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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

USC aims to ruin family weekend

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Tyler Baker

Arizona redshirt senior running back Terris Jones-Grigsby (24) rushes the ball during Arizona’s 31-24 win against then-No. 2 Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., on Oct. 2. USC comes to town this weekend as Jones-Grigsby and the Wildcats look to win their sixth straight game.

The No. 10 Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12) host USC (3-2, 2-1) Saturday night at Arizona Stadium at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2. It’s the first time Arizona has sold out a home game since the 2012 Territorial Cup game, but it was at reduced capacity due to construction. USC enters the game as a 2.5-point favorite.

“From what I understand, USC is still favored, and we all understand why,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I think there is one guy in our program that was recruited and offered by USC.”

The lone Wildcat recruited by USC is redshirt senior Jesse Scroggins,  a former Trojan and current reserve quarterback.

“Our guys know how talented they are,” Rodriguez said.

The Wildcats have started 5-0 five times previously, with the most recent coming in 1998. Arizona’s best-ever start was 7-0 in 1993.

USC’s recruiting classes were ranked No. 10 in 2014, No. 13 in 2013, No. 8 in 2012, No. 4 in 2011 and No. 1 in 2010 by Rivals.

“I’m glad [we’re] the underdog,” UA junior safety William Parks said. “That just keeps the guys focused for the task at hand.”

Lucky number seven

USC owns the all-time series, but the last seven Wildcat-Trojan games have been decided by seven points or less.

The Trojans lead the all-time series 28-8, including a 2005 win in Los Angeles that was vacated. USC is 11-4 against the UA in Tucson, having won five of the last six and six of the last eight.

Arizona is 1-6 against USC as a ranked team. The only time the Wildcats have been a top team against the Trojans was in 1992, a loss.

This is the sixth time (1980, 2005, 2010, 2011 and 2013) the Trojans have played Arizona and ASU back-to-back. USC is 8-2 in those games and won both in 2005, but those were vacated.

Trojan men

Both the Wildcats and Trojans owe their nicknames to Los Angeles Times sports writers.

In 1912, Owen Bird wrote that USC’s fighting spirit was like that of the ancient Trojans’.

In 1979, the Trojan Marching Band played the title track on Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk,” making it the only collegiate marching band to have a platinum album. Additionally, it has been in movies and TV shows 14 times.

USC’s fight song is called “Fight On,” and is played after touchdowns and first downs.

The white horse is named “Traveler,” and the Trojan statue is called “Tommy Trojan.” USC’s famous alumni include George Lucas, Will Ferrell, Steven Spielberg, John Wayne and O.J. Simpson.

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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