Five Stats: The numbers that defined Arizona's loss to USC
Fresh off back-to-back wins to set up a matchup with USC, Arizona Football was beaten 24-20 in a game that Arizona never led. The Wildcats attempted to make it a game late but came up short despite 13 points in the fourth quarter. These five statistics defined the Wildcats loss.
Three Arizona Fumble Recoveries
The Arizona defense had forced only one turnover coming into this game, tied for last in the nation. Linebacker Tony Fields II said this week that Arizona “just had to swarm to the ball a little bit more.”
The defense listened, with Arizona forcing three turnovers. While the turnovers only resulted in seven points, a Colin Schooler recovery just before halftime took USC out of the red zone, saving Arizona what would have probably been, at worst, a short field goal attempt by USC.
64 J.J. Taylor and Gary Brightwell Combined Rushing Yards
Fresh off of a performance last week that saw Taylor and Brightwell combine for 397 yards rushing on 40 carries, expectations were high for the pair coming into the game. The two combined for just 64 yards on 22 carries, with the longest rush for either going for just 10 yards. Taylor last week had a long run of 62 yards, while Brightwell had a carry that went for 43 yards.
18 USC Penalties
USC did all they could to help Arizona win this game, with 18 penalties counting for 169 yards against the Trojans. Arizona as a whole had 330 yards of total offense, with the penalties giving the Wildcats second chances on multiple occasions. A facemask penalty in the second quarter gave Arizona an opportunity to kick a field goal with no time on the clock, but the kick was blocked. Four USC penalties on the final Arizona drive allowed the Wildcats to score, bringing the game within four points before the Trojans recovered the onside kick to seal the game.
Four Arizona Third Down Conversions
The Wildcats offense sputtered much of the game, going 4-16 on third downs. The quick possessions forced the defense back onto the field without much rest on numerous occasions throughout the first half. If you take away the final drive that went eight plays for 66 yards, Arizona did not have a drive longer than 19 yards or six plays in the first half.
13 Carries, 38 Yards for Khalil Tate
While the 2.9 yards per carry and long run of nine yards are nothing for the quarterback to write home about, Tate looked to be a little more comfortable running the ball than in previous weeks. The carries and yards are a season high for Tate, as he is still fighting the effects of an ankle injury. While it didn’t look like Tate was still 100 percent committed on running the ball at times, the fact he made attempts he hasn’t in previous weeks is encouraging.
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