His team trailing by 15 points in the third quarter, Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez urged his players to show a little life. Even after the Wildcats scored, they – and much of the stadium – remained quiet.
Matt Scott woke them up.
Scott didn’t get a chance to play in Arizona’s shootout loss to Southern California last year, but sure put his imprint on the rematch, accounting for 469 total yards and four touchdowns in the Wildcats’ 39-36 upset of the 10th-ranked Trojans on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.
“I’ve said this before: Matt Scott’s a stud,” Rodriguez said. “He’s phenomenal. He’s a competitor.”
The Wildcats (5-3 overall, 2-3 Pacific-12 Conference) had come up short in close games during their first season under Rodriguez and appeared to be headed toward another disappointment as USC receiver Marqise Lee raced past them into the Pac-12 record book.
Scott wouldn’t let Arizona come up short again.
The fifth-year senior ran for 100 yards and got Arizona’s comeback started with a 10-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. He threw for 369 yards, 259 of them on 10 catches by Austin Hill, and finished 27-for-50 passing.
Scott capped his day with his third touchdown pass, a 7-yarder to David Richards that put Arizona up 39-28 with just over five minutes remaining. He was wobbly and unable to play on Arizona’s final possession after taking a hard hit, but had already done enough to give the Wildcats their biggest win under Rodriguez.
“Matt is a warrior,” Hill said.
Marqise Lee had a huge day for USC (6-2, 4-2), eclipsing the Pac-12 record for receiving yards by halftime. He finished with 16 catches for 345 yards and two touchdowns, ending up with 469 all-purpose yards after a couple of big kick returns.
Matt Barkley put up big numbers, too, matching Carson Palmer’s school record for 400-yard games with his third, throwing for 493 yards and three touchdowns on 31-of-49 accuracy.
USC finished with 618 total yards and pulled within three on Silas Redd’s 10-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t overcome five turnovers – two on interceptions tossed by Barkley – and 13 penalties for 117 yards.
The Trojans’ last shot ended when Barkley’s heave on the final play was swatted down.
“It was a very discouraging loss,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “It wasn’t about effort – I thought our players had great effort. We made a lot of mistakes and weren’t able to catch up.”
UCLA 45, at Arizona State 43: Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 33-yard field goal as the game ended and the Bruins (6-2, 3-2) escaped Tempe, Ariz., with a wild win over the Sun Devils (5-3, 3-2).
Freshman Brett Hundley, playing a few miles from where he grew up, drove UCLA into field-goal range after Tyler Kelly’s 7-yard touchdown pass to D.J. Foster put Arizona State ahead 43-42 with 1:33 to play.
Hundley completed 19 of 31 passes for 274 yards and four touchdowns. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 164 yards, leaving him 20 yards shy of the UCLA career rushing record.
At No. 2 Oregon 70, Colorado 14: Kenjon Barner rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns, and the Ducks (8-0, 5-0) easily took care of the Buffaloes (1-7, 1-4).
De’Anthony Thomas rushed for another score and added a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown before most of Oregon’s starters were pulled midway through the second quarter.
At Utah 49, California 27: John White IV ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Utes (3-5, 1-4) over the Golden Bears (3-6, 2-4).