This year’s tussle in Tucson features the undefeated Wildcats and the inconsistent Trojans. We weigh in with our USC vs. Arizona final score predictions.
Rich Rodriguez’s Wildcats are looking to go 6-0 for the first time since 1993 and find themselves hosting the Trojans after a heartbreaking loss to Arizona State. Though Arizona will have to avoid a let down after their 31-24 upset win over the Oregon Ducks in Eugene last Thursday.
To wrap up our previews for the game, here’s how we see it playing out:
Alicia de Artola:
I would not be surprised if Arizona came out to take it to the Trojans, who might not be mentally ready to get back to it yet after last week’s loss.
But there’s always the possibility that USC can finally figure it out this week and put together the 60 minute performance that they’re capable of.
The key for the Trojans to have a chance at winning this game is cutting out the individual mistakes on offense. Things like drops from Darreus Rogers last week, and missed assignments on the offensive line prevented USC from finishing drives.
If they can play sound offensively and get into a rhythm, the game will finish with a completely different outcome. But we haven’t seen the offense in any sort of consistent rhythm since the Fresno State game, making it hard to expect that to happen.
So until that happens, Arizona wins this.
The Trojans defense has done a tremendous job of forcing teams out of their strengths. They got Sean Mannion off of his game and forced Oregon State to try and run to no avail. Then they shut down the No. 1 running attack in the Pac-12 last week, holding Arizona State to 31 rushing yards.
But the problem is that they’ve then been susceptible to the opposite attack, after selling out to stop one.
Much like Arizona State, Rich Rod’s Wildcats are extremely balanced, as they’re averaging 350 yards per game through the air, in addition to 224 yards rushing. Both are among the leaders in the nation, not to mention the Pac-12.
That balance, plus the rapid maturation of Anu Solomon over the last few weeks makes Arizona extremely dangerous.
If the Trojans are able to shut down UA’s running game, they can’t afford to be picked apart by Austin Hill like Jaelen Strong did last week. Hill had 229 receiving yards the last time USC played in Tucson and might be the most talented receiver in the Pac-12 South.
Until USC can show that they can stop both the run and the pass from a potent offense, Arizona is the pick here.
The Trojans are capable of winning the game, especially if they can establish a strong running game with Buck Allen and Justin Davis, but defensive vulnerability will be where it’s won and lost.
Cats. Big. With a fourth quarter Trojans touchdown to suck you back in.
* * * *SOUND OFF, Southland! What’s your take on the game? Will the Trojans win on Saturday night? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts below in the comments. Sound off!
Who wins Saturday night's game?