uscincomplete.jpgTucson, AZ – The 2014 Wildcats are most definitely not the 2013 Wildcats. Where 2013 was a team of offense, flair, and style, 2014 is a team bouyed by defense, running, and grittiness. In the Pac Ten opener against USC, the team needed all three qualities to pull out a very narrow victory.

With Arizona leading 31-28, USC’s Brandon Dunbar drove the Trojans all the way down the field with key passes and 3rd down conversions. He brought the team to the Arizona 35, and on third down he attempted to make the conversion but Arizona sacked him. So with 1:14 remaining, and one time out, USC decided not to kick the long field and decided to make one long bomb to the endzone with a no huddle offense.

The ball was snapped, Wildcat defenders struggled to get back into position when Dunbar decided to go for the touchdown and not the first down. Time stood still as the ball sailed through the air towards Brian Berry who already had 6 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown. The ball hovered in the air for a moment near that far side of the endzone, Berry wrapped his hands around the ball. He had possession, all he needed to was get one foot down, one toe, a scrape, a tap, anything, and USC has the lead with less than a minute to go. But he landed out of bounds. weaverusctd2013.jpg The crowd helds its breath until the ref made the call. The play was reviewed, and with all of Arizona stadium on the edge of their seat, they erupted in cheer as the call stood.

The celebrations from the game spilled out of the stadium and on to Fourth Street where boosters, alumni, gang members from South Tucson, Strange Engineering Students from India and even Wildcat players still in uniform partied well into the night.

Chad Smith, undefeated as a starter, won his 2nd game based entirely on determination. He was 7/14 for 160 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT, while going 11/34 rushing. But that didn’t matter. He decided at some point in the 2nd half that the Wildcats were going to win and he refused to let them lose.

“We couldn’t lose this game,” said Smith after the game. “We’re still in the hunt for a national title, but first we have to win that Pac Ten. Oh, and before you starting talking about how I won the game, go to talk to Patrick, this was his game.”

patrodriguez.jpgChad was telling the truth, as Patrick Rodriguez had an amazing game with 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 INT, and a fumble recovery.

“I hate USC,” said Rodriguez after the game. “There, I finally said it. I hate these rich students, the fact that this rich ass school is right in the middle of the ghetto, these spoiled kids are here to drink, barely attend class then take over Daddy’s company. I hate it. UofA forever.”

Shockingly Travis Bailey, usually very quiet, had four sacks. The most by a Wildcat Defender in a very long time.