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Arizona 21, USC 17 (final)

December 5, 2009 | 12:36 pm


It appears that USC will be home for Christmas.

The Trojans already knew they wouldn't be going to a major bowl for the first time since 2001, Coach Pete Carroll's first season.

Now they won't even be going to their choice of second-tier bowls.

The Trojans are expected to head to the Dec. 23 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego after Arizona handed them their fourth loss of the Pacific 10 Conference season, 21-17, today.

That's the most conference losses in a season USC has taken since 2000, the year Paul Hackett was fired as coach after the Trojans went 2-6 in Pac-10 play.

USC finished the regular season 8-4 overall, 5-4 in conference play. Arizona is 8-4, 6-3.

Arizona scored the game-winning touchdown with 3 minutes 14 seconds left in the game on a 36-yard pass play from Nick Foles to Juron Criner.

USC got the ball back at its own 20 but lost five yards in four plays. On fourth and 15 from the 15, USC quarterback Matt Barkley missed Damion Williams, who broke open over the middle for what might have been a long gain.

Williams broke from the left sideline on a post pattern over the middle, but Barkley threw it high and behind him.

Arizona then milked the clock, allowing USC the ball back at its own 21 with three seconds left. The Trojans tried another long pass, but Barkley couldn't get it off before he was sacked by Earl Mitchell and Sterling Lewis.

Barkley finished the regular season with 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions -- one of each today. He completed 20 of 37 for 144 yards against the Wildcats.

USC held an advantage of 138-82 in rushing yards, but Arizona quarterback Nick Foles passed for 239 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another.

Arizona 21, USC 17 (3:14 fourth quarter)

USC's first lead of the game didn't last long.

Three minutes and 59 seconds of game time to be exact.

That's how long it took for Arizona to drive 80 yards in 10 plays.

The last 36 yards were covered on a pass from Nick Foles to Juron Criner, who beat Josh Pinkard down the sideline, caught the ball at the 10, and spun into the end zone.

--Mike Hiserman

USC 17, Arizona 14 (late fourth quarter)

A 37-yard field oal by Jordan Congdon has given USC its first lead.

Joe McKnight went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season on the drive.

USC 14, Arizona 14 (end of third quarter)

The Trojans took advantage of good field position to tie the score on Allen Bradford's five-yard touchdown run with 1:46 left in the third quarter.

USC had an earlier opportunity when they got the ball at Arizona's 46, but the Trojans went three and out.

Arizona, however, did nothing with the ensuing possession and another short punt gave the Trojans the ball at their own 47.

USC drove 53 yards in seven plays for the tying touchdown.

Matt Barkley has completed 14 of 25 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown, with an interception. Bradford has rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown in 10 carries.

Arizona 14, USC 7 (halftime)

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has completed 15 of 23 passes for 153 yards and a touchdown, with one interception.

William "Bug" Wright has caught five passes for 66 yards and Delashaun Dean has five catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.

The Wildcats have outgained USC, 215-120.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley has completed seven of 16 passes for 57 yards and a touchdown, with an interception.

Fullback Stanley Havili has rushed for 32 yards in three carries and Joe McKnight has gained 16 yards in five carries.

Arizona 14, USC 7 (second quarter)

USC's offense finally got going, the Trojans driving 80 yards in 13 plays to tie the score, 7-7, with 12:25 left in the second quarter.

Matt Barkley's 16-yard touchdown pass to Ronald Johnson capped the drive, which featured two key carries by fullback Stanley Havili, who gained 26 yards.

But the Wildcats came right back with a 90-yard drive of their own.

Nick Foles' 26-yard pass to William Wright on a third-and-seven play from the Trojans' 40, and a 19-yard pass to Wright from the 21 set up Foles' one-yard sneak for a 14-7 lead.

-- Gary Klein

Arizona 7, USC 0 (end of first quarter)

Most impressive USC statistic of the first quarter: No penalties.

The Trojans tried a no-huddle offense on their second possession and got two first downs but couldn't score.

USC is starting the second quarter with the ball near midfield.

Arizona 7, USC 0 (8:49 first quarter)

One USC turnover, one Arizona touchdown.

The Wildcats cashed in Matt Barkley's 12th intercepted pass of the season when Nick Foles connected with Delshaun Dean on a four-yard scoring pass.

Arizona covered 37 yards in eight plays on the drive, the key play a fourth-and-five pass from Foles to Juron Criner for a first down.

USC 0, Arizona 0 (early first quarter)

USC's first offensive play was not a bomb to Damian Williams.

However, the Trojans' second play was a pass across the middle to Williams that went off his fingertips and was grabbed by Arizona cornerback Trevin Wade.

Wade's interception was the 12th thrown by USC quarterback Matt Barkley this season. Barkley also has 12 touchdown passes.

Big recruit visits Coliseum

A very large person was creating a very large buzz on the USC sideline before today's game.

Seantrel Henderson, an offensive lineman from Minnesota here on a recruiting trip was seated on the Trojans bench -- and still stood out.

Henderson, 6 feet 8 and 337 pounds, is the top-rated high school offensive tackle in the country, according to

Message about sportsmanship

A message played on the Coliseum big screen before the game drew some chuckles from cynical members of the media seated in the press box:

It was USC Coach Pete Carroll welcoming fans to the game and encouraging the USC faithful to show opponents the "class and style of USC football."

USC honors seniors (pregame)

The USC football team honored its 19 seniors before today's regular-season finale, a Pacific 10 Conference game against Arizona.

Among them were the players who comprise the entire Trojans secondary, cornerbacks Kevin Thomas and Josh Pinkard and safeties Taylor Mays and Will Harris.

USC's starting seniors on offense are tight end Anthony McCoy, tackle Charles Brown and guard Jeff Byers.

The seniors were introduced along with their parents. Prompting the biggest crowd response: Injured tailback Stafon Johnson.

-- Mike Hiserman

Photo: USC receiver Ronald Johnson makes a touchdown reception in front of Arizona's Devin Ross in the second quarter Saturday. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images