Pac-12 Championship: Oregon Football Defense Will Be Tested vs USC

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans passes the ball during the first half of a game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on December 12, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 12: Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans passes the ball during the first half of a game against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl on December 12, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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The Pac-12 Championship will see an Oregon Football team looking to erase some 2020 losses and be challenged by a talented and undefeated USC Trojans squad.

Oregon Football opened the season at 3-0 showing off some offensive firepower vs Stanford to open the year at home despite not having fans in the stands. Tyler Shough stepped in for Justin Herbert and led the Pac-12 Conference in passing. The offense regressed overall against Oregon State and Cal.

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Shough threw two interceptions against Oregon State and the offense was not efficient vs Cal. Both games ended up being losses. He enters the Pac-12 Championship game on Friday night throwing for over 1300 yards and 11 touchdowns. Oregon has also delt with several injuries though the first five games of the season with several Wide Receivers recovering from injury, notably Mycah Pittman who should be available against USC. Tight End Spencer Webb should also be back on the field.

Over the last two games, the Oregon Defense had some major struggles at times. The run defense improved between Oregon State and Cal. Against the Beavers, Jermar Jefferson ran for over 200 yards including an over 80 yard run for a touchdown that helped give Oregon State the win over Oregon. Against Cal, they gave up under 200 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground, one to Quarterback Chase Garbers.

Oregon Football will have to have a much better effort against the USC Trojans, especially in their Pass Defense. The Ducks may be at an advantage against the run. It was announced earlier this week that USC Trojans Starting Running Back Vavae Malepeai will be out against Oregon. He was injured in the game against UCLA last weekend and will miss the Pac-12 Championship.

For Oregon, Verone McKinley and Kayvon Thibodeux will be the players to watch. This game is not too big for the Ducks, who are accustomed to playing in spotlight games and they have been here several times before in recent seasons, including last season.

The pandemic has given Oregon and opportunity. While it is not for a spot in the College Football Playoff for either team, it is a chance to take a step for 2021 with a win. It is an opportunity to erase two losses during the season and play in the Fiesta Bowl, likely against a team just outside the College Football Playoff. It will be a stepping stone for next season.

Oregon Football meets the USC Trojans for the Pac-12 Championship on Friday. Kickoff is set for 5 pm Pacific Time on FOX.