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Saturday, November 3, 2012 - Page updated at 07:00 p.m.

USC looks to slow No. 2 Oregon

By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — USC linebacker Hayes Pullard connects with Oregon tailback De'Anthony Thomas pretty much every day, either by phone or text.

They went to Crenshaw High School together, and they've been anticipating the Ducks' visit to the Coliseum on Saturday virtually since graduation.

"We usually talk about other things, but this week it went to football right away," Pullard said.

They're not alone. No. 2 Oregon's visit to Los Angeles has loomed as the biggest day on the Pac-12 calendar since late last year, when USC demonstrated the Ducks couldn't completely dominate the West Coast.

Oregon (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) has won 11 straight games and the Rose Bowl since that 38-35 loss to USC in Eugene, seamlessly replacing key starters on its spread offense while building a defense that might be the Ducks' best yet.

The 18th-ranked Trojans (6-2, 4-2) have had two narrow road losses. That knocked the preseason's No. 1 team out of the national-title race and left it significant underdogs in its own stadium Saturday.

Just don't try to tell anybody on either sideline that this showdown has lost any significance.

"I don't think anything has changed much," said Robert Woods, USC's All-American receiver. "Oregon is still going to come here and play like it's a championship game, and I know we will."

Notes

• Three Pittsburgh football players, including starting running back Ray Graham, will play Saturday against No. 4 Notre Dame despite being charged with simple assault and conspiracy in connection with an incident last month involving three other students.

Graham, junior wide receiver Devin Street and redshirt freshman defensive back Lafayette Pitts deny they were involved in a confrontation with a student who told police he was hit in the head by one of the players.

• Idaho State coach Mike Kramer has suspended a player who complained Kramer pushed him to the ground during practice on Oct. 3. Kramer suspended wide receiver Derek Graves for violating team rules.

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