Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Await Troy With Full House
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 23, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON -- The 2-1 Arizona football team will face No. 3-ranked Southern California's juggernaut Trojans in front of one of the biggest crowds in UA history Saturday.


The game is a sell out. However, a very limited number of tickets could be returned Saturday from USC's allotment. Any remaining tickets would be sold on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Arizona Stadium box office at East Sixth Street and North Cherry Avenue. There would be a limit of four tickets per person in line in order to accommodate as many Wildcat fans as possible.


Arizona, off to its first 2-1 start since 2002, takes on its second Top 10 club in three weeks. Earlier this month, a foray to Baton Rouge left the Cats with a quiet plane trip home after dropping the game to the then No. 8-ranked LSU Tigers, 45-3.


The preseason is over. Saturday's game is the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both schools.


This time the Cats know more of what to expect from a top caliber club, and also get the home crowd in their favor -- what shapes up easily to be among the school's top 10. UA sold out for its BYU game to open the year, bringing in a crowd of 58,450, the ninth-largest in Arizona Stadium. This one will be bigger.


Arizona will test its recent rushing success against a defense that rates 22nd nationally overall and allowed only 99 rushing yards per game against the likes of two Top 25 rushing units in its first two games, at Arkansas and against Nebraska. Defense has helped define 2-0 USC so far this year, while its offense grows under new quarterback John David Booty and without its All-American pair in the backfield --  LenDale White and all-purpose Heisman winner Reggie Bush.


Despite the presence of unanimous All-American wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett (and others) and a guy in Booty who appears to have the tools of quarterbacking predecessors Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart, it might behoove the Cats to make the Trojans throw the ball. USC's running game is young for the first time in a while, likely featuring three freshmen tailbacks in the tilt at Arizona Stadium.


USC did not see Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama last season, and perhaps that piece of intrigue could give the Cats some kind of edge. Tuitama emerged two weeks after the matchup a year ago, and fared at the top level in a rout a few weeks later against the other Los Angeles team, No. 7 UCLA. No doubt, though, that USC's heralded defense will give its best shot at forcing the action, especially against Arizona's young offensive front.


The Cats had success last week running the ball, with junior transfer Chris Jennings recording one of the top games in UA history at 201 yards, among a team total of 263. The challenge of reaching any where near that success against a formidable USC team will be considerable.









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