There will be a shootout this Saturday in Arizona Stadium, there is no question about that. The only question is how many shots will each side have the chance to take. Against #9 USC, Arizona will need to fire all their rounds to compete with the Trojans skill set. Even though this game does not depend on the previous weeks statistics, it can give us a good measuring point for what these teams can/will do against each other.
It is safe to say Arizona is one of the best offensive teams in the country this year. UA, fifth in the country, is averaging just under 550 yards/game. USC on the other hand is 47th in the country, average just over 420 yards/game. Both teams have more passing yards than rushing yards. Arizona has a 1.79:1 passing to rushing ratio, while USC has a 1.65:1.
Even with such a discrepancy in total yards, the average between these two teams is just four points per game. Arizona sits at 20th nationally with 39 points per game, while USC places 33rd with 35 a game.
Also, expect a lot of first downs from Arizona, as they are third in the country with 218 this season. UA is converting 46 percent of third down plays and 50 percent of fourth downs. USC on the other hand is not as accomplished in this area, ranking 86th with only 141 first downs. The Trojans are converting third down plays at rate of only 30 percent, but picks it up with 52 percent on fourth down plays.
Just as Team Offense swung Arizona’s way, Team Defense swings back to Southern California. USC is 18th in the country, giving up only 16.7 points per game. That is nearly half what UA gives up, which is 30.4. On top of that, USC pressures the quarterback, placing fifth in sacks with 27. Arizona on the other hand does not fair so well, only accumulating 10 sacks for 96th in the nation.
Due to the increased pressure, USC has 14 interceptions this season, while UA has just half of that. This game will come down to who has enough in the tank to get a stop, a sack, or force a turnover. When that happens, the momentum meter will shift dramatically and could be the reason one team walks out victorious.
“Pac-12 kicker support group.”
The kickers in the Pac-12 are arguably the worst in the entire country. Just for measure, the most accurate school in the Pac-12 is Washington State, making 10/13 kicks (77%) and is 45th in the nation.
USC is 69th in the country, making 6/9 for 67%. If you keep scrolling to near the bottom, one would finally find Arizona at 96th. The Wildcats are 7/12 for a measly 58.3 percent. On a higher note, Arizona has not missed an extra point this season, going 33/33.
By knowing the kicking stats, you can figure this will ironically come down to a game winning field goal.
This game will be entertaining, thrilling, exciting, whatever word you want to throw out there. This will also be a chance to show a national audience that Arizona is not as bad as the 49-0 thrashing they took against Oregon a few weeks back.
For USC, this is a classic ‘trap game’ as they face Oregon next week. If the Trojans, just for a second, overlook Arizona, they are in for a rude wake up call.
Game Time: 12:30 Tucson Time
TV: ABC for those who are not int the Midwest, ESPN2 for those in the Midwest
Radio: 1290 in Tucson
Topics: Arizona Wildcats