The University of Arizona

Cats Head Into Showdown With 10th-Ranked Trojans

By Arizona Athletics, October 24, 2012

Arizona (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) will host No. 10 USC (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) on Oct. 27 at Arizona Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ABC (or ESPN2, depending on region) beginning at 12:30 p.m. MST.

Quarterback Matt Scott takes a snap in last week's game against Washington. (Photos courtesy of Arizona Athletics
Quarterback Matt Scott takes a snap in last week's game against Washington. (Photos courtesy of Arizona Athletics
John Bonano kicks a field goal.
John Bonano kicks a field goal.
UA head coach Rich Rodriguez.
UA head coach Rich Rodriguez.

A top-25 team will visit Arizona Stadium for the third time this season for a rather unusual, but welcomed, lunchtime kickoff when Arizona faces USC on Oct. 27.

The preseason favorite in the Pac-12 South (USC) will bring conference title and even national title aspirations to the Old Pueblo against the home-standing Wildcats, who will commence a five-week stretch against intra-division foes after a four-game run against North Division foes.

This has been a highly competitive series in recent seasons with the last five contests all decided by a touchdown or less. Arizona will seek its first victory against the Trojans in Tucson since 1999.

A showcase of explosive offenses and a plethora of skill position stars on each side. Heisman hopeful Matt Barkley, who passed for a school-record 468 yards against the Cats in the Coliseum a year ago, faces a Wildcat defense that appeared reinvigorated against Washington following a bye week. Barkley's counterpart, Matt Scott, will face the Trojans for the first time in his career and hopes to continue a run of stellar play in his first full season as a starter.

Rising star Ka'Deem Carey (12 TDs, 1,080 all-purpose yards) has packed some punch in the run game for the Cats and gets another crack against the team he burst onto the scene against as a true freshman (three total TDs last year).

Each school boasts two of the top-nine receivers in the Pac-12, led by USC's Marqise Lee's conference-leading 784-yard, eight-touchdown season and the UA's Austin Hill's 678-yard, seven-score campaign.

Statistically, the Trojans possess an advantage on defense with the second-ranked scoring defense in the league. The Cats counter with the second-highest scoring offense and hope their opportunistic, bend-but-don't break defense can create some pressure the way it did against the Huskies.

Can the UA, which has improved its red zone scoring in recent weeks, move the ball and punch it in the end zone against a USC squad that ranks among top-10 nationally for fewest redzone scores allowed? USC seeks its 800th all-time victory, while Rich Rodriguez and Co. seek a signature conference win in the early stages of their program development.

Saturday's 12:30 p.m. kickoff will be an early one for patrons at Arizona Stadium accustomed to 7 p.m. or later starts at each of the first five home games in 2012. In fact, it will be the earliest start to a UA home game since also kicking off at 12:30 p.m. for an eventual 34-27 Homecoming victory against UCLA on Nov. 3, 2007.

Arizona Stadium has played host to some memorable afternoon games over the years, with the most notable being a 16-3 upset of then-No. 1 Washington on Nov. 7, 1992. That game kicked off at 1:30 p.m. local time, though on the ABC telecast that day it was in the same 3:30 p.m. ET slot (after the time change, which the state of Arizona does not observe) in which this week's UA-USC contest is set.

Up Next: Arizona will hit the road for just the third time this season when it takes on UCLA at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. on Nov. 3. Kickoff time has been set for 7:30 p.m. PT, and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks. Thereafter, the Wildcats return home for their annual Homecoming game against Colorado on Nov. 10. Kickoff time and television information is expected to be announced next Monday.