That's because the Wildcats must win, and soon. They've lost their last eight games against FBS opponents and absolutely need a rebound game against a good team after losing three straight this year to top 10 squads. Playing in Los Angeles does Arizona no favors, but here's how it'll have to go down for the Wildcats to pull off an upset that could spring a 1-3 team into a momentum swing.
Stopping yet another great QB/RB/WR trio
Oklahoma State had quarterback Brandon Weeden throwing to superstar Justin Blackmon. Then, it was Joseph Randle, and so-far unheralded running back going wild on UA by nearly pulling off a 100-yard rushing AND receiving game.
Then it was likely No. 1 NFL Draft pick Andrew Luck throwing to Chris Owusu, and running back Stepfan Taylor running for a career high against Arizona. Of course, last week LaMichael James torched Arizona for 288 yards with quarterback Darron Thomas only needed to drop 11 completions.
Against USC, the Matt Barkley/Robert Woods/ Marc Tyler trio will be another pest for the Wildcats defense. Should the defensive front seven fail to get on Barkley and stop the run, the Trojans will have as many offensive options as they please against the Wildcats.Staying home, watching the ball
Whereas the Ducks tricked the Wildcats by hiding where the ball was with motion in their blurring offensive sets, the Trojans will of course go with a more traditional NFL-style attack. But as with last week, losing the ball will absolutely kill the Wildcats.
The Trojans use a run-run-run-pass scheme with lots of play-action. Should the linebackers and defensive backs jump on a fake to Tyler, Barkley can make Arizona pay with deep balls to Woods and the like.
That's why the Wildcats have to make the missed tackles they had last week. Tyler is more of a power back than LaMichael James, so Arizona has to keep him to short gains.
Beat the Trojans how the Trojans beat them
While the Wildcats may run a lot of spread schemes, they've found success in the run game with running dual-back and tight end heavy sets. That's given Ka'Deem Carey and Keola Antolin success enough to pick up four yards a carry.
But this week, look for Arizona to look toward opening up the options in the pro-style sets. That means possibly giving tight end Drew Robinson his first pass reception as a Wildcat and possibly using Taimi Tutogi more than a blocker.
That would go back to the H-backs of (kind of) old, when Chris Gronkowski and before him, Earl Mitchell, were used in play-action situations as back-up options should wide receivers not be open after hand-off fakes. Of course, that means USC has to be willing to bite on a fake, so its essential the run game games going for the Wildcats to open the playbook.