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Record-setting day by USC's Lee goes for naught as Arizona pulls 39-36 upset

The SportsXchange

TUCSON, Ariz. -- USC wide receiver Marqise Lee had the stats but Arizona got the victory and that was all that mattered Saturday afternoon in a wild 39-36 upset of the No. 9-ranked Trojans before 47,822 at Arizona Stadium.

Lee set a Pacific-12 Conference record with 345 yards receiving in a magnificent performance, but USC coach Lane Kiffin stopped throwing to him at a key stage in the second half as the Wildcats unleashed a 26-0 run to win the game.

Lee left the field in tears despite his record-setting day.

``We lost and I'm an emotional person,'' Lee said. ``I hate losing. I don't think about stats. I think about winning every game we play.''

The numbers piled up at a dizzying rate as the teams broke the 1,000-yard barrier in total offense early in the fourth quarter. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott finished with 369 yards passing and 100 yards rushing before leaving late in the game after taking a blow to the head.

``I just asked him and he said he was fine,'' Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. ``I said, 'Well, did you tell the doctors that?' ‘'

Rodriguez earned the biggest victory of his inaugural season at Arizona.

``It's just good to win a close game,'' he said. ``It gets our guys to believe in themselves.''

USC quarterback Matt Barkley completed 31 of 49 passes for a school-record 493 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

``We kept shooting ourselves in the foot,'' Barkley said. ``I don't think (the BCS race) is in our control anymore.''

When Arizona tailback Ka'Deem Carey scored on a 7-yard run to give the Wildcats an unlikely 32-28 lead with 10:46 left in the game, the stats lost significance for the Trojans (6-2, 4-2).

The Wildcats overcame a 28-13 third-quarter deficit that looked insurmountable. David Richards caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Scott to give Arizona a 39-28 lead. USC tailback Silas Redd scored on a 10-yard run to make it 39-36 but the Trojans could only try an ultimately unsuccessful Hail Mary pass for the end zone as time expired.

``I didn't think it would come down to that,'' Barkley said.

Lee broke former Oregon State wide receiver Mike Haas' Pacific-12 Conference record for receiving yards early in the third quarter when he caught a touchdown pass to give him 299 yards. The record was 293. He had 313 yards through three quarters.

``It doesn't matter to me,'' Lee said. ``It wasn't important.''

Lee almost broke USC's school record for catches in a game with 16. His teammate, Robert Woods, holds the record (17).

Arizona (5-3, 2-3) entered the game with the nation's No. 5-ranked offense but their defense simply could not stop Lee enough to effectively counter the Trojans through the first half.

Lee caught 12 passes for 255 yards in the first half and nearly eclipsed the school record of 260 yards set by R. Jay Soward in 1996.

Arizona cut the lead to 28-20 in the third quarter when Scott scored on a 10-yard run. And the Wildcats made it even more interesting when Scott threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Dan Buckner to cut the lead to 28-26. The two-point conversion failed.

Lee gave the Trojans their first lead when he caught a 49-yard touchdown pass from Barkley over the middle to put USC ahead 14-10 with 4:36 left in the half. At that point, Lee caught nine passes for 180 yards.

USC finally struck back on a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Barkley to tight end Xavier Grimble to cut the Wildcats' lead to 10-7 with 10:07 left in the second quarter.

Barkley was intercepted in the first quarter by Arizona's Marquis Flowers, which led to the Wildcats' first touchdown. Scott found wide receiver Johnny Jackson wide open over the middle for an 8-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 advantage.

The Wildcats added a 27-yard field goal by John Bonano for an early 10-0 lead and almost had more when Redd fumbled in the second quarter to end USC's third possession of the half inside the 21-yard line without scoring.

``It was a very discouraging loss,'' Kiffin said. ``It wasn't about effort. We made a lot of mistakes and weren't able to catch up.''

NOTES: USC, which entered the game as the most-penalized team in the nation, committed eight penalties in the first half for 79 yards. Arizona was even worse with 10 for 99 in the first half. USC finished with 13 while Arizona had 14 ... USC committed a season-high five turnovers.
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