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How USC matches up against Arizona

A look at how the Trojans, coming off a turnover-plagued loss at Arizona State, compare with the Wildcats, who have lost three games, all to Associated Press top-10 teams.

September 30, 2011|By Gary Klein
  • Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is completing 71% of his pass attempts this season.
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is completing 71% of his pass attempts this… (Wily Low / Associated Press )

USC is looking to rebound from last week's turnover-plagued loss at Arizona State, which knocked the Trojans out of the Associated Press Top 25. Teams included in those rankings have not been kind to Arizona, which has lost to three top-10 teams. Staff writer Gary Klein examines the game's issues and matchups:

Mystery team

No one is quite sure what to make of Arizona.

The Wildcats are 1-3, but their losses came against No. 5 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Stanford and No. 9 Oregon. The margins of defeat were 23, 27 and 25 points.

The Wildcats, having faced some of the most productive offenses in college football, rank near the bottom of major colleges in rushing defense, total defense and scoring defense.

USC is a 12-point favorite.

Quarterback duel

How about this for a delayed penalty call?

The Pacific 12 Conference waited four days after USC played Arizona State to reprimand USC quarterback Matt Barkley for comments he made about Sun Devils linebacker Vontaze Burfict nearly a week earlier.

Meantime, Trojans Coach Lane Kiffin did not reprimand — officially anyway — the junior for losing a fumble and having two passes intercepted.

Barkley is completing 68% of his passes. He has 10 touchdowns with three interceptions. Receiver Robert Woods, his favorite target, has caught 41 of Barkley's 101 completions.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is completing 71% of his passes. He has 10 touchdowns with no interceptions and has been sacked 12 times. Receiver Juron Criner has 21 receptions in three games.

Opposite directions

Arizona has to be dreading the prospect of facing Marc Tyler again.

Last season, Tyler ran for 160 yards in 31 carries — both career bests — in USC's 24-21 victory.

The senior ranks fourth in the Pac-12, averaging 101 yards a game.

Keola Antolin averages 45 rushing yards for Arizona, which ranks next to last nationally in that category.

Seeing red

The Trojans and the Wildcats have been almost equally bad inside the 20-yard line.

USC ranks 106th among 120 major college teams and next to last in the conference in converting red-zone opportunities. The Trojans have scored 11 of 16 times, with eight touchdowns and three field goals. USC has turned over the ball a conference-worst three times inside the 20.

USC also ranks 100th nationally and last in the conference in red-zone defense, having allowed teams to score 11 of 12 times.

Arizona is 10th in the conference in red-zone offense, scoring 11 of 15 times. The Wildcats are next to last in red-zone defense, giving up points 20 of 22 times, including a conference-worst 16 touchdowns.

Bad omen?

USC has a 27-7 edge in the series against Arizona.

The last time the Trojans played the Wildcats at the Coliseum was in 2009, when Foles led Arizona to a 21-17 victory in what proved to be Pete Carroll's final regular-season game as USC's coach.

The loss earned/sentenced USC to the Emerald Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco.

USC's next game is Oct. 13 against California at … AT&T Park.

gary.klein@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesklein

USC; Category; ARIZONA

25.5; scoring offense; 24.0

22.8; scoring defense; 35.0

280.3; pass offense; 372.5

142.3; rush offense; 62.3

422.5; total offense; 434.8

227.8; pass defense; 250.5

108.3; rush defense; 233.5

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