Saturday, October 27, 2012
Instant analysis: Arizona 39, USC 36
By Ted Miller
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona notched a huge upset over No. 9 USC, winning 39-36. Here are some initial thoughts.
It was over when: USC quarterback Matt Barkley's Hail Mary pass was knocked down in the end zone and the clock struck zero.
Game ball goes to: Arizona. Just a gritty, tough effort. Scored 26 consecutive points in a 15-minute span of the second half to take down the Trojans. The offense wore down USC, while the defense had just enough for the Wildcats to win.
Stat of the game: 1,206. That's the total yards in the game. USC had 618.
Stat of the game II: 5. Number of USC turnovers, including two interceptions from Barkley.
Unsung hero of the game: Well ... he'll be pretty "sung," but he doesn't get the game ball. In a losing effort, USC's Marqise Lee turned in perhaps the greatest performance by a receiver in Pac-12 history -- the greatest if you judge by receiving yards. He set a new Pac-12 record with 16 catches for 345 yards. He also had a 72-yard kickoff return.
Best call: On third-and-22 from the Arizona 16, Wildcats quarterback Matt Scott threw a 60-yard pass to Austin Hill. It set up Arizona's go-ahead score.
Second-guessing: On fourth-and-2 from the Arizona 29-yard line, USC called a reverse to Lee.
What USC learned, what Arizona learned: USC learned that its national title hopes are over. It will be interesting to see how the Trojans react next week when Oregon comes to visit. And thereafter. Arizona learned that it has advanced much faster than just about anyone thought possible under new coach Rick Rodriguez. This team is banged up, but it plays with resolve. At 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the Pac-12, it might still end up having a say in the South Division.
What it means: It means the game we all fingered in the preseason as the Pac-12 game of the year -- perhaps the national game of the year -- won't be nearly as epic. It will be meaningful, of course, for Oregon, which is still in the national title hunt, but USC's loss also takes some starch out of the Ducks, who need quality wins to bolster their BCS standing.