USC TROJANS (6-1)
at ARIZONA WILDCATS (4-3)
Kickoff: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. EDT
Line: USC -6.5, Total: 65.5
No. 9 USC tries to extend a four-game win streak when it visits Arizona on Saturday afternoon.
USC is 9-1 SU (5-5 ATS) in the past 10 meetings with Arizona, including five straight SU wins in Tucson. The Wildcats hung tough in L.A. last year, gaining 554 yards in a 48-41 loss. Trojans QB Matt Barkley was 32-of-39 for 468 yards and 4 TD in that game, and was even better last week versus Colorado (19-for-20, 298 yards, 6 TD) in a 50 to 6 victory. Arizona snapped a three-game losing skid last week with a 52-17 drubbing of Washington. Matt Scott has 1,150 passing yards and 10 TD over the past three games.
Can USC win comfortably on the road in Tucson? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.
Barkley is now firmly back in the Heisman discussion with 10 TD and just 1 INT in his past three games. Although he lit up Arizona last year, he didn't play very well in his lone visit to Tucson in 2010, completing 21-of-35 passes for just 170 yards (4.9 YPA), 1 TD and 1 INT. However, WR Robert Woods was also limited at Arizona in 2010 with just 41 receiving yards on eight catches. However, Woods burned the Wildcats for 14 catches, 255 yards and 2 TD last year, and is coming off his best game of 2012, grabbing eight passes for 132 yards and four touchdowns. Teammate Marqise Lee leads the Pac-12 and ranks in the top-10 nationally in both receptions (8.6 per game) and receiving yards (112 YPG). USC has not run the football very effectively on the road this year, gaining just 120 rushing YPG on 3.6 yards per carry. Leading ground gainer Silas Redd (583 rush yds, 6 TD) has yet to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back games, with a season-low 13 rushing yards (on just three carries) last week. Defensively, the Trojans have allowed just 301 total YPG with 14 forced turnovers during their four-game win streak. They also have the fifth-most sacks in the country (27) and are tied for 12th among all FBS teams with 7.7 Tackles For Loss per game. DE Morgan Breslin anchors the D-Line with seven sacks and 32 tackles this season.
Scott ranks fourth in the nation with 374 YPG of total offense, but he has thrown seven interceptions in his four Pac-12 games this year. He has never played against USC's relentless pass rush, but he knows that he has a ground game strong enough to keep the Trojans honest. Arizona rushed for 277 yards on 49 carries (5.7 YPC) in last week's demolition of Washington, including 172 yards on 5.9 YPC from Ka'Deem Carey. That was Carey's fifth 100-yard game this season, including three straight. He is also a weapon catching passes out of the backfield with 138 receiving yards in these past three games. Although the Wildcats' defense held Washington to 17 points and 370 yards last week, they have been among the worst teams in the nation in terms of total defense, allowing 465 total YPG (107th in FBS). They generate just 1.4 sacks per game, but have forced eight turnovers in the past four weeks.