USC vs. Arizona preview: Five things to watch for Saturday – Los Angeles Times

The last time Arizona won a college football game was more than two years ago. It was early October 2019, and the Wildcats had emerged from a Rocky Mountain road trip on an impressive four-game win streak. Everything was starting to look up for Kevin Sumlin, who’d won only five total games in his first season.

Instead, it all came unraveled. Sumlin was fired. Jedd Fisch was hired. And in between, losing was the only constant. As USC prepares to face Arizona in a 4 p.m. matchup Saturday, the Wildcats have lost 19 straight, taking up permanent residence in the Pac-12 cellar. They are, by quite a margin, the worst team in the conference.

Which is to say they couldn’t have come to the Coliseum at a better time for USC, which returns home with its season in a death spiral. The Trojans have lost three of four, and hope is dwindling. With five weeks remaining in the regular season, USC needs to win the majority of its games just to be bowl eligible.

Scoring that invite would be next-to-impossible without a win over Arizona on Saturday. The Trojans are 21-point favorites, a mark they won’t come anywhere near reaching the rest of this season. In its last four games, Arizona has been outscored in the fourth quarter 48-0. USC, this season, has outscored opponents 88-13 in the final quarter.

All signs point to a bounce-back. But USC is in no place to overlook anyone at this point in its season.

“The 19-game losing streak doesn’t mean anything to us,” USC interim coach Donte Williams said. “Every game is different. Every game is different to the person you’re playing against as an individual. At the same time, they have a new staff. I’m sure they’re not worried about what’s happened last year or the year before. They’re worried about what’s happening right now.”