No. 10 USC Football Goes To Arizona|
Oct. 21, 2012
No. 10 USC hits the road again (the fifth time in its first 8 games), this time to take on new head coach Rich Rodriguez's Wildcats. Troy is going after program victory No. 800. It is the Trojans' last regular season road trip outside of Southern California. USC has captured 80% of its games against Arizona, including 9 of the past 10 meetings, and has won in its last 5 trips to Tucson. But the last 5 USC-UA games have been decided by a touchdown or less.
The Trojans are coming off a dominating and record-setting home win over Colorado, in which Heisman candidate QB Matt Barkley set the Pac-12 record for career TD passes and Biletnikoff nominee WR Robert Woods established the USC career mark for receptions. Head coach Lane Kiffin has seen all 6 of his team's victories in 2012 come by double digits.
The Trojan offense also features Biletnikoff candidate WR Marqise Lee (he leads the Pac-12 in receptions, receiving yards and all-purpose running), Rimington Award nominee C Khaled Holmes and TBs Silas Redd (the Penn State transfer) and Curtis McNeal.
USC's defense is staunch and opportunistic, ranking in the national Top 25 in sacks, tackles for loss, turnover margin, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense. Among Troy's key defenders are All-American S T.J. McDonald (the team's top tackler), fellow Thorpe Award nominee CB Nickell Robey, LBs Dion Bailey (sixth nationally in interceptions) and Hayes Pullard and DE Morgan Breslin (he is among the nation's best in sacks and tackles for loss).
USC will be challenged by an Arizona squad that snapped a 3-game losing streak (all versus ranked foes) with a big win against Washington last week. The Wildcats' offense is potent (tops in the Pac-12 and in the top 5 nationally in total offense and passing offense), averaging nearly 550 total yards and 40 points a game. QB Matt Scott (total offense), RB Ka'Deem Carey (rushing, scoring and all-purpose running) and WR Austin Hill (receiving yards) all show up among the Top 25 national statistical leaders, with dual-threat Scott topping the league in total offense. On the other hand, UA's defense is in the nation's bottom 20 ranking in total defense. MLB Jake Fischer is the Pac-12's leading tackler and he is joined by the likes of S Tra'Mayne Bondurant and CB Jonathan McKnight.
The game will be aired live nationally on either ABC-TV or ESPN2, depending on the region.