In the crosshairs: Arizona Wildcats

Overall record: 7-2
Conference record: 4-2
National rank: 18, BCS, AP
Last Week: Lost to Stanford 42-17

Arizona holds a reputation for providing desert traps.  Regardless of record or ranking, Mike Stoops teams often presented a coffin where championship dreams were laid to rest. But in the cyclical Pac 10, new changes have arrived, and it’s USC entering as the unranked program on Saturday, and Arizona potentially trapped in its own desert.

No. 18 Arizona is down but not necessarily out of the Pac 10 race.  It will need some assistance in capturing the conference title, and can help itself against league leading Oregon in two weeks.  But that game loses its luster, if the Wildcats cannot dispose of the Trojans this week.

“They’re very tough to deal with, especially when you have to go into a hostile environment,” Kiffin said of the Wildcats. “They just happened to not play well last week and ran into a team as hot as anyone in the country. This is a really good team with some dynamic offensive players.”—Associated Press

Arizona State by the numbers

Category Nat.Rank Conf. rank Average
Total offense 19 4 450.56
Rush offense 57 6 155.78
Pass offense 15 1 294.78
Pass efficiency 29 4 148.65
Scoring offense 42 5 30.89
Total defense 20 2 311.67
Rush defense 10 1 102.67
Pass defense 49 4 209.00
Pass efficiency defense 60 4 125.56
Scoring defense 10 1 17.44

The Skinny: The USC secondary has steadily shown improvement as the weeks roll along. In Tucson it faces the conference’s best passing attack and fifteenth best in the nation. Quarterback Nick Foles will make his second consecutive start, after missing two games earlier with a dislocated knee cap. Matt Scott led Arizona to victory in the two games missed by Foles, and his dual threat abilities posed more danger for defensive coordinators.

Coming off an embarrassing loss to Stanford, there will be no QB controversy and no need for USC to look over its shoulder if Foles is struggling to shake off rust.  Matt Scott is out for Saturday’s game with a wrist injury, so he will not be an option.

The Trojans have revealed an offense more than capable of keeping pace, averaging 36 points and 470 yards per game.  But a team admittedly underachieving in the run game will be challenged more by the league’s top run defense. Matt Barkley, who has been very efficient in the first nine games, will also need to prove the worth of his statistics against the Pac 10’s best unit defending the pass.

This is drawn up as a statistical mismatch, but is very much an upset in the making. USC has nothing to lose, and the program’s history and prestige alone will keep Arizona from peeking ahead to Oregon. But packing an offense capable of trading scores, the Trojans can very well force the Wildcats into a game of “whoever has it last”.

All Time Series: USC leads 25-7
Streak: Arizona won 1
Last meeting: 2009- Arizona 21, USC 17
Line: Arizona -5

Fun Fact

  • After surrendering 49 and 42 points in his first two seasons in Tucson, Mike Stoops defenses limited USC to 20 points or less in the four following games.
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~ by Anthony on November 12, 2010.

2 Responses to “In the crosshairs: Arizona Wildcats”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by USC Trojans Buzz and Trojan Empire, Ivan J. Geter (J.D.). Ivan J. Geter (J.D.) said: RT @uscbuzztap: The Trojan Empire >> In the crosshairs: Arizona Wildcats http://buzztap.com/-Z4289s […]

  2. […] In the crosshairs: Arizona Wildcats « The Trojan Empire […]

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