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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Final: USC 48, Arizona 41

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LOS ANGELESUSC punter Kyle Negrette was a spectator on Saturday afternoon against Arizona.

Simply put, The Trojans didn’t need him.

Scoring on all but one of their drives, the Trojans’ offensive battering ram dismantled Arizona and sent the Wildcats back to Tucson with their fourth loss in as many games after the 48-41 finish.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley had a banner day, throwing for a school-record 468 yards and three touchdowns.

“I thought (Barkley) was terrific,” Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. “He’s a much more polished player right now than I think he’s ever been. I’ve seen some great players over the last four weeks and certainly Matt is playing at a high level.”

Barkley’s go-to receiver Robert Woods also had an immaculate showing, catching 14 balls for a career-best 255 yards and two touchdowns.

Coming into the game, the Wildcats were set on stopping the run, something that they couldn’t contain last week against Oregon.

While the Trojans were held to 116 rushing yards, a low number considering the past few games, the Wildcats inability to defend the pass allowed the game to get out of hand quickly.

“Our issue right now is defense,” Stoops said. “Until you play good defense, it’s hard to win, it’s hard to win anywhere. Right now we’re struggling in a lot of areas on defense and that’s where we need to get better.”

After an unsuccessful opening drive turned into a punt for the Wildcats, Barkley found Woods on an 82-yard touchdown pass as part of a two play drive that took only 48 seconds off the clock.

It was a downhill slide for the Wildcats after that as Nick Foles threw back-to-back interceptions. Foles had gone 210 passing attempts without giving up an interception, before Trojan Safety TJ McDonald grabbed the first one.

After that, Arizona quickly trailed 17-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats began to start to get things moving on a 12-play 75-yard touchdown drive at the beginning of the second.

USC was quick to respond, however, and deflated the Wildcats’ momentum with a scoring drive of its own. The Trojans maintained their dominance throughout the rest of the half and had a significant 27-12 advantage going into the locker room.

After the break, it was much of the same for the Arizona defense. Another Barkley-to-Woods touchdown connection brought the score to 34-12 with 12:57 left in the third quarter.

Arizona was able to snap out of its funk, however, as the Wildcats put up 14 unanswered points, cutting the Trojans lead to seven.

“I thought after the slow start we were doing well on offense and moving the ball,” Foles said. “Our job is to get the ball in the end zone. In the second half we did a pretty good job of it.”

But seven would be as close as Arizona would get as the Trojans and Wildcats kept trading scores to finish out the game.

Arizona true freshman running back Ka’Deem Carey had a breakout game, scoring three touchdowns, including the first of his collegiate career. Despite the two interceptions, Foles threw for 425 yards on 41 completions and four touchdowns.

But Arizona’s defense couldn’t keep the Trojans out of the end zone and the Wildcats lost their fourth consecutive game. Now sitting at 1-4, the Wildcats are head out on the road again next weekend to take on the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, Ore.

“We have a lot to improve on,” Foles said. “It’s a team game and you have to pick the defense up just like they pick us up.”

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