Heisman trophy candidate Kenjon Barner knew it was his last time to play back in his hometown in front of dozens of friends and family members. He made sure he left them with a special performance to remember. Barner ran for a school-record 321 yards and five touchdowns as Oregon beat No. 18 Southern California 62-51.
It was just another example of the most potent offense in College Football showing their dominance.
Moving to (9-0, 6-0 Pac-12), the 730 yards and 62 points were the most allowed by USC, which began playing football in 1888.
Per Sports Illustrated, ”Well, I’m from L.A., so it means a lot,” Barner said with a shrug. “We know we have an exceptional offense, but this was a great test for us to have to play four quarters and fight to the end. We’re going to benefit from this in the long run. As a competitor, you want to be in a great game if you can.”
Barner celebrated every touchdown with vigor, although the Riverside, Calif., native playfully refused to talk about what he might have shouted to the Trojans’ dismayed fans.
Barner, a product of Riverside, Calif., set a rushing record for a USC opponent by the third quarter, topping Curtis Enis’ 241 yards for Penn State in 1996, and smashed LaMichael James’ Oregon record shortly afterward.
He didn’t get his usual late-game break, either: With Matt Barkley and his receivers shredding Oregon’s defense, the Ducks’ offense stood up to its first late-game pressure of the season.
“We’re built for that, though,” said Mariota, who went 20 of 23 for 304 yards without an interception. “We go through a lot of conditioning, and we’re always ready to play four quarters. This was a good test for us.”
Oregon has won every game this season by at least 17 points. Most games have been over by halftime.