Arizona hopes for different L.A. story

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 11, 1996

Katherine K. Gardiner
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Arizona will need the help of senior receiver Richard Dice (17) if it is to beat Southern Cal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum tomorrow.


Arizona's task: to go into Los Angeles and beat a Southern Cal team that was embarrassed last week by California, 22-15.

The Wildcats also have to beat history, which is decidedly stacked in the Trojans' favor - they have won 18 of the 22 meetings between the schools.

A little anxiety perhaps?

"We're excited about it," UA head coach Dick Tomey said. "I can't wait to get there."

Very well then, let the game begin.

The Wildcats are 3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference after their 34-26 win over Washington State. Now they are hungry to keep themselves on a roll, but the next speed bump is USC.

The two teams meet tomorrow at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ABC will televise the game, and KNST (AM 790) will broadcast it.

The game, as it seems almost every week, will give the winner a leg up in the race to catch conference co-leaders No. 4 Arizona State and No. 22 California.

A loss will likely give Arizona, already considered a Rose Bowl long-shot, almost no chance of going to Pasadena. The same could be said for the Trojans, although USC's Rose Bowl chances were considered better before the season began. Southern Cal fell to 3-2 and 1-1 in the conference after it was stunned last week by the Golden Bears.

"This is a big game for us," Tomey said. "They're all going to be that way."

The Trojans started the season as the seventh-ranked team in the country, but a season-opening loss to Penn State and the Cal loss have knocked the Trojans out of the national rankings.

Still, Arizona freshman quarterback Keith Smith, who went to high school at Newbury Park near Los Angeles, said no matter what the circumstances, USC is still USC.

"We have to be ready," Smith said. "It's going to be something."

Tomey said when you look past the colors, the band and "the song," the Trojans are just another college football team.

"They're a lot like every other team," Tomey said.

"They do some things good and other things they don't."

That outlook not withstanding, Tomey still prepared his team for battle by blaring "the song" - also known as "Conquest," the tune the Trojan marching band plays almost constantly - during his team's practices.

Last year, the fifth-ranked Trojans steamrolled the Wildcats 31-10 at Arizona Stadium on their way to a Rose Bowl appearance, where they beat Northwestern.

The Wildcats are looking to take advantage of Southern Cal's relative inexperience on offense.

The Trojans are led by senior quarterback Brad Otton, but the offensive line includes USC's first freshman starter in over a decade.

That should bode well for Arizona's much-maligned pass rush. Tomey has been critical in recent weeks of his team's inability to get to the quarterback.

"We're excited about playing these guys," Tomey said. "I think we have a good chance to win."