No. 13 USC faces defending champ Oregon in Pac-12 title game

Oregon (3-2) at No. 13 Southern California (5-0, No. 13 CFP), Friday at 8 p.m. EST (FOX)

Line: USC by 3 1/2.

Series record: USC leads 39-21-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The Pac-12 title and a probable berth in the Fiesta Bowl for the Trojans, who have won the league just once previously in Clay Helton’s six seasons. The perpetually embattled coach already presided over USC’s first unbeaten regular season since 2005 and added a strong recruiting class this week. His staff also wasted two days preparing for Washington before the Pac-12 replaced the Huskies with the Ducks, who have the chance to swipe their second straight Pac-12 title despite having more losses than the Huskies, Colorado or USC.

KEY MATCHUP

USC QB Kedon Slovis vs. the Ducks’ defense and the clock. The Trojans are still in position for a perfect season because they rallied three times for late victories, scoring the winning points in the final 80 seconds each time. Slovis hasn’t always matched the consistency of his freshman season, but he has been unflappable in crunch time, completing more than 75% of his passes in the fourth quarter with five TDs and no interceptions. Almost no lead will be safe for Oregon and its inconsistent defense.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Oregon RB Travis Dye. The Ducks’ versatile offensive threat is averaging 10.8 yards per touch, second among FBS running backs. The Norco, California, product is the only player in the Pac-12 with more than 300 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving, putting him tops on the team in all-purpose yards.

USC S Talanoa Hufanga. The breakout star of the Trojans’ solid defense has 50 tackles and four interceptions this season, and he racked up an astonishing 18 tackles last week against UCLA — the most by a USC defender since Troy Polamalu in 2001. From lining up at linebacker to chasing down ball-carriers from behind, the Corvallis, Oregon, native has made extraordinary plays with regularity.

FACTS & FIGURES

Oregon is trying to win the Pac-12 title game for a conference-record fourth time. The North Division has beaten the South in nine of the 10 editions of this game, but USC won the South’s only title in 2017. … Oregon was briefly scheduled to play Colorado in Los Angeles this weekend before getting promoted to the title game. … Oregon has won five of seven against USC, including three of the last four at the Coliseum. … Tyler Shough leads the league with 1,645 yards of total offense, the most by any Ducks QB in his first five career starts. … USC’s Kedon Slovis tops the Pac-12 and is seventh in the FBS in three important categories: completions (29.8), completion percentage (.703) and yards passing (320.2). … Slovis is 12-1 as a starter against the Pac-12, but his lone loss was that trouncing from Oregon last season in which he committed four turnovers in a 19-minute span. … USC’s leading rusher, RB Vavae Malepeai, is unlikely to play with a sprained knee ligament. ___

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