot in college football with Iowa State stunning Oklahoma State and Boise State going wide right again. The Ducks have to avoid a letdown, an overlook, Trojan resurgence or Trojan momentum and motivation. They have the longest home winning streak in college football at 21 games. Winning streaks end when teams stop doing the things that built it: preparation, focus and execution.

No more rhymes now, I mean it!

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