A strong performance by running back Marc Tyler, coupled with effective defense in the second half, gave the USC Trojans a hard-fought, 24-21 win over the Arizona Wildcats at Tempe. It was the fifth consecutive win in Tucson for the Trojans, who have beaten Arizona in eight of their last nine games overall. Both teams are now 7-3, and tied for third place in the Pac-10 with a 4-3 conference record.
USC controlled the ball tonight for over 36 minutes, thanks mainly to Tyler, who rushed for a career-high 160 yards on 31 carries. Tyler had one rushing touchdown, and caught one pass for 16 yards. The game was especially impressive considering that running back Allen Bradford didn't play tonight, out with turf toe, so Tyler had to shoulder almost the entire load. Freshman Dillon Baxter carried three times for 13 yards, and caught two passes for 22 yards on the night.
Matt Barkley completed 21 of 35 passes for 169 yards on the night, most of the short variety as the Trojans were methodical all night. USC had six drives of eight plays or more, and gained 386 total yards on the night. Barkley threw for one touchdown and ran for another. He also threw an interception, but it was a pass tipped up in the air by tight end Rhett Ellison.
After allowing 242 yards to Arizona in the first half, USC allowed 161 yards in the second half, although 65 of those yards came on Arizona's final drive. The Wildcats trailed 24-14 with 1:56 remaining, but drove for a touchdown to pull within 24-20 with the extra point pending. USC blocked the extra-point attempt, and Shareece Wright returned the ball to the end zone for what would have been a 26-20 lead, but it was waived off for Wright lining up offsides on the play.
Arizona attempted an onside kick with 1:01 left, but it was recovered by USC, who ran out the clock to preserve their seventh win of the season. USC heads to Corvalis, Oregon next week to battle the Oregon State Beavers, who were upset today by Washington State, 31-14.
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