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The Scouting Report

November 15, 2003

No. 2 USC (8-1, 4-1) at Arizona (2-8, 1-5)

Today, 4 p.m., Arizona Stadium

TV -- TBS. Radio -- KMPC (1540)

WHEN USC HAS THE BALL

It's not likely to approach Oklahoma's 77-0 rout of Texas A&M, but USC has no reason to hold back against the Wildcats. The Trojans must not only win, but may need to win impressively to maintain their No. 2 position in the polls and BCS standings in a game that will also serve as an audition of sorts for offensive coordinator Norm Chow. Quarterback Matt Leinart has not thrown an interception in his last 135 attempts. Wide receiver Mike Williams appears recovered from a high ankle sprain, and the Trojans are averaging a healthy 167.3 yards rushing a game, best in the conference. All of that is bad news for an Arizona team that ranks ninth in the conference in passing defense and last in rushing defense and total defense.

WHEN ARIZONA HAS THE BALL

Sophomore running back Mike Bell, who came to the forefront after Clarence Farmer was kicked off the team, has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the last three games. Freshman quarterback Kris Heavner completed 10 of 20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown in last week's victory over Washington. Biren Ealy has caught 40 passes for 531 yards and four touchdowns and Ricky Williams has 29 receptions for 461 yards and two touchdowns. USC walk-on Collin Ashton, who has made 12 tackles this season, will make his first start at weak-side linebacker in place of Melvin Simmons. Freshman Manuel Wright and redshirt freshman Travis Tofi will have expanded roles in the rotation at defensive tackle because top reserve LaJuan Ramsey (shoulder) will not play.

KEYS TO USC VICTORY

Remain focused. The Trojans can neither look past Arizona nor allow the Wildcats to stay in the game long enough to make the outcome turn on a fluke play.

Establish the run. There's no reason to mess with a formula that has helped make the passing game prolific.

Ring the Bell. Bell is averaging a conference-best 6.3 yards a carry. Stop him and the Wildcats will be tamed.

HOW THEY COMPARE

*--* USC ARIZONA 40.2 Scoring 17.4 19.4 Points allowed 35.6 275.9 Passing offense 172 167.3 Rushing offense 132.3 443.2 Total offense 304.3 267.5 Passing defense 270.3 68.2 Rushing defense 174.6 335.7 Total defense 444.9

*--*

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