FINAL: Arizona falls to USC 38-31
Despite a strong second half by Arizona, USC defeated the Wildcats 38-31.
Trailing 28-10 entering the second half, Arizona (3-2, 0-2 Pac-12 ) had to find a way to dig themselves out of an early hole. But they had dug it too deep. A more disciplined defense contained an injured USC (4-2, 1-2) offense for most of the second half but failed to get the one needed turnover and it was just a drive too late.
The Wildcats’ one-dimensional offense matched up as good as it could against a notoriously stingy Trojans offense that keened in on stopping UA running back Ka’Deem Carey.
Throughout Thursday’s game, Arizona’s offense moved the ball uncharacteristically well in its passing game. Denker, who was pressured all night, found open receivers and occasionally hit them for deep passes.
Against most opponents the Wildcats would have scored plenty of points to come away with the road victory. The Trojans’, though, aren’t ‘most’ opponents. They host a top ranked defense that prevented Arizona from making a comeback by not allowing any explosion plays and have long, time consuming drives.
The long drives put points on the board, however, killed the clock. Similar to the Arizona offense, the defense was unchareristic in Thursday game.
With their backs to the wall Arizona picked up the tempo. Denker said he noticed a clearly tired USC defense as the Wildcats put on 21 points in the second half. The quick tempo fell just short as the Wildcats defense couldn’t get a turnover or stop USC when it mattered most.
Down by seven with just four minutes remaining and USC with the ball inside their own red zone, Arizona’s defense failed to stop the Trojans. Even though they knew and everyone in the stadium knew they were going to run the ball.
“Everybody in the stadium knew they were going to run it,” Rodriguez said after the game. “We didn’t get off the blocks and didn’t tackle.”