Ronald Jones tied a school single-game record with four rushing touchdowns and Southern California demolished Oregon 45-20 on Saturday.
Sam Darnold had 309 yards passing and two touchdowns with one interception to help propel USC (6-3, 5-2 Pac-12) to its first five-game winning streak since 2013.
After rushing for a career-high 223 yards in the Trojans’ win over California, Jones again feasted on one of the worst rushing defenses in college football. The sophomore exploded for a 66-yard touchdown run on the third play of the second half before picking up a fourth score early in the fourth quarter to match a mark last accomplished by LenDale White in 2005. Jones finished with 171 yards rushing on 20 carries.
Freshman quarterback Justin Herbert, who tied school single-game records for touchdown passes and passing yards in his two previous starts, threw for 162 yards and one touchdown as Oregon (3-6, 1-5) was assured its first losing record in conference play since 2006. Pharaoh Brown caught a touchdown, while Charles Nelson had a TD run.
USC jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter, scoring on each of its first three possessions. After settling for a 35-yard field goal by Matt Boermeester on the opening drive, Jones ran for touchdowns of 23 and 3 yards.
Oregon: The Ducks’ streak of 11 straight bowl games is all but over. Oregon now needs to win its final three games to reach the six-win mark, but winning one game against resurgent Stanford, Pac-12 South challenger Utah or improving Oregon State would be a big ask of this flawed team.
USC: The Trojans are talented but temperamental. No one can doubt USC’s athleticism across the board, but there are too many stretches where the offensive line misses blocks or the receivers drop passes. It will require a near-perfect performance to win in Seattle against a legitimate College Football Playoff contender next week.
Oregon: Hosts Stanford in a diminished edition of what had annually been the Pac-12 game of the year since the conference expanded in 2011.
USC: Travels to face Washington in what might be the Pac-12 game of the year.