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Rich Rodriguez: Win over USC 'wasn’t our cleanest performance'

Rich Rodriguez is happy that the Arizona Wildcats beat the USC Trojans, but knows that the team could clean up their mistakes.

Jason O. Watson

The Arizona Wildcats showcased why they brought Rich Rodriguez to the desert when they toppled the USC Trojans on Thursday. Arizona's offense scored 26 points in a row and piled up 588 yards of total offense, with 469 yards coming via Matt Scott.

Rodriguez was effusive in his praise of Scott and Ka'Deem Carey, particularly how well they were able to run with the football

Matt ran the ball pretty well. Ka’Deem (Carey) did a really good job. There were some lead plays where we were running Matt and Ka’Deem did a really good job as a lead blocker. USC is so big, physical and athletic. We had to try to do a few new things that we hadn’t shown before. I thought the key of the game was Ka’Deem making some runs and making big plays right when we needed them like that long third and 20 pass.

Rodriguez was also especially impressed with how resilient his team has been this season.

I first saw it sometime in the spring. We had a new coaching staff and were teaching a new system and just tested them a little bit mentally to see whether they would respond or go in a shell. We were hard on them about all the things you’re supposed to teach and develop and to see how they react. I saw that early in the spring that these guys do want to get better and they’re trying to take to the coaching and system. I saw that in the spring and see that now in the fall. You don’t truly know what your guys are going to do until you start playing the game.

However, there's definitely things that could be cleaned up. Arizona was penalized an incredible 14 times for 129 yards, which helped out USC and nearly torpedoed their chances at winning.

Watching the film, we were obviously pleased with the victory. I didn’t think we played particularly well in all three phases at times. (USC) certainly helped us out because they had some mistakes. It wasn’t our cleanest performance and there are a lot of things we can get better at.

Arizona now will turn their attention to UCLA and a big road date in the Rose Bowl. Paramount among Rodriguez's concerns is how to stop Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin.

I think you need to get more than one person there. That’s the key for us. We’ve done okay at times with tackling and other times we haven’t. We’re not fast enough to not have multiple people there. We have to get guys down the blocks to get more than one person. Part of the design of their offense is to get open guys down the field, so that’s a concern. We have to get them on the ground.

The Wildcats will try and improve to 3-3 in Pac-12 play and win their third straight game after dropping three straight contests.