LaVale Woods scored twice on short runs, and Southern California’s defense, bolstered by the return of three starters, shut down Arizona most of the game in the Trojans’ 14-7 victory Saturday.
USC (4-2, 2-1 Pac-10) built a 14-0 lead and gave up only a third-quarter touchdown by the Wildcats (3-3, 1-2).
Brad Otton completed 23 of 41 for 220 yards for the Trojans, but they had trouble moving the ball against the Wildcats, who had seven sacks - three each by Joe Salave’a and Van Tuinei - and held USC to 77 yards rushing.
Arizona lost starting quarterback Keith Smith, a redshirt freshman, to an injury in the third quarter. But junior Brady Batten, who started the first two games this season before Smith won the job, replaced him and quickly put the Wildcats on the board.
Of the three USC defenders coming back from one-game suspensions, linebacker Sammy Knight had eight tackles and two assists; tackle Darrell Russell had two tackles and two assists; and safety Brian Kelly had two tackles.
Those three, along with wide receiver Larry Parker, were suspended for last weekend’s 22-15 loss to California. They had traded their football shoes for clothing at a sports shoe store, a violation of NCAA rules.
Arizona trimmed the deficit to 14-7 in the third quarter when Batten came in at quarterback after Smith hurt his left shoulder.
On his first play, Batten completed a 34-yard pass to Richard Dice, down to the USC 11. On Batten’s second play, another pass, Trojan cornerback Daylon McCutcheon was called for pass interference in the end zone. On his third play, Batten hit Dice with a 2-yard scoring pass.
Dice strained his right knee on that play and did not return.
The Trojans took the second-half kickoff and mounted a 65-yard scoring drive, making it 14-0 on Woods’ 1-yard run.
Keeping that march alive, Otton completed a 7-yard, fourth-and-4 pass to tight end John Allred, down to the Arizona 21. Otton connected with fullback Rodney Sermons for a 19-yard pickup, then Woods scored two plays later.
Otton engineered a 79-yard drive on the Trojans’ first possession of the game, in a march that consumed 8:46 and took 18 plays. Going for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1, Woods bulled into the end zone.
Smith finished as the leading rusher for either team, with 97 yards on 14 carries.
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