Undefeated No. 9 USC Trojans will host the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday, October 7 for a Pac-12 matchup.
The game is scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. EST and will be broadcast on ESPN. Fans looking to watch this college football game can do so for free on FuboTV, which offers a free trial (as well as RedZone, for you NFL fans) or on DirecTV Stream, which also offers a free trial. SlingTV has promotional offers available, as well.
According to the AP, the ninth-ranked Southern California Trojans had to hold on in closer-than-expected road wins at Arizona State and Colorado the past two weeks, in part because of struggles running the ball in the second half to protect their lead. It’s a trend USC hopes to address hosting the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday. The Wildcats have shown a knack for fighting back from poor starts, although they came up short in a 31-24 loss to No. 7 Washington on Saturday.
Who: USC vs. Arizona
When: Saturday, October 7 at 10:30 p.m. EST
Where: LA Memorial Coliseum
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Southern California has what might be the best offense in college football, leading the FBS at 53.6 points per game and 8.89 yards per play.
But with chances to use their ground game to salt away wins in the second half each of the past two weeks, the No. 9 Trojans haven’t exactly been an offensive juggernaut, something they hope to remedy if given the chance hosting Arizona on Saturday.
“Just finishing,” USC running back MarShawn Lloyd said when asked what he took from the 48-41 win at Colorado last week. “Finishing things off. I feel like as a whole offense we can be better.”
USC (5-0, 3-0 Pac-12) went into the third quarter of that game with a 34-14 lead, but the offense managed 34 yards rushing on eight carries from that point on. Quarterback Caleb Williams had a 13-yard run early in the fourth quarter accounting for the lone first down on the ground after halftime.
Lloyd finished with 84 yards on the ground, including a thrilling 27-yard touchdown where he cut back across the field to open the scoring. The play was reminiscent of some of Reggie Bush’s most memorable scampers for USC 20 years earlier, and the South Carolina transfer was elated to see Bush recognize his run on social media.
As exciting as that play was, Lloyd wished he could have been more productive with the four carries he got in the second half, which went for 12 yards.
“If I want the ball more, I gotta make more plays,” Lloyd said.
The inability to burn clock and help protect an often shaky defense has been a recurring theme under coach Lincoln Riley, and Arizona (3-2, 1-1) might be able to exploit it.
The Wildcats have started out sluggishly in the first quarter in both of their losses, only to fight back before coming up short. That was certainly the case in pushing No. 7 Washington in a 31-24 loss.
In addition to getting more on offense in the opening 15 minutes, Arizona coach Jedd Fisch hopes his defense can come up with more early stops or takeaways to help out.
“We outscored Mississippi State 24-17 in the second, third and fourth quarter,” Fisch said. “We outscored Washington in the second, third and fourth quarter 24-17. … Defensively, we have to get off the field also so there’s more possessions. That all works together.”
Arizona QB Jayden de Laura did not play last week because of an ankle injury, but Fisch said the fourth-year junior would start against USC if healthy. Redshirt freshman Noah Fifita made his first career start against the Huskies, throwing for 232 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.
The Wildcats played a good amount of conservative defense last week intended to prevent explosive passing plays by Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. It mostly worked as Penix had three completions longer than 20 yards.
“I think we showed that we’re a solid defense,” Arizona defensive end Taylor Upshaw said. “I think we still have a lot of room to improve and we know that, but we can definitely compete with the best players.”
Williams is off to a better start than he had en route to winning the Heisman in 2022, throwing 21 touchdowns and rushing for three more against one interception. He shredded Arizona for 411 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-37 win last season.
POINTS A PLENTY
USC is the only FBS team to score at least 40 points in every game this season. If the streak continues this week, it would be the Trojans’ most prolific run since ending the 2003 regular season with seven straight games hitting the 40-point mark.
SAVE IT FOR LATER
USC added three prominent transfers from Arizona in the offseason in DT Kyon Barrs, CB Christian Roland-Wallace and WR Dorian Singer. Fisch expects limited social interactions between the trio and their former teammates.
“We don’t need to have a big family party out there,” Fisch said. “I think our job is to go there and have a good business-like attitude and play good football, and I’m sure coach Riley is telling his team the same thing. And then after the game they can FaceTime each other.”
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll
The Associated Press contributed to this article