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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Live blog: Arizona at USC

    We’re live from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the regular season finale. No Rose Bowl chances for either team, but there’s still plenty to play for. Check dailywildcat.com throughout the game for updates, insight, and analysis and feel free to leave any comments or questions in the ‘Comments’ section at the bottom of the page.

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    10:45 a.m. – Driving down Figueroa Street in downtown L.A. and pass the Nokia Theatre and the Staples Center – still glowing after Kobe’s buzzer-beater last night – and arrive at the Coliseum. What an awesome place to go to school.

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    10:48 a.m. – The tailgating scene is a wild combination: a traditional pregame drinkign atmosphere set against a picturesque college campus. It’s basically like someone putting their beer on a college brochure.

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    10:52 a.m. – 710 ESPN Radio Los Angeles is broadcasting it’s pregame show live from the Coliseum staps. Huge pictures of Mark Sanchez and Brian Cushing  – merely the most recent USC first round NFL Draft picks – are draped from the station’s stage.

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    10:53 a.m. – The main gate under the Olympic logo is only open for high school recruits. It’s essentially a red carpte for high school football’s A-listers.

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    11:04 a.m. – For what this stadium lacks in modern day emenities it makes up for it with history and tradition. National championship banners, Heisman Trophy winner commemorations, everything. What an incredible place to play.

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    12:15 p.m. – If you aren’t watching college football today then you aren’t living. Get in front of a TV set immediately.

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    12:57 p.m. – Plenty of UA fans in attendance today, nice work Wildcats.

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    1:15 p.m. – USC band taking the field. Just spiked the sword into the “”SC”” logo into the middle of the field – one of the traditions that makes college football great.

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    1:23 p.m. – The Trojans mascot – a white horse named “”Traveler””  just made its way along the Usc sideline.

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    1:35 p.m. – USC Senior Day festivities under way. Huge ovation for safety Taylor Mays, but an even bigger on for tailback Stafon Johnson – the senior suffered a season-ending weight lifting injury earlier this season.

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    1:37 p.m. – Uniform watch: Arizona is wearing blue pants, white jerseys with blue numbers and names, and blue helmets. USC is wearing its classic uniforms – gold pants and helmets and cardinal jerseys and helmets.

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    1:39 p.m. – USC won the toss and will kick.

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    1:40 p.m. – We’re about to get started here, but let’s hear what you think: can the Wildcats beat USC for the first time under head coach Mike Stoops?

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    1: 47 p.m. – Arizona punted it away to end its first possession. USC, running their NFL -style offense, took the field and threw on first and second downs. QB Matt Barkley threw downfield on a deep dig-route to WR Damiam Williams, but Arizona sophomore cornerback made a beautiful break on the ball to pick it off. That’s probably why teams have avoided throwing it to his side for the last few weeks.

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    1:55 p.m. – Arizona has certainly made its presence known at the start. Nick Foles just hit WR Delashaun Dean for a touchdown on a 3rd-and-2. Dean motioned to the right side and when USC cornerback Kevin Thomas was on his outside shoulder Dean ran a quick in-route for the score.

    7-0 Arizona.

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    2:01 p.m. – USC managed to pick up two first downs, but the drive stalled when Barkley couldn’t convert a 3rd-and-10. Arizona’s defense is giving Barkey fits so far – decent pressure and excellent coverage has forced the freshman to make some pretty bad decisions.

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    2:16 p.m. – Arizona leads USC 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. The Wildcats dominated the first frame, moving the ball well on offense and suffocating USC QB Matt Barkley. A 7-0 lead is a very good start for UA, but the Wildcats need to keep their foot on the gas because USC RB Joe McKnight has been running pretty hard so far.

    Overall a great first quarter for Arizona. What do you guys think?

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    2:24 p.m. – And the Trojans are on the board. USC lined up in an I-formation with two tight ends and Ronald Johnson, the lone receiver, to the right side. Barkley hit Johnson on a skinny post for a 16-yard touchdown.

    This was a brilliant play call by USC. The coaches must’ve noticed that UA strong safety Robert Golden was out of position earlier in the drive on a pass that was thrown incomplete. Golden was focused on the middle of the field and too slow to react to Johnson running a flag-route to the endzone. USC went back to Golden’s side on this play and, sure enough, the sophomore was out of position and too slow to react to Johnson;’s route.

    We’re tied at seven. Will Arizona respond? Tell us what you’ve seen so far.

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    2:44 p.m. – Arizona regains the lead, 14-7. Nick Foles capped off a 15 play, 90-yard drive with a one yard touchdown run.

    Bug Wright was huge on the drive. The sophomore caught a quick-in on a 3rd-and-7 and turned it into a 26-yard gain, and then on a 3rd-and-13 he jumped as high as he could to pull in a 19-yard flag-route despite being covered like a glove.

    That was a statement drive for Arizona. Let’s see if the defense can keep the momentum.

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    2:55 p.m. – Arizona looked like it was off to a nice drive, but a miscommunication between Delashaun Dean and Juron Criner led to an interception. Criner, the outside receiver, ran a post and Dean, lining up in the slot, ran about 10-yards but then stopped and seemed confused. Whether it was because of Criner’s path or USC’s coverage is unknown, but Dean stopped running despite Foles throwing it to him. The pass was picked off by USC safety Will Harris.

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    3:03 p.m. – The Wildcats avoided any consequences from the late interception and take a 14-7 lead into the half. If you’re an Arizona fan you really couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Arizona has been head and shoulders above USC on both sides of the ball.

    Player of the first half: Bug Wright. The sophomore has made big plays throughout the first half, totaling five catches for 66 yards.

    Arizona will win if: It doesn’t let up. USC has no momentum whatsoever and the crowd is essentially silent. The Wildcats must continue to disrupt Matt Barkley’s rhythm.

    What do you guys think? Will Arizona choke away the lead like it did against Oregon, or can the Wildcats take the game and go to the Holiday Bowl?

    Side note: Just in case anyone cares, George Lopez is currently directing the USC band during half time.

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    3:20 p.m. – Sorry for the delay, folks. The internet has been a little spotty here, but we’re going to do our best to continue giving you updates.

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    3:41 p.m. – Nick Foles missed H-back Chris Gronkowski on a sure first down. Gronkowski ran a Z-route over the middle and didn’t have a Trojan defender within 10-yards of him. Foles lofted the throw over his head, forcing UA to punt. Punter Keenyn Cryer then shanked the ensuing kick, giving USC great field position. Is this the turning point for the Trojans?

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    3:45 p.m. – The defense holds, forcing USC to punt after three quick and unsuccessful plays.

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    3:53 p.m. – Turning point of the game here? USC just mauled UA’s defense to tie the game at 14. Last five plays of the drive: first down, first down, first down, first down, touchdown.

    Not good. Arizona needs to answer here, the offense has looked shaky this half.

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    3:58 p.m. – This has the same exact feel as the Washington, California, and Oregon games. Arizona got off to a great start but then choked it away in the second half.

    The crowd is starting to get into it now. Can Arizona stay composed?

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    4:00 p.m. – Throw up the four fingers on your right hand, we’re headed into the fourth quarter with the game tied at 14-14.

    Arizona needs to answer the bell this quarter. It might have gotten a little harder – Trevin Wade is on the sideline without his helmet. We’ll update you as soon as we hear what’s up.

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