Arizona's offense is led by Matt Scott and Ka'Deem Carey, both of whom have been very impressive so far this season. Can they lead the Wildcats to an upset at home over the Trojans?
We did a Q&A with some of the guys over at Arizona Desert Swarm. Here are their answers to our questions.
1. Assess Rich Rodriguez job performance so far this season.
So far, we're under the impression that Rodriguez is making the most of what is a limited roster. Both offensive and defensive units appear worlds ahead of last year's team as far as being in the right position to make the right plays. The offense is more dynamic than it was at any point in the Nick Foles
and Juron Criner
era -- not their faults, really -- and a team that legitimately looked like a four-win team at the beginning of the year is already at that total. With the exception of the Oregon game, the Wildcats were in every outing thus far, so for that I think most Arizona fans are pleased.
2. As a first-time starter this year, what has been most impressive about Matt Scott this season and how he's managed to lead the team?
I think he's proven that he's a complete quarterback. Though still a bit raw and inexperienced, people always saw him as a dual-threat guy. His sophomore season, he actually won the starting job over Nick Foles and started a few games before Foles took over. He appeared in a few games two season ago when Foles got hurt and showed improvement in his quarterback skills, but this year he's proven that he's way more of a true quarterback than a Denard Robinson
(I would even argue he can do more than Braxton Miller
of Ohio State, but that's beside the point). The passing-to-rushing ratio this year I think shows how much faith Rodriguez has in Scott.
The last few games Rodriguez has taken a lot of weight off Scott's shoulders by giving the ball to Ka'Deem Carey
, but I think that will only help the Wildcats.
3. Ka'Deem Carey ranks fourth in rushing in the conference behind Johnathan Franklin, Kenjon Barner and Stepfan Taylor. How impressed are you with his play thus far?
Very. Carey is a Tucson product, and they don't often turn out to be superstars. This guy could very well be the best back in program history in a few years if he remains healthy. Really, you need to watch Carey to appreciate those statistics you're talking about. He just has a knack to make the right spin move, the correct cut, etc., to gain yardage.
The aforementioned use of Carey helping Matt Scott might have helped Scott, but it's probably more due to Carey showing that he needs closer to 30 touches a game than 20, simply because he's that good.
4. The Wildcats' defense shut down Keith Price and Washington in the second half last weekend. Prior to this, though, they had looked quite underwhelming. Is the Arizona defense better than advertised and are they capable of at least containing USC's high-powered offense, or is this just a mirage?
I actually thought Washington was finally going to break loose last week. Instead, their offensive woes continued, and I think holding them to 17 had to do with their own problems. That said, Arizona's defense won't do anything to hurt itself. The pass rush is still poor despite four sacks last week, so USC probably will have time for Barkley to sit in the pocket. The Trojans run game can potentially beat up a very small and depth-less defensive unit, too. The Wildcats, however, will be in the right positions to make plays, and they're a much better tackling team than last season (shouldn't have to talk about that, but it's true). I think USC will put up some points, but they're going to work for them.
5. Prediction on the game? Can Arizona pull off the upset at home?
I think there's too much on the line for USC to come out completely flat. Matt Barkley
is too good and too conscious of what will make or break a good season for the Trojans. However, I think Arizona will be able to keep pace with USC and playing in Tucson helps. Going with the recent trend in history, I think USC pulls out a close game. Call it 42-35 Trojans.
Be sure to check out their coverage leading up to the game.
Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on FOX.