Tal Volk | Daily TrojanHold down the fort · Sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith leads the team in tackles with 55 this season. He also has six tackles for a loss. Smith missed last year’s game against the Ducks due to a knee injury.After an undoubtedly successful October, the Trojan football team welcomes Oregon to the Coliseum for the first time since 2012, looking for their first victory against the Ducks at home since 2008. Head coach Clay Helton reiterated that the key to success against Oregon’s uptempo offense will be winning the third-down battle, getting the defense off the field and sustaining drives on offense. Though the offense has been racking up points for the Trojans lately, the defense expects to have their hands full as well, as they face the top rushing team in the conference. “Defensively, I think it is imperative to get pressure on this quarterback on third down,” Helton said. “If you don’t hit this kid, you’re going to have a long day.”The Ducks’ freshman quarterback Justin Herbert became the first true freshman to start for Oregon since 1983 and he immediately stepped into the role. Herbert has thrown for 996 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast also has high praise for Herbert and has prepped his defense accordingly.“I think he’s very talented,” Pendergast said. “I think they give him a lot, new wrinkles every week, and I’m sure they have some new stuff for us.”Herbert has been helped by his running backs. Sophomore Tony Brooks-James and junior Royce Freeman have each rushed for over 550 yards and eight touchdowns this year. “When you see Oregon on tape, you just feel the speed,” Helton said. “Without question over the last seven years I’ve been here, they’ve always been the fastest team we play … It’s always been a trademark [for them].”The Ducks have found success with the two-back system so far this year.“When you look at Royce Freeman and Tony Brooks-James, you’re talking about two different types of backs but two dynamic kids that are putting up 248 yards a game,” Helton said. “With Royce, 5.6 yards a carry, and then they put Tony in and Tony is ultra-dangerous. The kid’s averaging 8.6 a carry, and every time he touches the ball you hold your breath.”An advantage that the Trojan defense has this year that they didn’t have in last year’s lackluster 48-28 loss in Eugene is sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith. Smith missed last year’s contest because of a knee injury but has been playing at full speed this year.“It was rough, but I’m ready to play them,” Smith said. “It should be a fun one.”Smith leads the team with 55 total tackles including 32 solo tackles. He also has six tackles for loss and one sack. Smith has forced one fumble as well as recovered one fumble. Helton described him as the rock of the defense.Similarly, the offense has its own unsung heroes — the offensive line. It has allowed one or fewer sacks on average in the last six games despite allowing multiple sacks in the first two weeks. Giving up only nine sacks this season, USC leads the Pac-12 and is 12th in the nation.The performance of the offensive line has allowed both the run and pass game to flourish. Last week’s 398 rushing yards were the most for the Trojans since 2005, but this week will prove a challenge without all of their top backs. Senior running back Justin Davis participated in practice Wednesday but was limited to straight ahead running, and sophomore Aca’Cedric Ware missed practice due to a sprained ankle. The top back will be sophomore Ronald Jones II, who has started the past two weeks. He has run for 529 yards and three touchdowns this year.Redshirt freshman Sam Darnold, who has continued to dazzle with his play, is expecting a lot of similar schemes and coverages from Oregon as he saw against Cal and is feeling confident heading into the game, and rightfully so. Against Cal, Darnold torched the Bears for 231 yards and five touchdowns.“After watching the Utah game on film, I realized how much time I actually had in the pocket … and I think that’s really helped me,” Darnold said.The game is a special one as it is Homecoming weekend for USC. It is also the last time the Trojans and Ducks will meet until 2019. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.