The set-up: Arizona arrived at the Coliseum with a 1-3 record after playing three top-10 teams in consecutive weeks. The Wildcats hoped to turn their season around against a USC team that was coming off of a dismal performance at Arizona State.
The story: Following an unsuccessful opening drive for the Wildcats, the Trojans capitalized early in the first quarter with an 82-yard pass from Matt Barkley to Robert Woods. The Trojans also added a 46-yard field goal by freshmen kicker Andre Heidari. USC rounded out the first quarter with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Barkley to Marqise Lee to give the Trojans a 17-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Wildcats answered back from USC’s early offensive production with a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Nick Foles to fullback Taimi Tutogi early in the second quarter. USC followed with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Xavier Grimble. After a 6 play drive, Arizona scored on a 27 yard touchdown pass to Ka’Deem Carey but USC blocked Wildcat kicker Alex Zendejas’s extra point. USC closed out the half with a 31 yard field goal by Andre Heidari. USC led Arizona 27-12.
USC opened the third quarter with a 28 yard touchdown from Matt Barkley to Robert Woods. Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey rushed for a one yard touchdown closing the Trojan lead to 14 following a completed two point conversion. With less than five minutes left in the third quarter, Barkley threw his first inception of the game, which set the Wildcats up for another touchdown by Ka’Deem Carey. Carey rushed for 16 yards and Arizona trailed by 7 at the completion of the third quarter.
The Trojans completed a successful series with a one yard rushing touchdown by Barkley giving the Trojans a 41-27 lead. Nick Foles led the Wildcats on 85 yard drive ending with 12 yard touchdown pass to Juron Criner. USC tailback Curtis McNeal rushed for nine yards following a 79 yard series for the Trojans. Arizona attempted to stage a comeback against USC thus answering USC’s touchdown with a 6 play, 53 yard series resulting in 4 yard touchdown pass to Austin Hill. The Wildcats pulled within one touchdown in the final minutes, but USC recovered Arizona’s onside kick attempt and sealed the 48-41 victory.
Ice cream for the defense: Before the Arizona State game, Lane Kiffin promised the defense ice cream if they forced turnovers. Arizona quarterback Nick Foles entered the game with 10 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, but that quickly changed in the first quarter. Junior safety T.J. McDonald intercepted Foles twice in the first period. Following the first turnover, McDonald ran over to Lane Kiffin and tried to hand him the ball.
Another one for the record books: Junior quarterback Matt Barkley set a school passing record and led the Trojans to a 48-41 victory over the Arizona Wildcats Saturday. Barkley threw for 468 yards and four touchdowns on 32 completions in 39 attempts. Former USC quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner, Carson Palmer, previously held the single game passing record with his performance against Oregon in 2002.
Sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods nearly broke records himself. He notched 14 receptions for 255 yards. Woods was five yards shy of breaking the record for all-time receptions in a single game.
Up Next: USC will head into the bye week with an overall record of 4-1 (2-1 conference). The Trojans will then face the Cal Bears on Thursday Oct. 13 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.