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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats try to bounce back

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon State upset the home team 27-29.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 9 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Oregon State Beavers at Arizona Stadium Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010, in Tucson, Ariz. Oregon State upset the home team 27-29.

Bouncing back is something the No. 18 Arizona Wildcats weren’t used to this season. But that was before a 42-17 defeat at the hands of Stanford crushed Arizona’s realistic Rose Bowl chances.

“”It will be nice to be at home. Being two games behind is going to be tough,”” said head coach Mike Stoops after Arizona’s loss at Stanford. “”We’re just worried about USC and try to play better.””

The Wildcats will have to find some other motivation than just the Rose Bowl as they welcome the Southern California Trojans this weekend. Recently, the matchups between USC and Arizona (7-2, 4-2 Pacific 10 Conference) have gone down to the wire, including last year’s 21-17 victory over the Trojans in the Coliseum — Stoops’ first-ever victory over the Trojans — and 2008’s nail bitter that saw Arizona fall just short at home.

While not the dominant team in the Pac-10 for the first time in nearly a decade, USC’s offense hasn’t fallen off the radar. The Trojans boast the third best offense in the Pac-10, with 40 touchdowns on the season — six more than Arizona — and average 470 yards per game.

While the Wildcats’ defense came back down to earth last weekend, linebacker Paul Vassallo doesn’t think Arizona will roll over this week at home.

“”The season’s not over,”” Vassallo said. “”We still have three games. We’re still a very good team, and we need to play that way.””

There will be no off week for the Wildcats’ defense that was torched for over 500 yards against Stanford. USC quarterback Matt Barkley has 24 touchdowns on the season, and the sophomore is third in passing average and efficiency in the conference. He is fourth in total offense in the conference with an average 260.2 yards per game.

While USC has found success through the air, its defense has had a tough time stopping opponents’ vertical attacks. The Trojans rank last in the Pac-10 in pass defense, giving up 22 passing touchdowns and an average 276.4 yards per game.  

The offense and Nick Foles will have to find their footing at home after struggling on the road.

Co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell said that cutting down on offensive mistakes was something that would be important to rebounding at home this week.

“”We have to cut down on mistakes, penalties, turnovers in the red zone,”” Littrell said.

The Trojans are still trying to assert themselves among the best in the Pac-10, and the Wildcats need to rediscover their winning ways at home in its last Saturday game of the season.

“”We’re going (to play) like everything is still on the line,”” said cornerback Robert Golden. “”You never know what might happen down the line so we’re going to … try to get after it.””

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