With USC and UCLA playing their final season in the Pac-12, The Times is revisiting the top games in the history of each series. This week: USC versus Arizona.
Oct. 10, 1981: Arizona 13, No. 1 USC 10
Arizona ended USC’s 22-game home winning streak, upset the top-ranked Trojans and secured its first win in the series after 11 consecutive losses behind 293 yards on 21-of-37 passing by quarterback Tom Tunnicliffe. The Burbank native threw the game-winning touchdown to running back Vance Johnson with two seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Trojans jumped out to a 10-0 lead with Marcus Allen breaking a 74-yard run for the first touchdown. Allen ran for 211 yards on 26 carries.
Nov. 12, 1982: USC 48, Arizona 41
Decades before scoring 40 points to win a football game became the norm, USC and Arizona produced the highest-scoring game in the series with their defenses. The teams combined for four pick-sixes, including three by USC, which is still a school record matched during the 2022 season opener against Rice. The Trojans also lost four fumbles. In 2011, USC won 48-41 to equal the highest point total in the series.
Nov. 12, 1994: No. 17 USC 45, No. 13 Arizona 28
Arizona started the season on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a championship contender after finishing the 1993 season with a dominant win over Miami in the Fiesta Bowl. A 10-9 loss to Oregon on Oct. 29 dented Arizona’s Rose Bowl chances then the Trojans ended them by hanging 550 yards on the nation’s sixth-best defense. Even an injury to starting quarterback Rob Johnson couldn’t slow the Trojans, who turned to backup Brad Otton. Otton found Keyshawn Johnson for a 43-yard catch on his first pass attempt, helping the Trojans to 434 total passing yards.
Oct. 27, 2012: Arizona 39, No. 10 USC 36
Even a Pac-12 record 345 receiving yards by Marqise Lee couldn’t save USC. Five turnovers and 117 penalty yards overshadowed the receiver’s historic performance as the Trojans were outscored 26-15 during the second half. Matt Barkley threw for 493 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while the Trojans also lost three fumbles.
Oct. 11, 2014: USC 28, No. 10 Arizona 26
The game that started an internet movement. As Arizona tried to mount a 15-point, fourth-quarter comeback in Tucson, Twitter recorded its first instance of the hashtag #Pac12AfterDark, according to ESPN. The Trojans built a two-score lead behind Javorius Allen’s 205 rushing yards before going scoreless during the fourth quarter. Arizona’s Jared Baker led the comeback with two fourth-quarter touchdowns, including a 1-yard score with 1:07 remaining. The Wildcats’ game-tying two-point conversion failed, but they recovered an onside kick to set up a 36-yard kick by Casey Skowron with 12 seconds remaining. It drifted wide right and USC escaped.