Arizona’s status as a top 10 team will last all of one week.
The Wildcats missed three field goals and a two-point conversion in a two-point loss – yeah, the math hurts there for Arizona fans – as USC survived a wild ending, 28-26.
The Trojans took a 28-13 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Arizona cut it to eight when Anu Solomon hit back-up running back Jared Baker for a 41-yard touchdown pass with 10:19 to go. Nine minutes later, Baker plunged in from one-yard out to pull Arizona within 28-26. On the ensuing two-point try, Solomon’s pass to Cayleb Jones sailed high, but the Wildcats were bailed out with what appeared to be a bogus pass interference call considering the pass sailed two feet above Jones’ outstretched arms. No matter, Arizona’s second chance was stuffed.
But the game did not end there. Jones recovered the onside kick and Arizona promptly marched to the USC 19 for the game-winning field goal try. Casey Skowron‘s kick was good… but USC called timeout. The second shot was wide right, dropping him to a painful 2-of-5 on the night.
Buck Allen carried USC for the entire night, rushing 26 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns while catching four passes for 28 yards. Cody Kessler completed 20-of-30 passes for 185 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Arizona never got its running game going to the level it did at Oregon, grinding out 77 yards on 29 carries. Baker replaced an injured Terris Jones-Grigsby by rushing 12 times for 43 yards and two touchdowns with four grabs for 50 yards and the aforementioned 41-yard score. Solomon threw a way-too-high 72 passes with 43 completions for 395 yards and a touchdown. That’s not a winning formula for Arizona.
The loss turns the Pac-12 South standings into rubik’s cube. USC, Utah, Arizona and Arizona State are tied for first with one-loss, while preseason favorite UCLA sits in fifth at 1-2. This one feels like the winner is determined by multiple tiebreakers after Thanksgiving weekend.
Arizona will take next week off before visiting Washington State on Oct. 25, while USC hosts Colorado on Saturday.