Trojans Upset the Wildcats in a Classic Desert Clash

By John Adams
|  Monday, Nov 15, 2010  |  Updated 6:35 AM PDT
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HONOLULU - SEPTEMBER 02: Marc Tyler #26 of the University of Southern California Trojans carries the ball during first half action against the University of Hawaii Warriors at Aloha Stadium September 2, 2010 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

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The Trojans pulled off the upset of #18 Arizona, 24-21, on the legs of Marc Tyler, behind the accurate passing of Matt Barkley and thanks to some costly mistakes by the Wildcat offense.

USC took advantage of the Arizona's early miscues including a missed field goal and a fumble inside the Arizona 25-yard line. The Trojans scored touchdowns off the Wildcat turnovers and led 14-0 at the conclusion of the first quarter.

The Trojans held the lead for the rest of the game and won in convincing fashion.

 

WITH THE WIN COMES REALITY:

Lane Kiffin is a great play caller – Granted, it helps having the offensive weapons that the Trojans have but Kiffin is pushing all the right buttons. His timely draw plays, screens, play action and rollouts kept the Wildcat defense off-balance all night long. The fake field goal was timely, designed perfectly and executed flawlessly.

The Trojans' offense has so much pressure to be perfect – The defense gave up 404 total yards even though the Wildcat offense only had the ball for 22:33. USC gave up 19 plays of more than 10 yards. If you have no confidence that your defense can stop an opposing team, then you have to be overly aggressive in your play calling. Also, the score doesn't matter because no lead is safe when your defense consistently gives up the big plays. In the end, your offense has to score all the time and can't turn the ball over.

Alan Bradford is officially in Kiffin's doghouse – At the beginning of the week, Kiffin said that Bradford wasn't in his doghouse. Well, Bradford didn't sniff the field on Saturday, as Kiffin sent a message about the importance of ball security. And, it is safe to say, Bradford is totally in Kiffin's doghouse.

The Trojans must redefine success over the next five seasons – In the past, the Trojans' measured success by no more than two losses per year, Pac-10 championships, BCS Bowls and National Championships. Those days are over for now. USC must redefine success for the next five seasons as: no more than five losses per year, regular Bowl games every year, and an occasional visit to the Pac-10 Championship Game (a weak division will make this possible for the Trojans).

BY THE NUMBERS:

GAME STATS
 

USC
TROJANS

ARIZONA
WILDCATS

SCORE  24  21
RUSHING YARDS  205  51
PASSING YARDS  177  353
TOTAL YARDS  382  404
PENALTIES 8-60  6-40
TURNOVERS  1  2
TIME OF POSSESSION  37:27 22:33

PLAY OF THE GAME:

On 3rd and 12 with 3:02 remaining in the game, Lane Kiffin went conservative and called for a sweep to Tyler. On the quick snap, Tyler darted down the sideline and gained 10 yards making it 4th and 2 on the Arizona 15-yard line. Instead of taking the points on a 32-yard field goal, Kiffin went for it. The Trojans didn't convert the fourth down, but Kiffin made it clear that he doesn't trust his kicker or his defense and he won't play it safe.

WE DON’T DO GAME BALLS:

Instead, we do a “Tan NBC Peacock That’s Sporting Shades” because this is LA, baby!

Marc Tyler was the difference in the game on Saturday as he tallied 160 yards on 31 carries. Tyler average more than five yards a carry and scored one touchdown. The Wildcats had no answer for Tyler as he continued to run harder as the game went on, controlling the time of possession and keeping the Trojans' defense on the sideline. Most importantly, Tyler didn't put the ball on the turf despite all the carries.

NEXT GAME:

USC Trojans (7-3, 4-3 Pac-10) vs. Oregon State Beavers (4-5, 3-3 Pac-10)

MY PREDICTIONS

MY RECORD FOR PREDICTIONS: 8-2

RESULTS GAME DETAILS MY PREDICTIONS

@ HAWAII
USC 49 - Hawaii 36

The Trojans win with an offensive explosion.

Trojans 42 - Warriors 28

vs. Virginia
USC 17 - Virginia 14

Virginia keeps it close at half but second half is all Trojans.

Trojans 34 - Cavaliers 17

@ Minnesota
USC 32 - Minnesota 21

Minnesota scores first and then the Trojans roll.

Trojans 42 - Gophers 13

@ Washington State
USC 50 - Washington St. 16

Trojans put on an offensive and defensive clinic.

Trojans 54 - Cougars 6

vs. Washington
USC 31 - Washington 32

USC will pulled away from the Huskies in the 2nd half.

Trojans 42 - Huskies 24

@ Stanford
USC 35 - Stanford 37

Stanford take advantage of a weak Trojan Defense.

Trojans 24 - Cardinal 48

vs. Cal
USC 48 - Cal 14

Cal takes the guessing out of the end of this game.

Trojans 17 - Bears 27

vs. Oregon
USC 32 - Oregon 53

Oregon's high powered offense spoils homecoming.

Trojans 45 - Ducks 52

vs. Arizona State
USC 34 - Arizona St. 33

A back-and-forth affair but USC survives.
Trojans 32 - Sun Devils 28

@ Arizona
USC 24 - Cal 21

The Trojans will make it 5 straight in Tucson.

Trojans 38 - Wildcats 24

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