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Arizona vs. USC score predictions

Arizona has lost four straight to USC. Will that skid be snapped Saturday?

USC v Arizona Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images

The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats and No. 17 USC Trojans are set to battle for first place in the Pac-12 South on Saturday (7:45 p.m. PT, ESPN) in Los Angeles.

The Wildcats (6-2 overall, 4-1 Pac-12) enter on a four-game winning streak behind the legs and arm of quarterback Khalil Tate.

USC (7-2, 5-1) is coming off a 48-17 win against ASU.

Here’s what we think will happen. Make sure to make your prediction in the comment section below.

Ryan Kelapire — USC wins 38-31

I don’t believe Arizona will have much luck slowing down Sam Darnold and USC’s impressive stable of running backs, so it all depends what Khalil Tate can do offensively.

Tate, a Southern California kid, should be fired up to play under the lights at the Coliseum, but for some reason I think all that hype will backfire and he’ll have a rougher game (by his standards) than what we’ve come to expect.

But I also thought something similar would happen against Washington State and that defense, so who really knows?

Christopher Boan — Arizona wins, 31-28

Arizona’s history against the Men from Troy has not been sterling, posting an all-time 8-25 record against USC, including four straight Ls. The Wildcats last won in the Coliseum in 2009, when Nick Foles and Juron Criner teamed up for a 36-yard passing touchdown in the game’s final minutes to snatch a rare win in the Golden State.

This is a horrible matchup for USC, which gets the unenviable task of playing 12 games without a bye this season. The Trojans looked rejuvenated last week, in trouncing the boys from Tempe, 48-17. I’m not convinced they can slow down Khalil Tate and company, though, with a decimated defense that ranks sixth in the conference in rushing yards allowed, at 164.8 yards per game.

The Trojans are two weeks removed from getting clowned by Notre Dame, who racked up 377 rushing yards on them in South Bend. It sure seems like the Trojans’ rush defense is ailing, which sets up perfectly for an upset and a fifth straight win for Arizona.

I’m tempted to boost the total score, but feel confident Arizona will win on a late touchdown to jump in the driver’s seat for a Pac 12 South championship.

Gabe Encinas — USC wins 38-31

Well, this team definitely proved me wrong last week, more specifically the defense. I still think it’s incredibly impressive that Arizona has beaten Colorado, UCLA and Cal, but Washington State was definitely a much stronger opponent.

Now this is the toughest game of the season, against what is probably the most physical, and most talented team, whether their record or play has shown it or not.

Arizona is healthy, and they have Khalil Tate on their side but I’m still just not sure a young team with defensive miscues on the road can come away with this. But this will be a huge test and we’ll see how this team responds to some of that national spotlight now.

If Arizona can pull this off, man, the rest of their schedules looks pretty decent.

Brandon Combs — Arizona wins 31-28

I’m going against my midseason prediction and saying UA wins this one. To be honest, I’m not picking against the ‘Cats until they give me a reason.

I believe Arizona wants this more than USC and that will be the ultimate deciding factor.

Tate will want to redeem himself from last year and that will lead him to a solid night (like he hasn’t had anything but). The defense will get three or four turnovers and special teams will continue their momentum from last week.

Alec Sills-Trausch — USC wins 41-38

I think most of us have been pegging this as a loss for pretty much the entire season and I still don’t think Arizona will get over the hump.

However, I won’t be surprised in the least bit if we do pull it off. This team is playing the best ball we’ve seen in a long time and they can score from literally any place on the field. It’ll come down to how we defend USC’s rushing attack and how they defend ours. Plus, if Tate is able to be consistent throwing the ball early, this offense will be near impossible to stop. Get ready for a shootout.

Robby Leano — Arizona wins 48-42

Why stop picking against Arizona now? They've still yet to show signs of slowing down. Yes, the USC is a tougher opponent than any of their previous opponents. And the Coliseum is a tough place to play, but until Khalil Tate can be stopped (that being a sub 100-yard rushing game), I won't pick against Arizona.

Jason Bartel — USC wins 48-45

Honestly, I don’t even know what to expect anymore besides POINTS. Arizona’s last four weeks have been absurd, unprecedented, and I’m hoping that it continues, but I still can’t bring myself to pick a Wildcat win on the road against USC.