No. 7 Oregon got its eighth straight win of the season with an easy 56-24 win over USC on Saturday night.
The Trojans went up 10-0 early in the first quarter thanks to a bad interception by Oregon QB Justin Herbert. That was about as good as it got for USC as Oregon scored 21 straight points after that to take an 11-point lead thanks to a pick-six by Brady Breeze for the Ducks’ third touchdown.
USC got a touchdown late in the second quarter that looked like it would cut the halftime lead to four when Kedon Slovis hit Michael Pittman for a score with 28 seconds left. But Mykael Wright returned USC’s ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and the Trojans never got any closer.
Justin Herbert injury scare
Oregon fans held their breath for a while in the third quarter when Herbert went down awkwardly after taking a hit to his left knee area following a pass. Herbert was down on the ground in pain after the hit.
After he was tended to by the team’s medical staff he walked off the field without any assistance and returned to the game two plays later.
Herbert finished the game 21-of-26 passing for 225 yards and three touchdowns to go with interception. Oregon finished with fewer than 400 yards, a relatively small offensive output for a game with over 50 points. But when you get a pick-six and a kickoff return for a touchdown you don’t have to have a huge offensive day to score a lot.
An Oregon-Utah showdown?
Both Oregon and Utah look certain to be in the top 10 of the first College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday. The No. 8 Utes took down Washington 33-28 earlier in the day on Saturday after also falling behind double digits in the first half. Utah trailed Washington 14-3 before coming back in the second half with the help of a pick-six by Jaylon Johnson.
Oregon’s win over USC also means that Utah controls the Pac-12 South. If both the Ducks and Utes win out they’ll meet in the Pac-12 championship game with, at worst, a Rose Bowl spot on the line. At best, there could be a playoff spot at stake depending on what happens in the SEC and the Big Ten.
Yes, we’re seriously talking about the possibility of the playoff for a Pac-12 team. That’s how much things shifted with Oklahoma’s loss to Kansas State in Week 9 and the excellence of Oregon and Utah. With Texas sitting at three losses and Baylor 8-0 with a weak schedule, Oklahoma may not have enough opportunity on its schedule to leapfrog a one-loss Pac-12 champion in the playoff rankings.
It’s quite the turn for a conference that many thought was out of the playoff conversation just a few weeks into the season. But Oregon and Utah both sure look like they’re for real.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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