Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rare Defensive Showcase in Pac-10

Arizona vs. #3 USC

Neither the Wildcats nor Trojans could muster much on offense the entire night. In the end it was USC's defense that was difference maker in a 20-3 victory. They controlled the line of scrimmage the entire game. Using various blitz schemes, the Trojan D constantly pressured Arizona QB Willie Tuitama, sacking Tuitama five times and limiting him to 169 passing yards. The Wildcats ground game was even worse with -16 rushing yards.

The Arizona defense gave a commendable performance. CB Antoine Cason hounded All-American WR Dwayne Jarrett all over the field and had an interception. Jarrett did manage to snag a 3-yard touchdown catch early in the third quarter before leaving the game with a shoulder injury. It was Dwayne's 32rd career touchdown reception, which ties the conference record.

DE Louis Holmes was a big reason for Trojan QB John David Booty having a mediocre game. Booty finished with 180 yards and a pick. The Trojans were uncharacteristically turnover-prone. RB Emmanuel Moody, who had an otherwise stellar game with 130 rushing yards and a score, nearly had the ball stripped on multiple carries. Chauncey Washington lost a fumble during a run. Despite the two turnovers, Arizona could never capitalize. The offense sputtered the entire game, going 2 for 12 on third-down conversions.

Other Notes on the Game

* Stanley Havili went down with a broken fibula, adding to the toll of injured USC fullbacks. Brandon Hancock and Ryan Powdrell are already out for the season, and Havili is expected to miss a month.

Notes on Other Games

#1 Ohio State vs.#24 Penn State

The weather was the determining factor as the Buckeyes won 28-6 over the Nittany Lions. The soggy and outdated grass (the turf is being replaced in the next month) severely impacted the explosive OSU offense. The game was a lot closer than the final score, as the Buckeyes secondary returned two interceptions for touchdowns late in the fourth quarter. Both linebacking corps were stellar; James Laurinaitis, Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor have surreal talent and instincts. Joe Paterno ran across the field and into the locker room in the second quarter because of the flu. Troy Smith's Heisman hopes were slightly dented by throwing two interceptions.

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