After a devastating loss at home against Arizona State this past Saturday, USC now shifts their focus to this Saturday’s matchup in Tucson against the Arizona Wildcats.
We can expect a close game that will come down to the wire as the past seven meetings between the schools have been decided by seven points or less. Arizona has been one of the biggest surprises in the nation this year and after beating Oregon on the road last Thursday, Associated Press voters jumped them from unranked to No. 10.
Here are the top players to watch out for on Saturday from the Wildcats:
Quarterback Anu Solomon:
Arizona had an intriguing quarterback battle entering fall camp with USC transfer Jesse Scroggins eligible to play after sitting out the 2013 season. However, redshirt freshman Anu Solomon was named the Week One starter against UNLV and has shined as the signal caller for the Wildcats.
Solomon is used to being in the bright lights, compiling a 57-3 record with four state titles in high school at Las Vegas powerhouse Bishop Gorman HS. He is averaging 348 passing yards per game and has 14 touchdowns to four interceptions this season.
His highlight of the year came on September 20 when he threw for 520 yards and five touchdowns against Cal, including a dramatic Hail Mary pass to receiver Austin Hill as time expired to win the game.
Solomon isn’t the most mobile quarterback Rich Rodriguez has ever had, but can scramble if the pocket collapses. He is third on the team with 167 rushing yards. If USC’s defense doesn’t put pressure on Anu Solomon, he could have a big day on Saturday.
Running Back Nick Wilson:
When Ka'Deem Carey decided in mid-January to forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL Draft, Arizona suffered a big loss while the rest of the Pac-12 let out a huge sigh of relief. That sigh of relief has gone away and is now panic mode as true freshman running back Nick Wilson is already drawing comparisons to the former All-American.
Wilson is second in the Pac-12 in rushing yards behind USC running back Buck Allen and had an 85-yard touchdown run in the third quarter of the Wildcats' season-opener victory over UNLV. Wilson started off the season with three-straight 100-yard games including 174 and 171 in Week Two and Week Three against UTSA and Nevada.
In his first game against elite competition last week, Nick Wilson had 92 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns and added a reception for 31 yards and a score in Arizona’s 31-24 upset victory over Oregon. The 5’11" 199-pound back has elusive speed and has a knack for finding an open hole. Wilson could be a Heisman candidate in the next year or so.
Linebacker Scooby Wright III:
Scooby Wright III made national headlines last Thursday when he forced and recovered a fumble late in the game to seal Arizona’s victory over Oregon. But, if you have been watching Windsor, California native since he stepped foot on campus, you are accustomed to Wright making a big impact in every game.
As a freshman last year, Wright III finished the season with 83 tackles and had at least six tackles in 10 of the 13 games. He finished No. 2 in the Pac-12 tackle race among freshman in 2013 and also added 9.5 tackles for a loss. Through five games this season, Scooby leads the team with 58 tackles, eight tackles for a loss, and five sacks. One can bet that Wright will make a big play on Saturday.