Sophomore Caleb Williams passed for a career-high 411 yards and five touchdowns without his top two receivers as No. 10 Southern California held off Arizona 45-37 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.
The Trojans (7-1, 5-1 Pac-12), played without receivers Jordan Addison (injury) and Mario Williams (unknown), but Tahj Washington (seven catches, 118 yards, two touchdowns) and Kyle Ford (six catches, 114 yards, one TD) helped keep the passing game on track.
Arizona (3-5, 1-4) mostly kept pace but punted after USC took a 38-29 lead with 13:38 to go. The Trojans gave themselves breathing room with an 83-yard drive, capped by Travis Dye’s 2-yard leap into the end zone to make it 45-29 at the 6:24 mark.
The Wildcats climbed within 45-37 with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:26 to go, but USC recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock with the help of a conversion on fourth-and-1.
Williams completed 31 of 45 passes without an interception as USC rolled to 621 total yards. Dye finished with 113 yards on 20 carries.
Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura completed 26 of 43 passes for 380 yards. Dorian Singer was on the receiving end of all three of de Laura’s touchdown passes, finishing with seven catches for 141 yards.
USC was protecting a 24-16 lead in the third quarter when Bryson Shaw picked off de Laura. One play later, Williams found Washington for a 47-yard touchdown and a 31-16 edge.
Arizona stormed back with two touchdowns in less than four minutes, including a 10-yard run by Michael Wiley with 1:42 left in the third quarter. A two-point conversion failed, leaving Arizona behind 31-29.
USC, which also played without left guard Andrew Vorhees and linebackers Eric Gentry and Ralen Goforth due to injury, beat Arizona for the 10th consecutive time.
The first half ended in controversy, when USC drove to the Arizona 10 with five seconds left, looking to spike the ball to stop the clock. But the clock re-started before the ball was spotted, and time expired before the snap. USC coach Lincoln Riley was livid, but officials stuck with the decision that the half was over with the Trojans up 17-13.
–Field Level Media