The USC Trojans were in the thick of the national title hunt when they lost in Week 3 to Stanford. Since then USC has climbed back into the Top 10, but they have to win big in the Pac-12 to keep BCS hopes alive.
The Trojans are facing a quality Arizona squad at home that has been very potent offensively. USC will still have enough firepower to blast past the Wildcats in this afternoon game in Tuscon, Ariz.
Arizona has had a resurgence offensively under new coach Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats are ranked as the No. 5 passing and No. 35 rushing offense in the country. Arizona is also No. 5 in total offense.
The keys will fall on the Arizona defense. USC will bring Matt Barkley and his host of playmakers to Arizona Stadium looking for a big win. Silas Redd has been steady on the ground with Marqise Lee and Robert Woods making plays on the perimeter.
Looking ahead to the showdown in Tuscon, these are the keys to this Pac-12 contest.
Matt Barkley Continues the Heisman Climb
Matt Barkley produced one of the best games in college football history when he led the Trojans to a 50-6 win over Colorado a week ago. Barkley was 19-of-20 for 298 yards with six passing touchdowns.
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He also finished the game with a 319.2 quarterback rating. The 95 percent completion mark and the 319.2 quarterback rating were Pac-12 and USC records. He also tossed his 100th touchdown pass—also a school and conference record.
Barkley should be able to continue his success this week against the Wildcats' No. 111 ranked pass defense. Expect another career day for Barkley as he shreds this Arizona defense.
Matt Scott Will be Hit Often
Arizona is No. 55 in sacks allowed this season. The Trojans are No. 3 in sacks per game. This should be a long game for Matt Scott in front of the home crowd.
Stanford is ranked No. 8 in sacks this year and the Cardinal recorded three against the Wildcats earlier this fall. The Trojans should have their fair share of quarterback stops as well.
USC is also ranked No. 11 in tackles for loss snagging 7.71 backfield stops per game. It has been a strong performance for the Trojans upfront defensively this season and that will bring a major problem for the Arizona offense.
This USC defense matches up very well against Arizona and should be able to find ways to slow down the Rich Rodriguez spread-option attack.
Silas Redd Has a Career Trojan Day
Silas Redd was one of the many transfers from Penn State after the NCAA sanctions were dropped on the Nittany Lions program. Redd has landed at USC and been a big part of the Trojans offensive balance this season.
Redd has rushed 104 times for 583 yards and six touchdowns so far this fall. Redd has three games with more than 100 yards, two of those ending with greater than 150 yards.
The Arizona Wildcats will put the No. 79 rushing defense on the field on Saturday afternoon. Silas Redd will have a career day.
There have only been two games that Redd has carried the ball more than 20 times. Both were his 150 yard games. This should be his third. A balanced Trojans offense will spell disaster for Arizona.
USC’s best defense to the Wildcats attack is clock control. Redd should be able to help.
*Stats confirmed with NCAA.org