Game Notes: USC - Arizona

Marc Tyler

It was not a given that USC running back Marc Tyler would even be able to play at Arizona. Still, he was healthy enough to carry the ball 31 times for 160 yards, both career highs, Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. Look inside for all the news, notes and quotes from the USC - Arizona game.

Terrific Tyler

It was not a given that USC running back Marc Tyler would even be able to play at Arizona.

The redshirt junior suffered a sprained ankle on his final carry against Arizona State and barely practiced throughout the week.

Still, he was healthy enough to carry the ball 31 times for 160 yards, both career highs, Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

"Marc was outstanding tonight," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "He was very physical, and USC is a good blocking team and did a good job at giving him the space he needed."

Tyler was overjoyed with the workload, despite admitting he felt worn down in the second half.

"It felt like a lot, but I was so into the game I kept going," he said.

"We don't really run the ball like that," Tyler said of several long drives that chewed up the clock, notably in the second half. "We ran the ball a lot. We got to do that on the road, keep the crowd quiet. The offensive line did a good job."

USC coach Lane Kiffin was most pleased by Tyler's ball security and consistency, given that fumbles and poor play limited his role during the middle of the season.

"There weren't a lot of huge homerun long runs but we were very efficient," Kiffin said. "Marc did extremely well banged up."

One More Trick

Under new special teams coach John Baxter, the Trojans had shown almost every wrinkle and look possible this season. Except for one, that is.

Coming out of an injury time out on fourth and three at the Arizona 11-yard line with its field goal personnel, holder Mitch Mustain lined up in the shotgun, faked a handoff to kicker Joe Houston and threw to Jordan Cameron as he came back across the formation for seven yards and the first down.

USC scored a touchdown two plays later on Tyler's 3-yard run.

"It worked exactly how we planned it, if not better," Mustain said. "The only thing you could asked more is if you scored on it. I got excited for a minute, thought he might."

Mustain said that much like the various swinging gate formations on extra points, he had the discretion to audible back to the field goal if needed.

"I feel like we're finally comfortable with everything. Back at Hawaii, everything was new. We're at the point now where from now on, even going into the spring and fall next year, guys will know exactly what's going on," he said.

"We'll be able to throw anyone out there."

Dubious Distinction

USC allowed touchdowns in the final two minutes of both the first and second half, continuing its struggles against both the no-huddle and the two-minute offense.

"In two-minute defense, well we stayed right on track," assistant head coach Monte Kiffin joked. "Right before the half, they go in. The defense plays really good, (then) the last two minutes, here they come again."

Injury Report

Safety Jawanza Starling did not dress because of an undisclosed injury. Marshall Jones started in his place at strong safety and had three tackles.

Monte Kiffin said cornerback Nickell Robey came out of the game late with an undisclosed injury. The freshman was not available to answer questions but appeared to be fine boarding the team bus.

Tight end Blake Ayles said he hoped to return this week from a concussion he suffered against Cal.


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