USC Football: 3 Takeaways from Pac-12 Championship loss to Oregon

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Markese Stepp, USC football. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

After another slow start, USC football could not come from behind vs Oregon in the Pac 12 title game and finish the season with a disappointing performance.

USC football has been able to pull off a fourth quarter comeback in three out of the five games that the Trojans played in the regular season, but in the Pac-12 Championship vs Oregon, the Trojans were out of luck and were denied their second Pac-12 title under Clay Helton.

Star quarterback Kedon Slovis started out as bad as possible, throwing an interception on two of the first three drives and Oregon racing out to a 14-0 lead that USC was not able to cut into.

The biggest difference in tonight’s game was the Oregon defensive line. They were putting constant pressure in the face of Kedon Slovis and making him uncomfortable all night long. Kayvon Thibodeaux made his presence known early on and he is going to be one of the best players in the entire country entering the 2021 season.

USC football was clearly missing running back Vavae Malepeai tonight, as they did not have a physical presence in the backfield to try and take any of the pressure off of Slovis. Not having a running game when your quarterback is having an off night and the o-line can’t protect is not a good thing.

This game feels like another string of disappointing performances in big games under head coach Clay Helton. USC football just makes too many dumb mistakes in games like these and continuously looks woefully underprepared. USC was down 14-0 so early and could not dig out of it and looked like they lacked energy heading into this one. It is a matter of constant debate, but this is yet another result that makes one wonder if Clay Helton should be the guy at USC.

Here are the three takeaways from USC’s Pac 12 Championship loss vs Oregon

3. Offensive line play was subpar again

The weakest link on USC’s offense and maybe the entire team is their offensive line and it had not been exposed like this since their first game of the season vs Arizona State.

Oregon’s defensive line was constantly putting pressure on Slovis and it affected the quarterbacks rhythm all night. Slovis is a really good rhythm passer, but he had no chance for most of the time tonight and he could not take advantage of an Oregon defense that had been struggling coming into tonight’s game.

If USC is going to continue to compete for Pac-12 championships and take that next step to competing for the playoff, the offensive line performances must improve drastically.

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