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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


FINAL: Arizona falls to USC 38-30

Rebecca Noble

Melancholy members of the Arizona football team sit on the bench during the fourth quarter and watch Arizona’s 38-30 loss to USC at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 7. 

Arizona football fell to USC 38-30 late Saturday night in a game that featured an early Wildcats lead, only to be followed by a stinging Trojans comeback. The loss moves the UA to 5-5 on the season.

“We just didn’t execute when we needed to,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I’m not happy.”

Early, it looked like Arizona might give USC a scare.

After going three-and-out in its first two drives of the game, the Wildcats offense capitalized off a big play from the defense: a midfield fumble recovery by linebacker Jake Matthews that put Arizona in good scoring position.

Six plays later, Anu Solomon put Arizona on the board first with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Nate Phillips.

Behind an aggressive defensive attack that consistently forced USC quarterback Cody Kessler into pressure, the Wildcats played perhaps their best opening quarter of the season, outgaining the Trojans 125 to 12 yards in the first 15 minutes.

Then on the first play of the second quarter, Solomon connected to David Richards for a three-yard score to make it 14-0 Arizona.

USC next marched down the field inside Arizona’s 10-yard line but was forced to settle for a field goal, making it 14-3.

The Wildcats looked ready to respond with another score until Solomon threw an interception, returned by USC’s John Plattenburg for 22 yards.

On the very next play, Kessler found Trojans receiver JuJu Smith sprinting down the field for a 72-yard touchdown reception. The score made it 14-10 Arizona with 9:15 to go in the quarter.

An ensuing field goal put Arizona back up by a touchdown, but USC answered again, this time with a 13 play, 82-yard touchdown drive to tie up the game with three minutes remaining in the quarter.

Arizona’s final drive of the first half ended with a Hail Mary attempt but to no avail.

The Wildcats received the ball to open the second half and mustered a six play drive that resulted in a 38-yard field goal by Casey Skowron.

Those would be the only points scored in the third quarter.

But on the first play of the fourth quarter, a nine-yard run from USC running back Justin Davis put the Trojans up 24-20. The touchdown run capped off a seven-play, 50-yard drive.

A pair of three-and-outs followed the USC scoring drive, before Arizona answered with a 44-yard field goal to make it 24-23.

The one-point deficit didn’t last long, however, as the Trojans answered on a 73-yard touchdown run by Ronald Jones II. The freshman running back broke through a line of UofA defenders before gliding into the endzone.

USC cushioned its lead late in the fourth quarter with a short touchdown run by Justin Davis to make it 38-23.

On the final full drive of the game, Arizona responded with a touchdown, courtesy of receiver Cayleb Jones.

“We’ve got to coach better and play better,” Rodriguez said.

Follow @WildcatSports on Twitter for updates.

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