By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, October 9, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Despite an unexpected
push that lasted three-and-a-half
quarters, the Arizona football team
fell 42-21 against No. 1 Southern
California yesterday at Memorial
Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said
his team showed plenty of positives
against a USC squad that "has no
The afternoon looked like it would
be a bleak one for the Wildcats
After Arizona (1-4, 0-2 Pacific 10
Conference) went three-and-out on
its opening possession, the Trojans
drove 96 yards on 13 plays,
culminating with a one-yard LenDale
White touchdown run.
USC (5-0, 3-0 Pac-10) went on the
offensive a second time after a
second consecutive 54-yard Danny
Baugher punt, only to have Wildcat
senior safety Darrell Brooks force a
fumble from Trojan tailback Desmond
Reed near midfield.
Brooks' tackle help Arizona get on
the board with 12 seconds remaining
in the first period.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback
Richard Kovalcheck connected with
freshman wideout Michael Thomas for
38 yards, setting up a four-yard
touchdown strike from Kovalcheck to
junior tight end Brad Wood.
Wood remained Arizona's top scoring
receiver, hauling in his fifth
touchdown, and finished with four
catches for 59 yards.
"They're a very physical team, but
we thought we could compete with
them," Brooks said. "Playing the No.
1 team in the nation, this is the
biggest stage there is."
USC senior quarterback Matt Leinart
broke a second-quarter stalemate
with just over a minute left in the
first half, connecting with receiver
Dwayne Jarrett on a 22-yard
touchdown pass to put the Trojans
Shortly after White scored his
second touchdown in the third
quarter, senior defensive end
Copeland Bryan picked up where he
left off from last weekend's
three-sack performance at Cal,
taking down Leinart for a four-yard
loss en route to USC's first
three-and-out of the game.
The Arizona offense capitalized,
with Kovalcheck completing three
consecutive passes, the final a
season-best 42-yard connection to
Thomas that brought the Wildcats
within a touchdown, 21-14.
"We got some things going
offensively. That was very positive
to see," Stoops said. "I thought we
executed some things against a very
Leinart answered moments later when
receiver Steve Smith beat Arizona
cornerback Wilrey Fontenot downfield
for a 56-yard gain. The play set up
a third White touchdown, who went
two yards to the end zone four plays
Junior receiver Syndric Steptoe
answered with a career-best 76-yard
kickoff return to bring the Wildcats
to the USC 22, and Kovalcheck capped
the ensuing drive with a one-yard
touchdown toss to a falling Gilbert
Steptoe finished the day with 159
yards on five returns.
"Our special teams have been solid
all year," Stoops said. "Step did
some great things returning the
Baugher, the nation's top punter
with a 49.1-yard average entering
yesterday's game, booted four punts
within the USC 20-yard line and
finished with a net average of 46
yards per punt.
Leinart put the Trojans ahead 35-21
on the first possession of the
fourth quarter with a 29-yard
touchdown pass to Jarrett,
completing an eight-play, 80-yard
Arizona sophomore linebacker Dane
Krogstad went down during the
possession and was taken off the
field. His condition was unknown as
of press time.
Trailing by two touchdowns, the
Wildcats engineered another drive
into the red zone, courtesy of
Kovalcheck's 43 passing yards and a
17-yard Mike Bell run.
But on fourth-and-two on the
Southern California six-yard-line,
Kovalcheck fired a pass to Wood that
was deflected and intercepted by
Trojan safety Ryan Ting.
On the subsequent drive, White, who
finished with 179 yards on 24
carries, complemented a 65-yard Bush
run with his fourth score of the
afternoon, placing the final stamp
on Arizona's upset hopes.