EUGENE, Oregon (Ticker) -- Carson Palmer became the latest quarterback to take advantage of Oregon's inexperienced secondary.
Palmer passed for a school-record 448 yards and tied a school mark with five touchdowns as No. 16 Southern California defeated the 12th-ranked Ducks, 44-33, in a Pac-10 Conference contest.
"I think this is one of our better days this year," Palmer said. "Things were just clicking, everybody was playing hard, everybody was focused."
Palmer has been maligned in the past by USC fans, but the senior is playing his best football as his college career winds down. In last week's 41-21 victory over Washington, he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns.
The Trojans (6-2, 4-1 Pac-10) posted their third straight win and remained in the thick of the conference race.
"This is huge," Palmer said of winning at Oregon. "I loved every minute of it. There's nothing better than playing at this place (Autzen Stadium) and beating these guys. Their fans are out of control and (we) shut them up."
Oregon (6-2, 2-2) appeared to rebound after last week's demoralizing loss to Arizona State when it squandered a 35-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Ducks led, 19-14, at the intermission, but were worn down in the second half as USC scored 20 unanswered points in the third quarter. The loss likely knocked Oregon out of contention for the Pac-10 title.
"I think they did a nice job of mixing it up," Oregon coach Mike Bellotti said. "It wasn't anything unexpected. They just executed well."
The Ducks have allowed nearly 1,000 yards through the air in their last two games. Last week, Arizona State's Andrew Walter threw for a conference-record 536 yards and five TDs.
"This is definitely the lowest point in my career, and for many other guys on this team," Oregon defensive tackle Igor Olshansky said. "We have to go back to the fundamentals and get into the second half."
Oregon running back Onterrio Smith had his streak of seven consecutive 100-yard games snapped. He was held to 79 yards on 19 carries but did go over 1,000 yards for the season.
Smith's seven straight 100-yard games tied the school mark set by Bobby Moore, now known as Ahmad Rashad.
The Trojans pounded Oregon's beleaguered defense for 608 total yards with Palmer completing 31-of-42 passes. Justin Fargas also rushed for 139 yards on 27 carries.
"I don't know how you could play better," USC coach Pete Carroll said of Palmer's performance. "I don't know how anyone could do more than what he's doing. He hit play after play, 14-of-18 in the first half, and just great numbers after that."
Palmer tied Rodney Peete's school record for TDs in a game. He threw TD strikes of eight yards to Malaefou MacKenzie and 54 yards to Keenan Howry to give USC a 14-13 lead after the first period.
The Trojans were blanked in the second period but made up for it in the third, when Palmer threw TDs passes of 31 yards to Kareem Kelly and 16 yards to Williams. His final TD was an eight-yarder to MacKenzie 10 seconds into the final period.
Palmer, who recorded his eight career 300-yard, has passed for 2,429 yards this season.
"He's got to be one of the best quarterbacks in America," Carroll added. "I don't know who could possibly be better than Carson is. It's been a long haul for him and he has taken a great leadership position and this football team and is totally committed."
Palmer's favorite target was Howry, who caught seven passes for 147 yards. Samie Parker had six receptions for 77 yards.
Jason Fife completed 31-of-42 passes for Oregon, which scored a pair of meaningless TDs in the final three minutes.