Fresh off a bye week, Arizona Football (3-4, 1-3) returns to action facing a tough challenge as they welcome No. 10 USC (6-1, 4-1) for Homecoming.
Coming off their bye week, Arizona Football resumes Pac-12 play by returning to action against No. 10 USC.
Returning home for a marquee homecoming matchup against the Trojans, the Wildcats should have yet another difficult challenge on their hands as they take on a talented and skilled USC team.
Coming in, the Trojans are fresh off of a bye week as well, and should be focused as USC lost to Utah in a 43-42 barn burner just two weeks ago.
Entering as double-digit underdogs this week, luckily, nothing is ever guaranteed in college football, so perhaps the Wildcats can score the upset here; however, it is going to take one hell of an effort, and the Wildcats would have to have a lot of things go their way.
Getting to Know the details about Arizona Football’s opponent, the USC Trojans.
Team: USC Trojans
Conference: Pac-12 Conference
Current Record: 6–1 (4–1)
Head Coach: Lincoln Riley enters his first season as head coach of the Trojans where he is currently 6-1, and the Trojans sit atop the Pac-12 South standings.
But before moving from Norman to Southern California, Riley previously served as head coach at Oklahoma from 2017–21 where he compiled a 55–10 (37-7) record in five seasons with five bowl appearances. Overall, he is 61–11 (41–2) as a head coach in his career.
2021 Record: Finishing the 2021 season with a disappointing, 4–8 (3–6) record, the Trojans ended their year with a 24–14 loss to conference Cal.
Key Returners / Starters:
Fresh off of a disappointing, 4-8 finish in 2021, the Trojans have since replaced former head coach Clay Helton and brought in Riley. And given Riley’s connections, naturally, he brought with him former Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams, Oklahoma wide receiver Mario Williams, and former Pitt wideout Jordan Addison. Their additions have this group humming and are a big reason this team is currently 6-1.
Running a bit of an Air Raid offense that typically fits his personnel, Riley is considered by many to be one of the best offensive minds in college football, and as a result, the Trojans have one of the most electric offenses this season. Look no further than their 40.4 points per game and 475.3 yards per game average.
Led by Williams at quarterback, the former Oklahoma quarterback has been elite, passing for 1,971 yards and 19 touchdowns to just one interception on 147 of 230 attempts. And beyond his stellar arm, Williams also is an elusive runner as he is currently second on the team in rushing with 235 yards and three touchdowns on 61 attempts.
Spreading the field, Williams likes to get the ball in the hands of his offensive weapons which include running back Travis Dye and Austin Jones. He also has a bevy of talented receivers including Mario Williams, Addison, Tahj Washington, and Brenden Rice.
Behind Williams are Dye and Jones, and together, the two form a formidable backfield. And if the Trojans don’t beat Arizona over the top, look for them to get Dye and Jones going against Arizona’s struggling run defense.
Running more of a hybrid 3-4 defense, this is a defense intended for gap responsibility and gap integrity. Putting seven guys in the box, defensive coordinator Alex Grinch does vary some of his looks and may drop guys into coverage, shoot gaps, etc. Overall, this is a very fast and athletic defense.
This year, the defense has made a complete overhaul from 2021, and so far it has worked. Holding opponents to 381.6 yards per game, the Trojans are also allowing just 22.1 points per game.
Largely led by its playmakers, the Trojans get significant contributions from transfer linebackers Eric Gentry and Shane Lee. Together, the two lead the defense in tackles and are the presumptive leaders of this group.
Up front, the Trojans have tremendous size and talent, this is an aggressive group that is holding opponents to 150.6 yards rushing per game, and has a whopping 24.0 sacks through seven games.
Defensive linemen Tuli Tuipulotu, Solomon Byrd, Nick Figueroa, and Tyrone Taleni are a big reason for that, and they will challenge Arizona’s offensive line.
However, the secondary is where USC may excel the most. Surrendering just 231.0 yards passing and an average of 1.0 touchdowns per game, the Trojans are also holding opposing teams to a 62.8 completion percentage.
Led by defensive backs Max Williams, Mekhi Blackmon, Calen Bullock, and Jaylin Smith this is an active and talented group that could test Arizona’s talented receiving corps. They like to play aggressively and they do a great job of forcing turnovers. Jayden de Laura will have to make smart choices with the football if the Cats hope to be successful on offense.
Game information and details for Arizona Football:
When: Saturday, October 29th, 2022
Time: 4:00 PM MST
Watch: Pac-12 Network
Where: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ (50,782)
Overall Series Record: 37-8 USC. Having met several times in their collective history, this is a series that USC has dominated, winning the last nine straight including 18 of the last 20. Arizona’s last win against the Trojans came in 2012 when the Wildcats narrowly beat the Trojans 39-36 at home.
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: Last year in Los Angeles, the Wildcats battled and competed against the Trojans, but unfortunately, Arizona came up short, losing 41-34.
My Prediction: USC 48 Arizona 27 – Even though I think Arizona will compete, unfortunately, the Wildcats do not have the horses to keep up in this one. The Trojans’ offense is far too prolific and high-powered to be slowed down, especially given Arizona’s defensive struggles.
The offense will score some points, but the Wildcats come up way short in this one, falling to the Trojans for Homecoming.