Arizona started the second half much more completely than it left the first half, sustaining a drive against the Trojan from the opening kickoff. They earned a couple of first downs and were moving the ball well, but were ultimately forced to punt.
On USC’s first drive of the half, they chewed up some yards but looked to be moved off the field before it crossed the 50-yard line. Then, on 3rd-and-11, Cody Kessler looked left to pass but darted down the field for a 34-yard fist down gain, and the crowd went absolutely nuts.
It was the longest run for a USC quarterback since Carson Palmer in 2001.
With a new set of downs, USC moved within field goal range and that is ultimately what the Trojans settled for. Kicker Andre Heidari drilled a 45-yard kick, and the Trojans cruised to a 31-10 lead.
Later in the third, Coach Ed Orgeron summoned Ty Isaac to the field (due to a hamstring injury to Tre Madden), and he electrified the Trojan crowd even more. On his first play from scrimmage he powered his way to a 22-yard gain, and followed that up with one for 12 yards. In this game of musical running backs, the Trojan offense looked well-oiled an efficient on the ground.
Six Trojans–five running backs and Kessler himself–ran the ball against the Wildcats, and all six have at least one double-digit gain.
Ka’Deem Carey gave a jolt of life to the Wildcats when he torched the Trojan defense for a 39-yard gain, and crossed midfield while doing it. Later, cornerback Torin Harris got absolutely burned in coverage and gave up a 45-yard touchdown pass when Denker hit Nate Phillips for the score. Arizona closed the gap to 31-16, and then things got interesting.
Arizona fumbled the snap and Harris scooped it up before running it back for the score. The points did not count however, as safety Leon McQuay had kicked the ball, which nullified the play. On their second attempt, Arizona made the PAT and brought the score to 31-17.
USC took over at the 27-yard line after kick return, looking to once again extend its lead. The Trojans kept the ball in their possession as the quarter drew to a close, picking up first downs and moving closer to scoring position. To cap the quarter, Kessler saw tight end Randall Telfer over the middle, and hit him for a crisp, wide-open 29-yard catch.
Threatening to score again, USC looks to put this game out of reach once and for all in the fourth quarter.