Captains prove worthy of their title
Arizona head coach Dick Tomey usually waits until late in the season before naming his captains for offense, defense and special teams.
But with the Wildcats staggering into their game with USC at 3-2, Tomey felt it was time to let the players vote.
Marcus Bell and DaShon Polk, the team's senior linebacking duo, were named defensive co-captains, while senior wide receiver Dennis Northcutt and senior quarterback Keith Smith shared it on offense. Northcutt was also named the special teams captain.
"The captains went out and played," Northcutt said after the 31-24 win. "They played great. Being a captain, it's an extra burden, it's not because you're a senior, if it was because you're a senior than all the seniors would be a captain. The team picks you for a reason."
Northcutt had 121 yards receiving and a touchdown against USC while also playing cornerback. Smith was 15 of 23 for 243 yards, the second highest total of his career, and he made the touchdown pass to Northcutt.
Bell led the way for the UA defense with nine tackles and an interception, while Polk had five tackles, three for a loss, including two sacks.
"I thought of myself as a leader," Bell said, although he wasn't happy with the way his season had been going up until Saturday. "I wasn't making the plays I should have been making. I guess I was like our team was, I wasn't consistent. I had to get back to fundamentals. That's what I did today, play as hard as I could and leave it all on the field."
The matchup between Bell and USC's Zeke Moreno was billed as a showdown between the two best linebackers in the Pacific 10 Conference.
They may have never actually been on the field at the same time, but Bell was the one who came away with the win and an award for his performance.
Bell was named Pac-10 defensive player of the week, the third time he's received the honor.
"I really don't think about those kind of awards," Bell said. "I think we all should have been player of the week."
Bell won the award last year for his 21-tackle game against Washington and for his game against Iowa (11 tackles, 2 sacks).
He is just the second UA player to earn a player of the week award this year, following senior wide receiver Dennis Northcutt, who earned the offensive player of the week award in UA's 35-31 win against Texas Christian on Sept. 4.