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Arizona's Nick Foles looks for a repeat against Trojans

Quarterback, who led the Wildcats past USC last season, returned last week against Stanford after sitting out two games because of a knee injury.

November 08, 2010|By Gary Klein

The last time USC saw Arizona quarterback Nick Foles, he was running off the field at the Coliseum after leading the Wildcats to victory in December.

Arizona finished second in the Pacific 10 Conference and earned a berth in the Holiday Bowl with the 21-17 victory on the regular-season finale, dropping USC to fifth place and landing the Trojans in the Emerald Bowl.

Saturday at Tucson, Foles again leads the No. 18 Wildcats against the Trojans in a game that could go a long way toward determining Arizona's postseason prospects.

Arizona all but fell out of Rose Bowl consideration with a 42-17 loss to Stanford last week. But with seven victories, Coach Mike Stoops' team is already assured a second consecutive bowl appearance.

Foles, who returned last week after sitting out two games because of a dislocated kneecap, remains the key to a passing attack that has averaged 294.8 yards per game.

"He's a guy that, almost every game it feels like you watch, he's completing 75% of his passes," USC Coach Lane Kiffin said Monday.

Foles, ranked 30th nationally in passing efficiency, has completed 71.9% of his attempts, a percentage second only to Northwestern's Dan Persa (73.4%) and just ahead of Boise State's Kellen Moore (71.8%).

Foles has passed for 10 touchdowns with six interceptions in seven games. Against Stanford, he completed 28 of 48 passes for 248 yards and a touchdown with one interception.

Last season against the Trojans, Foles was 22 of 40 for 239 yards. He ran for a touchdown and threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to receiver Juron Criner that gave the Wildcats a come-from-behind victory.

Criner, nursing an ankle injury, is eighth nationally and first in the Pac-10, averaging 98.2 yards receiving per game.

McDonald honored

USC safety T.J. McDonald was selected the Pac-10 defensive player of the week for his performance in the Trojans' 34-33 victory over Arizona State.

McDonald had a team-best 13 tackles, blocked a punt, deflected another and downed a punt at the Sun Devils' four-yard line.

The sophomore leads the Trojans with 68 tackles and is tied for the team lead with three interceptions.

Boyd to basketball?

Defensive end James Boyd, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound redshirt freshman, attended USC's men's basketball practice Monday and said he plans to walk on to the team.

Boyd, suspended indefinitely from the football team for academic issues, averaged 23.8 points and 22.4 rebounds per game for Los Angeles Jordan High as a senior. He is not expected to be allowed to pursue basketball until after the Trojans' final football game, on Dec. 4.

If Boyd joins the basketball team, he would add depth to a thin front line.

"I know my role," he said. "I know what I can do."

Quick kicks

Tailback Marc Tyler said he suffered a mild ankle sprain against Arizona State but should be fine. Tyler had 119 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries against the Sun Devils. … The Trojans resume practice Tuesday after being off Monday.

Times staff writer Baxter Holmes contributed to this report.

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