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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Trojans won’t look past ‘Cats

    Forgive the No. 6 USC football team if it thinks twice before looking past Arizona this weekend.

    After all, the Trojans have rarely put the Wildcats away by a large margin, despite being heavy favorites in each of their meetings with Arizona over the course of the past few seasons.

    And with USC’s slip-up against unranked Oregon State earlier this season, Trojans head coach Pete Carroll is making sure his squad is fully prepared before it wanders into Arizona stadium Saturday night.

    “”They are really well coached,”” Carroll said on a conference call with the media Monday morning. “”Defensively, they are real sound and they play hard and have a really aggressive attitude about them, just like you would think Mike (Stoops’) team would be.

    “”Offensively … they have a terrific wide receiver crew and the tight end (Rob Gronkowski) is as good as anyone we will see in the county,”” Carroll added. “”The running backs have lit it up and Willie (Tuitama) has been around the block now. He knows how to play the game and he is making good decisions.””

    While Arizona has undoubtedly improved since last year’s meeting between the two teams in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Wildcats have given the Trojans all they can handle during the years that have passed.

    Last season, Arizona had the Trojan faithful sitting on the edges of their seats, as the Wildcats held a slight lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter. But with then-No. 10 USC reeling, the Wildcats allowed some big plays late and just missed out on the opportunity at a major upset, falling 20-13.

    “”Last year was probably our best opportunity (to get a win),”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”You have to really go out and earn it when you play (USC). … There aren’t a lot of weaknesses when you look at their football team.””

    In 2006, Arizona also had the Trojans’ backs against the wall, entering the fourth quarter down 10-3 before allowing 10 USC points in the last frame.

    This year, instead of trying to pull the upset, Arizona will continue its shot at possibly winning the conference title.

    That, in addition to the magic Arizona has during Homecoming weekend, the Wildcats could be in line for a chance at the upset.

    But don’t tell that to Carroll, because the coach is making sure his team fully understands what threats Arizona poses, especially since the loss to the Beavers, another heavy underdog, has really hurt the team this season.

    “”We played miserably in the first half,”” Carroll said of the loss to Oregon State. “”The two quarters from that game just don’t fit in with the rest of the season. The second half we didn’t give anything and we scored three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to win the game.

    “”You can’t take away that game. If you figure out a way, can you let me know?”” Carroll said with a chuckle when asked if this was the best his team has played in his tenure at USC, aside from the loss. “”We have to live with that performance and learn from it, and hopefully not allow it to repeat.””

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