USC and Arizona look to rebound from disappointing starts to conference play when the Trojans host the Wildcats on Thursday night. Television coverage begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.
The Trojans opened the year with a 30-13 win at Hawaii before dropping their conference opener at home against Washington State. USC then won two good home games, against Boston College and Utah State, before a road blowout loss to Arizona State that caused the firing of head coach Lane Kiffin. This will be the first game for interim head coach Ed Orgeron, which could cause difficulties for the Wildcats. The Trojans will likely be without two of their stars, as wide receiver Marqise Lee and linebacker Morgan Breslin are doubtful with injuries. Running back Justin Davis, wide receiver Darreus Rogers and wide receiver De'Von Flournoy are all questionable.
The Wildcats started the year with three blowout wins over Northern Arizona, UNLV, and UTSA. They traveled to face Washington and lost 31-13 following a bye week, however. Arizona has one of the top rushing offenses in the country and one of the best scoring defenses, but will look to succeed against actual competition for the first time this year. Middle linebacker Jake Fischer is questionable for the game with an ankle injury.
Rankings and records: Neither team is ranked, but Arizona received votes in the Coaches' Poll. USC is 3-2 with an 0-2 record in Pac-12 play while Arizona is 3-1, but 0-1 in conference competition. The Trojans hold a 27-8 all-time lead in the series.
Vegas: USC is a six-point favorite, with an over/under of 48 points. OddsShark has more.
Weather: Mid 50s to 60s and clear skies.
Three names to know
B.J. Denker. Arizona's quarterback is very much a run-first kind of guy with six touchdowns on the ground compared to just two in the air. Rich Rodriguez's system relies heavily on the mobility of its quarterback and Denker's success will go a long way toward determining the Wildcats' fate.
Tra'Mayne Bondurant. The junior safety has three interceptions already for the Wildcats and has returned two for touchdowns. Against a very poor USC passing offense, he could make a huge impact in the game.
Tre Madden. Much of the Trojans' success on offense will rely on their running back, who is averaging 5.3 yards per carry this season.
Two things at stake
USC needs to win at every possible opportunity just to make a bowl game at this point.
Arizona had a bye week to prepare for their first Pac-12 road game. They'll want to do better this time around.
How to witness
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
Radio: Here's a list of Arizona affiliates. USC can be found on ESPN radio.
Online streaming: Not available.