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UA football: Arizona Wildcats' offense gets A's and B's following upset of No. 10 USC

2012-10-28T07:37:00Z 2012-10-28T22:56:25Z UA football: Arizona Wildcats' offense gets A's and B's following upset of No. 10 USCBy Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

ARIZONA’S REPORT CARD

FINAL SCORE: Arizona 39, No. 10 USC 36

Quarterback: A-. Matt Scott was sharp, completing 27 of 50 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns and running 15 times for 100 yards before being forced from the game with a concussion. That the Wildcats’ quarterback stayed in long enough to make the play of the game, a slant pass to David Richards that extended the Wildcats’ lead to 11 points with 5 minutes 36 seconds remaining, is a testament to his toughness. Backup B.J. Denker played the final drive. And while he didn’t attempt a single pass, Denker made a nice leaping catch of a high snap that appeared headed for disaster.

Running back: A-. Ka’Deem Carey continues to be Mr. Consistent. The Wildcats’ tailback ran 28 times for 119 yards, just below his season average of 120, and scored a touchdown against the Trojans; the sophomore also caught two passes for eight yards. Carey helped the UA gain a pair of first down late, when Scott was sidelined with the concussion. They were his most important carries of the game.

Wide receivers: B+. On a day when USC’s Marqise Lee posted one of the best single-game performances in Pac-12 history, Arizona’s Austin Hill was pretty good, too. The slot receiver caught 10 passes for a season-high 259 yards. Dan Buckner (7 catches, 57 yards, TD) was solid, again, and David Richards and Johnny Jackson both had touchdown catches.

Offensive line: A-. The front-five was stellar against a bigger, stronger USC defense, especially with the game on the line. With Denker in for Scott — and with everybody certain that the Wildcats were running the ball — the UA’s offensive line managed to clear the way for a pair of clock-killing first downs. The Wildcats ran for 219 yards behind the patchwork line; Scott wasn’t sacked once in his 51 pass attempts.

Front-six: B+. Linebacker Marquis Flowers registered seven tackles in his best performance of the year so far, intercepted two passes and forced a fumble. Fellow linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson and defensive end Reggie Gilbert both sacked Barkley, and an otherwise outmanned UA front was able to keep the conference’s most well-known quarterback on his toes. USC rushed for just 125 yards on 26 carries.

Back-five: C+. The Wildcats struggled all day to stop Lee, who finished with a conference-record 345 receiving yards on 16 catches and scored two touchdowns. Barkley threw for 493 yards, and USC finished with 618 yards of total offense. Still, Arizona was able to make one stop when it mattered most: Jared Tevis covered Lee on a deep pass attempt on the second-to-last play of the game, and Barkley overthrew them; Shaquile Richardson then batted down a Hail Mary pass on the game’s final play, and Arizona won it.

Special teams: C+. The Wildcats followed their best special teams performance of the season with one of the worst. John Bonano hit a pair of first-half field goals, but missed one on the final play before halftime — though, in fairness, he initially made it before a holding penalty forced the Wildcats to replay the down. And the UA allowed Lee, the game’s best player, to break a 72-yard kickoff return just when Arizona appeared the have the game in hand in the fourth quarter. But things weren’t all bad: Kyle Dugandzic’s 48-yard punt with 1 minute left cornered Lee, who had no choice but to step out of bounds, and the Trojans started their final drive at their own 13.

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