Cats Rally To Take Down No. 10 USC, 39-36
Senior quarterback Matt Scott racked up 469 yards of total offense with four total touchdowns and Arizona (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) rallied from a 15-point deficit to knock off No. 10 USC (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12), 39-36 on Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.
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TUCSON - Senior quarterback Matt Scott racked up 469 yards of total offense with four total touchdowns and Arizona (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) rallied from a 15-point deficit to knock off No. 10 USC (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12), 39-36 on Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.
"I'm really proud of our guys," head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "They hung in there. We didn't play very well; we had a bunch of penalties and bad plays but so did they and that helped us a bit. It got a little dead there in the third quarter when we were down 28-13 but our guys just stuck with it and it feels good to win a close one."
Scott was 27-for-50 passing for 369 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while carrying the ball 15 times for 100 yards with a score on the ground.
Scott's favorite target in the contest was sophomore Austin Hill, who hauled in 10 catches for a career-high 259 yards. Meanwhile, Dan Buckner, David Richards and Johnny Jackson each recorded a touchdown reception.
"I think it makes us more relevant, it should," Rodriguez added. "I don't think we're a top-10 team but it gives us confidence. I hope it makes people notice. Our goal is to build the best program in the nation and we've got a long way to go."
Ka'Deem Carey continues to build on his already stellar season as he toted the ball 28 times for a game-high 119 yards with a touchdown. Carey recorded two crucial first down runs on Arizona's final possession, which wasted some valuable time off the clock.
"I think we blocked well but Ka'Deem is a guy that makes you tackle him," Rodriguez said, regarding Arizona's final drive. "He runs through arm tackles. Give credit to the guys up front but it was a great job by Ka'Deem."
The Arizona defense came up with several key stops in the game, particularly in the second half as the Trojans were held to just 15 points. In addition, the Wildcats forced five USC turnovers, three fumbles and two interceptions. Junior linebacker Marquis Flowers made several game changing plays defensively as he recorded two interceptions and a forced fumble, while totaling seven tackles. Sophomore Jonathan McKnight had a team-high 11 tackles. He also recorded a sack and a fumble recovery.
USC quarterback Matt Barkley was 31-of-49 passing for a school record 493 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Marqise Lee hauled in 16 catches for a Pac-12 record 345 yards with two touchdowns. Lee also compiled 123 kick return yards for a total of 468 all-purpose yards.
After Flowers intercepted a Barkley pass on USC's opening possession, Arizona put together a seven-play, 65-yard drive capped off by an eight-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Jackson. The highlight of the drive was a 30-yard pass play to Hill.
The Arizona defense came up with another key stop on the next USC possession and the Wildcat offense tacked on a 27-yard field goal by John Bonano to take a 10-0 lead. During the drive, Scott hooked up with Hill for a 56-yard play to get the Cats into USC territory.
Following an Arizona three-and-out, the Trojans got on the scoreboard when Barkley hit Xavier Grimble for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-7. The drive covered 84 yards on just four plays.
The Trojans took their first lead of the game when Barkley found Lee for a 49-yard touchdown reception. Once again, USC needed just four plays to punch it in the end zone.
After a 44-yard Bonano field goal cut the lead to one, USC tacked on another touchdown with just 42 seconds left in the half to take a 21-13 lead. D.J. Morgan punched in a three-yard run to cap off a 6-play 79-yard drive.
Barkley passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns in the first half but he also threw two interceptions. Meanwhile, Lee hauled in 12 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown.
Following the break, Arizona was forced to punt and USC responded with another touchdown toss from Barkley to Lee. The 49-yard touchdown reception by Lee broke the Pac-12 record for most receiving yards in a game with 299 yards. Arizona answered with a five-play, 71-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Scott.
On the next USC possession, Arizona defensive lineman Tevin Hood forced a Morgan fumble which was recovered by freshman Vince Miles at the USC 37-yard line. The Wildcats needed just four plays to convert a touchdown as Scott found Buckner for a nine-yard score. The two-point conversion failed to keep the Trojans in front, 28-26.
Following another key stop by the Arizona defense, Carey punched in a seven-yard touchdown run to give the Cats a 32-28 lead with just under 11 minutes to play. The drive covered 72 yards on seven plays.
The Wildcats got the ball back once again after the defense forced another USC punt. Arizona converted one more time as Scott found David Richards for a seven-yard touchdown toss, making the score, 39-28.
Following a 72-yard kickoff return by Lee, USC needed just three plays as Silas Redd scampered in from 10 yards out. The Trojans converted the two-point conversion to pull them within three at 39-36.
Arizona took over with 4:40 to play in the contest and Carey delivered with two much needed first down runs to force USC to burn its final two timeouts. The Wildcats burned 3:45 off the clock before having to punt it back to the Trojans.
Barkley completed three-straight passes to put the Trojans down to the Arizona 48-yard line. Following an incomplete pass with just five seconds left on the clock, USC's final shot was on a Hail Mary which fell incomplete to end the game.
The two teams combined for 1,206 yards of offense on the afternoon. USC slightly outgained Arizona, 618-588, for the contest. The two squads also combined for 27 penalties that covered 246 yards.
Arizona hits the road on Sat., Nov. 3 for a matchup at UCLA. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.