USC vs. Arizona: Gameday Preview, Injuries, Lineups, and Links

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USC vs. Arizona

Arizona Stadium | Tucson, Az.7:30 PM Pacific | ESPN2All-time Series: USC leads 28-2Last meeting: USC 38, Arizona 31 in 2013, at the Coliseum

What a difference a week makes.

This time last week, the USC Trojans were in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 south and back ranked in the top 20. The Arizona Wildcats were shakily undefeated, but unranked and staring down the barrel of the gun known as the Oregon Ducks.

Now, the game being prepared for is still between one ranked and unranked Pac-12 south team, but the roles have been reversed.

More from Reign of Troy

Fresh off an upset in Autzen and the largest jump in AP rankings history, Arizona controls their destiny in the division and owns a top ten ranking to boot.

USC on the other hand suffered a stunning loss to Arizona State on a last second Hail Mary, got booted out of the rankings and are looking to dig themselves out of a hole to get back into serious contention for the Pac-12 title.

Of course, a win over the Wildcats would go a long way towards giving the Trojans a foothold in the conference standings once more. For Arizona, beating USC, even a reeling one, would supply a necessary boost to their semi-questionable resume, which includes close wins over UTSA and Nevada to go along with a miraculous Hail Mary victory of their own over Cal.

Podcast:

In our USC vs. Arizona preview podcast Kyle Kensing of Bleacher Report and CFB Huddle joins Reign of Troy editor Alicia de Artola and editor emeritus Michael Castillo to preview the No. 10 ranked and undefeated Arizona Wildcats.

Gameday Links:

USC Injury Report:

  • Out for the season: Kenny Bigelow (knee), Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (academics), Jabari Ruffin (knee), Jordan Austin (hip), Chris Willson (foot), Christian Tober (collarbone)
  • Out: Josh Shaw (suspended), Jordan Simmons (knee), Ajene Harris (hamstring)
  • Questionable: Lamar Dawson (elbow), Tre Madden (toe)
  • Probable: Zach Smith (concussion), Randall Telfer (hip), Gerald Bowman (thigh)

Bookmark our Injury Report and News Ticker to stay up to date on USC injury news.

Arizona Injury Report:

  • Out: DeAndre’ Miller (shoulder)
  • Questionable: Nick Wilson (ankle), Cayman Bundage (knee)

(via Arizona Desert Swarm)

When Arizona has the ball…

True freshman Anu Soloman controls the offense and can hurt teams with both his arm and his feet. While mobile, he’s a pass-first quarterback, so his runs will be as alternatives to finding an open receiver rather than a first option should the opportunity present itself.

Rich Rodriguez will surely prefer that he keep the ball moving through the air considering the targets he has available to him. Redshirt senior Austin Hill is on pace to break school records for receiving while redshirt sophomore Cayleb Jones has stolen the limelight this season with six touchdown catches already. Both will keep Kevon Seymour and Adoree’ Jackson busy throughout the night.

The Wildcats also field an impressive duo of running backs in redshirt senior Terris Jones-Grigsby and freshman Nick Wilson, though they may have to cope without the services of Wilson who is fighting through an ankle injury. Both played a big role in the victory against Oregon with explosive plays in the passing game adding dimensions to the Arizona offense. Though the Trojans kept D.J. Foster quiet early on versus ASU, Anthony Sarao and the linebackers could have another major test on their hands containing either of the Wildcat backs.

Up front, Arizona also face the possibility of left guard Cayman Bundage sitting out after missing practice most of this week. Bundage is an integral part of the Wildcat running attack, which leads the Pac-12, so Leonard Williams and company will have a decent opportunity to prove they have truly figured out how to cope against the run.

Projected Starting Lineups

Arizona Offense:WR #1 Cayleb JonesWR #10 Samajie GrantTE #87 Blair TushausLT #68 Mickey BaucusLG #61 Cayman BundageC #56 Steven GurrolaRG #77 Lene Maiava OR #78 Jacob AlsadekRT #73 Fabbians EbbeleWR #6 Nate Philips OR #19 DaVonte’ NealWR #29 Austin Hill OR #4 David RichardsRB #24 Terris Jones-GrigsbyQB #12 Anu Solomon

USC Defense:DT #90 Claude Pelon OR #52 Delvon SimmonsNT #99 Antwaun WoodsDE #94 Leonard WilliamsRE #58 J.R. TavaiSOLB #47 Scott Felix / #21 Su’a CravensMILB #10 Hayes PullardWILB #56 Anthony SaraoCB #13 Kevon SeymourFS #27 Gerald Bowman OR #22 Leon McQuay IIISS #21 Su’a CravensCB #4 Chris Hawkins OR #2 Adoree’ Jackson

When USC has the ball…

The Wildcats run in the middle of the pack in the conference when it comes to defending both the pass and the run. Cody Kessler and the offense will look to take particular advantage of the pass defense which has allowed 11 touchdowns and the highest average quarterback rating in the Pac-12.

Just three interceptions on the year from Arizona’s defense means Kessler should be able to continue his streak without a pick, but he’ll need to be more accurate this week than last.

Scooby Wright is the man to watch out for on defense. With five sacks already in 2014, Wright is a bonafide defensive play-maker with a nose for causing disruption around the football.

The Trojans could have success against this Wildcat defense if they improve efficiency and cut out the mistakes which plagued them against ASU.

Buck Allen and Justin Davis may need to do most of their damage on screens and swing passes as the Wildcats have done a good job limiting the impact of running backs thus far.

Instead, Nelson Agholor will be called upon to lead the way while JuJu Smith could make a huge impact with some long play ability. Arizona has conceded the second most long pass plays in the conference.

Projected Starting Lineups

USC Offense:WR #9 JuJu SmithWR #15 Nelson AgholorTE #82 Randall TelferRT #73 Zach BannerRG #51 Damien Mama OR #60 Viane TalamaivaoC #75 Max TuerkLG #50 Toa LobendahnLT #72 Chad WheelerWR #8 George FarmerQB #6 Cody KesslerFB #31 Soma VainukuTB #37 Javorius Allen

Arizona Defense:DE #84 Reggie GilbertNT #55 Jeff WorthyDT #90 Dan PettinatoSLB #57 Cody Ippolito OR Derrick TurituriMLB #33 Scooby WrightWLB #47 Jake MatthewsSPUR #11 William PerksBANDIT #38 Jared TevisCB #6 Jonathan McKnightFS #26 Jourdon GrandonCB #29 Jarvis McCall Jr.