The Arizona Wildcats will limp in to tomorrow's game having lost 2 of their last 3 and barely beating ASU on a freak (go figure, a freak play during an Arizona game) play. Arizona will be without running back Nic Grigsby who has been sidelined along with David Douglas. Nick Foles has a hand injury which should not impede his passing as it is his non-throwing hand. Look for USC to throw a lot of complicated looks at Foles and try to bring a number of packages on the defensive side of the ball. As in other weeks, the Cats will use Greg Nwoko and Keoli Antolin as their two headed rushing attack. Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore have been tearing it up this year and I expect nothing less against USC. Ricky Elmore is leading the Pac-10 in sacks this year with 10.5 sacks and I hope he gets a big one against Matt Barkley.
USC has had a disappointing 8-3 season. So sad, 8-3. USC has been plagued by inconsistent offensive firepower and a defense that was embarassed by Stanford 55-21. Matt Barkley is completing 59% of his passes and has 12 TD versus 11 INT's on the year. Joe McKnight is the explosive back for the Trojans who should eclipse the 1000 yard mark against the Cats as he has 979 yards rushing this year on 155 carries, a 6.3 YPC average.
Keys to the Game:
Kicking Game - Alex Zendejas has been great this year and was the Pac-10's Special Teams Player of the Week last week. Because of USC's gritty defense, sans Stanford, the Cats are going to need to cash in on all of their scoring opportunities. Let's hope that Zendejas likes the SoCal weather in December.
First Downs - Arizona has got to figure out a way to gain more yards on first down than they have been. Our offense is dictated by what occurs on first down and our rushing game has let us down over the past few weeks. I don't mind our WR screen passes to take the place of our rushing game but it would be nice to see a rush for more than 1 yard on first down. I still am not sure who fits our offense better, Nwoko or Antolin. I think against USC, I am going to go with Nwoko's pounding style to try and eliminate USC's speed and just pound it down their throats. (Hopefully).
- Nerves - This isn't the USC of old. They have lost their identity, their swagger, and their offense! Try and tell that to opposing teams that go into the coliseum and have to deal with the crowd, the tradition, and the overall atmosphere in SoCal. Arizona's young guys are going to have to walk in with some swagger of their own and have the confidence to know they can beat the Trojans.