USC Football Returns Home To Host Arizona

Oct. 2, 2005

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After a pair of tough comeback road wins, top-ranked USC makes a brief return to the friendly Coliseum to face Arizona before hitting the road for 2 more contests. The Trojans hope to extend a number of winning streaks: a Pac-10 record 26 overall games, a school-record 22 home games and a league-record 15 Pac-10 home games, as well as 17 overall Pac-10 games. The Wildcats were the last team to beat a No. 1-ranked USC squad, pulling off a 3-point upset in Los Angeles in 1981. USC battled back from an 18-point halftime deficit to win at Arizona State last week, a week after rebounding from a 13-point first half deficit at Oregon. The Trojans' steamrolling offense, behind QB Matt Leinart, TBs Reggie Bush and LenDale White, WRs Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, TE Dominique Byrd and a veteran line, is in the nation's top 10 in every offensive statistical category (first in total offense, second in scoring offense, third in rushing offense and passing efficiency and tied for seventh in passing offense). Troy's total offense and scoring averages are approaching NCAA record levels. USC's defense, coordinated by head coach Pete Carroll and featuring the likes of S Darnell Bing, DEs Lawrence Jackson and Frostee Rucker, LBs Oscar Lua and Keith Rivers and CB Justin Wyatt, has improved immensely each week (it is nationally ranked in turnover margin and rushing defense and has allowed only 28 second-half points in 2005). Arizona is playing its third consecutive Top 12-ranked opponent this week. The Wildcats, shut out last Saturday at California, have struggled this year and have yet to beat a Division I-A team. Second-year head coach Mike Stoops' team is strong on defense (UA leads the Pac-10 in pass defense) and features the nation's punting leader in Danny Baugher. Some of Arizona's offensive stalwarts are QB Richard Kovalcheck, RB Mike Bell and WR/returner Syndric Steptoe. USC Festival 125, the all-university celebration of the school's 125th anniversary, will culminate at the game. It's also Trojan Parent's Weekend. The game will be shown live nationally on FSN cable.

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