Positives and Negatives: UA vs. USC

Matt Scott

Arizona was able to defeat USC for numerous reasons and fell behind early for others. Read on for a closer look at the positives and negatives in Arizona's victory.

Saturday afternoon's affair between Arizona and USC featured many twists and turns for the Wildcats, but in the end, the team showed a lot of guts in the winning effort.

There were moments during the game where Arizona looked like it had zero confidence left, but the team battled back and picked up a huge victory.

It was tough, especially due to the injuries endured by the Wildcats throughout the game. Arizona showed a lot of heart as a team and thrived down the stretch despite falling behind by 15 points late in the third quarter.

Several players stepped up and a few seemed to collectively put the team on their back. As usual, there were plenty of good and bad points to take away from the contest.

Positives

Heart: In the past, when the Wildcats fell behind by 15, there was little chance the team would make a comeback and it rarely actually happened.

After a stretch where UA was outscored 28-3, Arizona picked itself up and proceeded to score 26 straight points. The Wildcats could have easily let the game get away from them, but instead they fought back and put USC on the ropes before delivering the knockout blow late in the fourth quarter.

Matt Scott: 369 yards through the air and 100 on the ground proved to be one of Scott's best all-around efforts in college. His command of the offense was pristine and he really showed a lot of moxie with the way he ran the ball. USC had no way of stopping Scott and even took what appeared to be several cheap shots at the UA signal-caller.

Austin Hill: The receiver has emerged as one of the best receivers in the Pac-12. Many questioned who would pick up the slack after Juron Criner's departure to the NFL, but Hill has answered the call and then some.

Dan Buckner: Buckner was hounded by defensive backs all game, yet won every battle he could have realistically won. Scott obviously trusts Buckner to win those battles as he tends to throw to Buckner whether he is blanketed or not.

Offensive Line: The line did a solid job of protecting Scott and providing just enough space to allow Carey to run for positive yards. Scott was not sacked once and Arizona ran the ball efficiently throughout the game.

Ka'Deem Carey: Another day, another 100-yard game for Carey, who is now just 39 yards short of 1,000 with four games remaining. Carey was very methodical in his running approach against the Trojans, but it worked on a consistent basis.

Defensive playmaking: Despite giving up over 600 total yards, UA's defense forced four of USC's five turnovers and took the wind out of USC's offense each and every time.

Special teams: Two field goals, four punts inside the 20 and a nice kickoff return from Jenkins gives the Wildcats a nice output from their special teams. Not even a long kickoff return from Marqise Lee down the stretch can take away from the strong day the unit had.

Room for Improvement

Pass defense: When one receiver (Marqise Lee) picks up 345 yards, there is a problem with the coverage. The Wildcats were very fortunate to force turnovers because Lee could have won that game by himself.

Dropped passes: The only real shortcoming for the offense was a stretch where receivers appeared to be allergic to catching the ball. The receivers eventually corrected their problem, but it could have been much more problematic if drops continued to occur.

Penalties: Arizona was flagged 14 times for 129 yards. It was USC in the early going that seemed to be without focus as the Trojans committed bonehead penalties left and right. Arizona lost a little composure in the second quarter and eventually evened the penalty totals, allowing USC to get back in the game and take the lead.

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