Earlier in 2022, longtime Pac-12 rivals USC and UCLA announced their intentions to leave the Pac-12 and join the Big Ten. Barring a possible Pac-12 expansion, the westernmost Power 5 conference is shrinking, and the Southern California schools that have provided such entertainment to the Conference of Champions for more than 100 years will be taking memories with them. countless strong, heartbreaking and electric. . It seems only fitting to recall some of Oregon’s greatest moments and plays against the two teams.
2020 Pac-12 Championship Game (Los Angeles, CA)
Oregon Ducks: 31st
No. 13 USC Trojans: 24
Oregon’s most recent game against the Trojans comes in the best memory on our list. In fact, it was Washington that had won the right to represent the North in the championship. A COVID-19 outbreak allowed Oregon to enter a game it shouldn’t have been in and the nation didn’t think it could win.
But even as heavy underdogs, without a crowd and in enemy territory, the Ducks rose. Specifically the defense. Led by Kayvon Thibodeaux (who won the game MVP), Oregon forced three Trojan turnovers en route to the first conference championship in program history. Oregon quarterbacks Tyler Shough and Anthony Brown each recorded two touchdowns, while Mario Cristobal’s defense limited USC to a season-low 24 points.
Ending the perfect season of a top-ranked conference foe in what could be the final matchup between the two schools gives ample reason for this game to be Oregon’s fondest memory against USC.
2011 Pac-12 Championship Game (Eugene, OR)
8 Oregon Ducks: 49
UCLA Bruins: 31st
Oregon’s conference championship win over UCLA also seems perfectly fitting to move up the rankings. In the inaugural Pac-12 (formerly Pac-10) season, Oregon boasted a 7-1 conference record and earned the opportunity to host the Pac-12 Championship Game in beautiful Autzen Stadium.
In front of the home crowd, the Ducks cruised past the Bruins to win their first Pac-12 title and third straight conference championship. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas threw a trio of touchdown passes and LaMicheal James, who went on to win the game’s MVP, rushed for over 200 yards and three scores of his own.
UCLA leaves the Conference of Champions having never won a Pac-12 title of its own. Oregon has four, more than USC and UCLA combined.
1915 First Game vs. USC (Los Angeles, CA)
Oregon Webfoots: 34
USC Trojans: 0
The first ever game and win over USC came on the same day in 1915. The Trojans played host to the Oregon Webfoots at the time and quickly got used to the football talent from the Pacific Northwest.
In a season where Oregon lost just two games and surrendered 53 total points, one of Webfoot’s five shutouts came over newly-recognized USC. It was the beginning of a solid history between the teams that would go on to become Pac-12 powers. The game, the contest and the first defeat of a rivalry that has seen 61 games since then seems fitting to mention as Oregon bids farewell to USC.
2018: Chip Kelly’s Return to Autzen (Eugene, OR)
Oregon Ducks: 42
UCLA Bruins: 21
This game was one of the most sentimental games in recent Ducks history. Chip Kelly coached with Oregon from 2007 through the 2012 season. As the head coach in Eugene, he led the Ducks to four BCS appearances. After a brief stint in the NFL, Kelly returned to the Pac-12 to coach the Bruins.
In his first game at the Autzen Stadium, he was greeted with a crushing homecoming. In a season Oregon football is happy to forget, the highlight of the 8-4 season may have been the offensive onslaught over UCLA. Dillon Mitchell was hauled in for 156 yards and two touchdowns by Justin Herbert (remember that?) as Oregon handed UCLA a bitter road loss and sent Kelly’s new team to 2-7. The win also made Oregon Bowl eligible for the 2018 season, which ended with a Redbox Bowl victory over Michigan State.
2010: Oregon upsets UCLA to remain undefeated (Eugene, OR)
2 Oregon Ducks: 60
UCLA Bruins: 13
Rounding out the list is a game that stands as Oregon’s largest margin of victory over the Bruins. Led by Darron Thomas, who threw for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns, the Ducks posted their 10th-highest scoring ever against a Pac-12 team and the highest over UCLA. In front of a packed Autzen Stadium, the No. 1 ranked Ducks. 2 trailed the Bruins 3-3. Scoring double-digit points in every quarter, Oregon remained undefeated on the season. The 60 points scored that October night were the most the Ducks scored in a Pac-12 conference game during a dream season that gave Oregon its first national championship appearance.
As USC and UCLA take their money, talent, history and programs to the Big Ten, memories of Pac-12 matchups will linger throughout the conference, and especially in Eugene.