Coming off of their most lopsided Pac-10 loss since 2005, the Arizona Wildcats will have to find some much-needed momentum to beat the USC Trojans on Saturday.
This is much easier said than done.
This USC offense, lead by sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley, has put up over 30 points in all but one game this season, which does not bode well for an Arizona secondary that has gone further downhill each week.
Now facing the most prolific passing offense in the Pac-10, Stoops must figure out what has gone wrong with a pass defense that was praised on a national scale during the first half of the season; and fast.
USC leads the Pac-10 in passing touchdowns and accompanied by their rushing offense which averages close to 200 yards per game, this could mean disaster for the Wildcats.
This season was supposed to be the year the Wildcats finally made it to the Rose Bowl, but after being demolished by Andrew Luck and Stanford, the Wildcats should have their hand hovering above the panic button.
With the Rose Bowl now out of reach, Arizona must focus on finishing the year strong and making it back to the Holiday Bowl.
To do that, Nick “Sunshine” Foles will have to shake the rust off quick, and the Arizona offensive line is going to have to find time for Foles to throw.
Was it a surprise that Foles and the Wildcats offense came out flat against Stanford? Not at all. Foles had not played in two weeks and mix in an offensive line that couldn’t figure out Stanford’s blitzing schemes and you have a recipe for disaster.
Last week everyone expected a shootout, but the chance of that happening are much higher this week against USC. The Trojans can put the ball in the end zone through the air, but they also give up the most touchdowns through the air in the Pac-10.
Assuming Foles and the Arizona offense can get things back in order, much of this game will lie on the Wildcat pass defense.
If Arizona defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore can get to Barkley, it will take a lot of pressure off of the corners and safeties to control the talented Trojan receivers.
Not all is lost in Tucson, but if the Cats can’t figure it out quickly, they will be headed to a disappointing end of season.