Kickoff: 5:14 p.m.
TV: ABC (Dan Fouts, Tim Brant, Jack Arute)
Radio: 1290 AM (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett)
First Meeting: 1916 (USC 20 -
Last Meeting: 2005 (USC 42 -
All-Time Series Record: USC leads 23-6
Current Streak: USC has won four straight dating back to 2001
Notes on the Series: This year will mark USC’s first trip to
Some Game Themes...
SFA Quick Hits
Led by a 201-yard effort by junior Chris Jennings, the Wildcats rushed for a season-high 263 yards on 41 attempts against the Lumberjacks (6.4 YPC) ... Jennings, who finished the game with 201 yards and two TDs on 26 carries, became the first Arizona RB to post 200 or more yards on the ground in a single game since current Denver Bronco Mike Bell rumbled for 222 yards and three TDs in a 2003 homecoming win over Washington ... Senior Adam Austin started his first game at QB and led Arizona on a pair of scoring drives. His 1-yard rush for a TD in the second quarter was the first of his career ... Austin finished the night 11 for 16 for 83 yards ... Sophomore Willie Tuitama, who did not start due to a concussion suffered against LSU on Sept. 9, entered for Austin at the 14:47 mark in the fourth quarter and led Arizona on a pair of scoring drives. Tui finished the contest 6 for 9 for 61 yards, including a three-yard TD strike to Anthony Johnson ... The Wildcats set early season-highs in rushes (41), yards rushing (263), YPR (6.4), rushing TDs (3), total offensive plays (66), total offense (407 yards), yards per play (6.2), points (28) and first downs (20) ... Arizona, which went 4-for-4 on third-down conversions on its first drive of the game, moved the chains a season-high eight times on 13 third-down chances ... The Wildcats also remained perfect for the year on fourth-down (3-for-3), converting its lone attempt in the game.
Opening a Pac
Saturday marks the opening of the Pac-10 schedule for both Arizona and USC ... The Wildcats are 16-12 all-time in their first conference contest since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, and 9-7 when opening Pac-10 play at home ... UA begins conference play at home for the fifth time in the six seasons (at Cal in 2005) ... The Wildcats have begun conference play against USC only once in school history, a 31-10 loss at home in 1995.
A Quick Look at USC
The three-time defending Pac-10 champs head to Tucson for their conference opener with a 2-0 record after defeating Arkansas and No. 29 Nebraska to open the season ... The Trojans enter the week ranked No. 3 in the latest AP Poll, up one spot from the previous week ... When in possession of the ball, USC boasts the No. 7 scoring offense (39 ppg) in the nation early on and the No.15-ranked total offense (435.5 ypg) ... Replacing 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart at QB, junior John David Booty enters the game against the Cats with a No. 19 nationally ranked passing efficiency ranking ... Replacing the two-headed monster of 2005 Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and LenDale White in the backfield are a trio of rushers in Emmanuel Moody, Chancey Washington and C.J. Gable. The three RBs combine to average 154 yards on the ground per game ... WR Dwayne Jerrett ranks fifth among DI pass catchers with an average of eight per game and he is 24th in the nation in receiving yards per game with 85.5 per contest ... Defensively, the Trojans are 22nd nationally in total defense (249 ypg) and 18th in scoring defense (12 ppg) ... LB Rey Maualuga leads the Men of Troy with 17 total tackles on the year ... Head coach Pete Carroll is in his sixth season at USC and has put together an impressive 56-10 record.
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Junior college transfer RB Chris Jennings has made such an impression on the
An Impressive Start
Chris Jennings 201 yards rushing in his first career start against Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 16 not only helped him crack the all-time top 10 single game performances by a UA running back (No. 10), but it was among the top running efforts by a first-time starter. A look at some recent UA rushers starting debuts.
Numbers Mike Bell
21-54 yards Clarence Farmer
22-134 yards, TD Leo Mills
29-185 yards, 2 TD Trung Canidate
17-73 yards Gary Taylor
29-174 yards Ontiwaun Carter
Long Beach St.
10-118 yards David Adams
Notes: Bell (No. 4), Farmer (No. 7), Canidate (No. 1), Carter (No. 2) and Adams (No. 6) are all among the career rushers leaders in school history ... Although records don’t indicate starts, Art Luppino’s season debut in his sophomore year of 1954 against New Mexico State was one for the history books. The “Cactus Comet”, the No. 3 all-time rusher at Arizona, ran for 228 yards on just six carries and had scoring runs of 37, 48, 78 and 47 yards in the 58-0 Wildcat win. Press clippings from the time indicate Luppino was a second-team RB behind senior Ken Cardella during his freshman season of 1953.
But What About Me?
Overshadowed by the outstanding performance by Chris Jennings, redshirt freshman Xavier Smith turned in a fine effort on his own last weekend against Stephen F. Austin. Receiving his first career touches on handoffs, X rushed for a 57 yards on just 10 carries for a 5.7 yard per carry average. He finished the contest with three first-down runs and had a long rush of 17 yards for Cats.
Now That’s The Willie We All Know
Sophomore QB Willie Tuitama entered the Stephen F. Austin game at the beginning of the fourth quarter last weekend, and showed the 47,000 fans at Arizona Stadium just why he’s the man in
Whether it’s the new clock rules or a good defensive effort, last week’s 50 plays run by Stephen F. Austin were the fewest by an opponent in 117 games, dating to the season opener in 1996 against UTEP when the Miners took 49 cracks at it (26 rushes, 23 passes, 166 yards in total offense). UA held the Lumberjacks to 196 total yards on 50 plays on Saturday. That range of plays has not been commonplace, although Stanford ran only 58 last year, Northern Arizona had 53 plays in 2002 and UTEP ran 52 in 2000 against
The Final 15
Through three games this year, the Wildcats are already nearing their 2005 season total for fourth quarter points. With a pair of field goals, including Nick Folks game-winning 48-yarder against BYU in the season opener, and two TDs (with PATs),
Keeping It Clean
The Wildcats have been penalized less often then their opposition in all three games thus far. Flags are being thrown at
With an eye for postseason play and seven home games slated for 2006,
Hey, Watch Me
The early season “watch lists” continue to stream forth and a number of Wildcats have garnered recognition ... Junior CB Antoine Cason is listed as a player to watch for the Jim Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top DB ... Senior PK/P Nick Folk has been placed on the watch list for both the Lou Groza Award, presented to the nation’s top place kicker, and the Ray Guy Award, presented to the top punter ... Sophomore WR Mike Thomas was recently named to the Fred Biletninikoff Award watch lists presented to the top receiver.
20 and Counting
Senior WR Syndric Steptoe extended his streak to 20 straight games with at least one catch with a first quarter grab against Stephen F. Austin last Saturday. Dating back to the Washington State game on Sept. 25, 2004, Steptoe has hauled in at least one pass in all 20 games he has played in (he missed an Oregon State game twice during his streak due to injury). Step has caught 75 passes for 967 yards and four TDs over the 20 games. He is averaging nearly four catches per game, and 12.8 yards per reception. Steptoe’s last game played without a catch was Sept. 18, 2004 against
The Big Rush
The rushing duo of Chris (Henry) and Chris (
A Spring in his Step
Senior Syndric Steptoe has proven to be a pain for the opposition throughout his career in his role as wide receiver/kick returner. His 143 all-purpose yards against BYU in the season opener marked the 13th time in his career, and the fourth straight contest, he has racked up 100 or more all-purpose yards in a contest. With 3,098 career all-purpose yards on 214 total plays (14.5/play), Step is closing in on Hubie Oliver’s No. 11 spot all-time at UA. A bruising power fullback who played from 1977-80, Oliver racked 3,404 all purpose yards on 699 plays. To crack the all-time top 10, Step needs 601 more yards this season to displace No. 10 Eddie Wolgast (1945-48, 3,698 APY). Dennis Northcutt (1996-99) is UA’s all-time leader with 5,392 all-purpose yards.
Step’s All-Purpose Yards
One of the Few
Senior Nick Folk is one of eight players on the Division I level that handles all of the kicking duties - kickoffs, field goals, PATs and punting - for his team. A look at how Nick stands up against his “brethren”.
KO Nick Folk, Arizona
12-10TB John Deraney, NC State
11-5TB Chris Gould, Virginia
10-5TB Greg Johnson, Texas
18-7TB Matt Lasher, Ohio
14-1TB Ryan Succop, S. Carolina
13-7TB Sam Swank, Wake Forest
13-4TB Andrew Wellock, E. Michigan
Well actually it’s Nick, but with the way the senior kicker has boomed the ball in the past, maybe a name change is in order. The multi-talented kicker is headed for a season of double duty as the place kicker and punter for the Wildcats. His season debut against BYU certainly showcased his talents as he connected for a career-best three field goals (30, 22, 48), including the game-winner with one second remaining, while also booting four punts for a net average of 56 yards per kick. His 75-yard punt against the Cougars was a career-long and pinned BYU on its own 5 yard-line.
Known for having a big leg on field goals (career-long 53 yards) and kickoffs (55 career touchbacks), his punting prowess came out of necessity for the Wildcats. After punter Danny Baugher went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Wildcats’ seventh game last year, Folk took over the punting duties to go along with his normal place kicking chores. As the “fill in” punter, all Folk did was post a net average of 44.7 yards per kick (Baugher, a finalist for the 2005 Ray Guy Award, average 47.5 net yards per punt), hit a season-high 61-yarder and place eight of his 22 kicks inside the opposition’s 20 yard-line.