Trojans get victory over Wildcats

The Trojans got their 3rd win of the season by beating Arizona 41-34 Saturday night in Tucson.

AP Sports Writer

TUCSON, Ariz. - Kris Richard returned an interception 62 yards for a tie-breaking touchdown, and Southern California broke its fourth-quarter jinx by beating Arizona 41-34 Saturday night.

The Trojans, playing without tailback Sultan McCullough for the second straight game, overcame their habit of losing late when Richard repeated the feat of Kevin Arbet, who scored on a 70-yard interception in the second quarter.

Richard stepped in front of a pass by Jason Johnson and raced along the sideline to score untouched with 1:50 remaining.

On Arizona's next series, Lonnie Ford and Shaun Cody sacked Johnson on third and fourth downs to seal the win.

Carson Palmer passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns, but the Trojans still needed the big defensive plays to keep alive their slim hope of becoming bowl-eligible.

The Trojans (3-5, 2-3 Pac-10), who still need to beat Oregon State, California and UCLA to avoid missing out on their third straight bowl season, scored 28 points in the second quarter after Arbet got them going.

Palmer's scoring strikes went to his tight ends - 1 yard to Alex Holmes and 17 yards to Kori Dickerson. Sunny Byrd scored on a 1-yard run and David Davis kicked field goals of 32 and 47 yards.

Arizona's Michael Jolivette scored on a 60-yard interception return, and Johnson threw a 24-yard scoring pass to Brandon Marshall and scored on a 9-yard run.

Clarence Farmer ran 22 yards for Arizona's other TD, and Sean Keel kicked 24- and 46-yard field goals for the Wildcats (3-5, 0-5), who dropped their 10th Pac-10 game in a row.

The Wildcats hadn't beaten a conference foe since a 53-47, triple overtime win over Washington State on Oct. 14, 2000.

The Trojans, who blew a 13-3 second-quarter lead in a 27-16 loss at Notre Dame last week and lost four games in a row by a total of 14 points before beating Arizona State two weeks ago, led 31-13 at halftime this time.

But Anthony Thomas got Arizona's first sack to end an USC possession midway through the third quarter, and Bobby Wade returned the punt 16 yards to give the Wildcats a short field on the USC 26.

Farmer scored on the second snap.

Johnson's throw to Marshall cut USC's lead to 31-27 with 3:47 left in the third, and Johnson tied it at 34 with his 9-yard scramble with 7:05 left in the fourth.

The game had a pattern early on - an Arizona score, and USC's answer in the same style, field goal for field goal and interception return for interception return.

But after Arbet scored on a 70-yard sideline sprint to paydirt 1:35 into the second quarter, the momentum shifted.

The Trojans defense stepped up the pressure, and Johnson's next pass was batted and dropped into Omar Nazel's hands. He ran 11 yards with the interception, setting up Palmer's short throw to Holmes in the end zone that gave USC its first lead, 17-10, with 11 minutes left in the quarter.

Southern Cal   3 28  0 10-41
Arizona       10  3 14  7-34

First Quarter

Ari-FG Keel 24, 11:27.

USC-FG Davis 32, 4:34.

Ari-Jolivette 6x interception return (Keel kick), 1:35.

Second Quarter

USC-Arbet 70 interception return (Davis kick), 13:35.

USC-Holmes 1 pass from Palmer (Davis kick), 11:00.

USC-Byrd 1 run (Davis kick), 5:43.

USC-Dickerson 17 pass from Palmer (Davis kick), :32.

Ari-FG Keel 46, :00.

Third Quarter

Ari-Farmer 22 run (Keel kick), 7:43.

Ari-Marshall 24 pass from Johnson (Keel kick), 3:47.

Fourth Quarter

USC-FG Davis 47, 10:46.

Ari-J. Johnson 9 run (Keel kick), 7:05.

USC-Richard 62 interception return (Davis kick), 1:50.


                    USC  Ari
First downs            18      20
Rushes-yards       30-64   34-101
Passing               248     311
Comp-Att-Int      24-49-2 23-43-4
Return Yards          217     156
Punts-Avg.          8-39     7-40
Fumbles-Lost          0-0     3-0
Penalties-Yards     4-21     7-55
Time of Possession  29:34   30:26


RUSHING-USC, Byrd 22-67, Palmer 5-1, Cassel 1-(minus 2), team 2-(minus 2). Arizona, Farmer 17-78, Wade 1-17, Mills 3-9, Fulcher 2-4, Cox 1-2, J.Johnson 10-(minus 9).

PASSING-USC, Palmer 24-49-2-248. Arizona, J.Johnson 23-43-4-311.

RECEIVING-USC, Kelly 5-64, Colbert 4-51, Landrigan 3-34, Dickerson 3-24, Pitts 3-20, Holmes 3-14, Byrd 1-21, Hale 1-15, Pierson 1-5. Arizona, Wade 8-84, Thurman 4-96, Marshall 4-80, Leonard 4-41, Hugo 1-5, Hansen 1-5, Fulcher 1-0. Top Stories