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Arizona vs. USC: Game-changing play

The tide turned due to a particularly questionable play call.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats fared about as well as we expected against the USC Trojans. That said, Arizona was actually in this game late and even had a few chances to take the lead in the fourth quarter.

Where did it fall apart? I originally wanted to point to the second quarter, when the Anu Solomon interception and JuJu Smith-Schuster 74-yard touchdown occurred back-to-back, but the game was still undecided even after that massive shift in momentum. Instead, the game seemed to change to USC's favor due to one particularly questionable play call.

With 2:46 left in the 3rd quarter, Arizona was up by three points with the ball at midfield. On 4th and 2, the Wildcats decided to roll the dice and go for it. I liked the move, honestly; it was gutsy, and a score on that drive would have been huge for the 'Cats. The problem was the play call. After the 43,890th high snap of the game to Solomon, he handed it off to Orlando Bradford, who went straight up the middle and into the teeth of the USC defensive line. No gain, turnover on downs.

USC promptly went on to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive, then subsequently outscored Arizona 21-10 en route to a 38-30 victory.

Again, the decision to go for it wasn't necessarily wrong. You're on the road with nothing to lose, and potentially extending that drive into points would have vastly altered the complexion of this game. The problem was the horrendous play call. Arizona put up -10 rushing yards in the second half. -10 yards. Solomon, though not perfect, had one of his better games since the concussion, and even showed some mobility around the edges on scrambles and designed runs. How on earth running the ball straight up the middle is the play call in that situation is beyond me. The game was out of control from that point on.