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Trojans' national title hopes slip away in desert

Despite a record-breaking day for Marqise Lee, No. 9 Trojans are knocked off by Arizona.

Following USC's win over Colorado last week, USC head coach Lane Kiffin said he thought his team hit "rock bottom" in regards to the penalties they continued to mount.

 

Following, Saturday's visit to the desert, he may want to rethink that.


It started bad and ended worse for No. 9 USC (6-2, 4-2 Pac-12 South) in their 39-36 loss at Arizona (5-3, 2-32) allowing their national title dreams to slip away in the desert.

 

USC began the game with a five penalty first quarter that amounted to 54 yards. Their five penalties in the opening quarter, equaled their amount of turnovers in the game.

 

Despite that, USC still was able to take a 21-13 lead into the locker room at halftime.

 

However, just like penalties have plagued them this season, so has the third quarter.

 

The USC offense had two three-and-outs and fumble in the third quarter as they saw their 15-point lead fall to just two after a Matt Scott nine-yard touchdown pass to Dan Buckner cutting the Wildcats deficit to 28-26 with 1:42 left in the quarter.

 

As the fourth quarter started, the Trojans had yet another drive into Arizona territory come up null and void with a turnover on downs. On 4th and two at the Wildcats 29-yard line, Kiffin elected to run a reverse. Marqise Lee tried to get around the edge but came up short, picking up just one yard.


That stop of Lee was the only time all afternoon the Arizona defense could claim such a feat. Lee was remarkable in Tucson but his record setting day went for naught.

 

The sophomore wide receiver put on a performance unlike anything the Pac-12 conference had ever seen. He set a new career high with 255 receiving yards in the first half to go along with 12 receptions and a touchdown.


He finished the game with a career-high 16 receptions for a school and conference record 345 yards, and two touchdowns.

 

The 16 receptions was one shy of the USC single game record set by Robert Woods last season. He was 60 yards shy of the all-time NCAA single game record for receiving yards.

 

While Arizona wide receiver Austin Hill wasn't as good as Lee, he was dynamic in his own right finishing with 10 catches for 259 yards. Hill prepped at Corona Roosevelt.

 

Fellow Corona area product, Corona Centennial alum, quarterback Scott carved the Trojans for 469 total yards and four total touchdowns, including 100 yards on the ground. He left the game with a reported concussion in the fourth quarter.

 

Once all was said and done, penalties and turnovers doomed the Trojans. They finished with 13 penalties for 117 yards.