By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
LOS ANGELES Ä It was the envy of college football coaches across the country.
Arizona's Desert Swarm defense had plagued opposing offenses, stopping them in their tracks and giving the Wildcats something opponents feared.
That defense has hit hard times throughout the 1994 season, allowing big yardage against teams like Colorado State and Oregon State. But the UA defense allowed the one statistic to get out of hand that it couldn't Saturday Ä 45 points was too much.
Southern Cal managed to get 550 total yards on offense (434 passing and 116 rushing) in the Trojans' 45-28 win. Forty-five points was the most the Wildcats allowed since UCLA racked up 54 against them in 1991, before Desert Swarm was completely intact.
While Arizona's offense had resurfaced from a two-game daze, the Wildcats' defense couldn't hold off the Trojans when it had to for most of the second half.
It was bad enough for Arizona that its touchdowns were being answered. The Wildcats turned the ball over on a Dan White interception in the end zone and USC was able to maintain a 65-yard scoring drive and then a 98-yard touchdown drive on the Trojans' next possession.
"I haven't seen anybody Ä play in and play out, series in and series out Ä move the ball down the field on us like that," safety Tony Bouie said. "That's discouraging. You're still trying to figure out what the hell you're doing wrong."
USC quarterback Rob Johnson had few problems spotting his receivers.
What helped was his time in the pocket. Arizona's defensive front had trouble applying pressure and had just three sacks on the afternoon.
"It was hard getting to him on that three-step drop stuff, so it's frustrating," defensive end Tedy Bruschi said.
When Johnson did have to hurry passes he usually completed them, but the USC offensive line was keeping the Wildcats away. Time in the pocket enabled his receivers to find seams in the UA secondary.
"When we have trouble getting to the quarterback, it's hard for us," UA coach Dick Tomey said. "There are a lot of one-on-one's (coverage) out there."
Said Bouie: "It makes a big difference. We can't cover them forever. But you can't blame the D line. The secondary was making mistakes too."
The Desert Swarm moniker was laughed at in an L.A. newspaper yesterday which called it Desert Squirm and Desert Spam.
People seem to enjoy taking jabs at the Wildcats when they're down.
Maybe the nickname will be laid to rest some time in the near future. After all, nothing lasts forever.
But Arizona's defense probably will take out their aggression on Arizona State a week from Friday and the Wildcats' bowl opponent. The sight of USC moving down the field so quickly will be a painful memory for them.
"We just couldn't stop them," Tomey said. "We tried everything but there weren't any answers. The answer is players have to make plays and they didn't."
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