Ball at the 25. Three-point lead. Four minutes and 40 seconds left against USC.
A true freshman is at left guard. The left guard is at left tackle. The center and right guard are injury replacements. Arizona’s backup quarterback, B.J. Denker, had just come into the game for an ailing Matt Scott.
No way were the Wildcats going to pass the ball.
“When everyone in the stadium knows you are going to run it, that’s the time you have to do it,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said.
For a team that plays fast and ranks high in all the national stats in offense, it was the ensuing 19-yard drive — before a delay-of-game penalty at the end — that will go down as one of the season’s highlights.
“It’s satisfying for the offensive line because we pride ourselves in getting better in the run game,” said starting junior guard Chris Putton, who also has been rotating at left tackle with Mickey Baucus.
“We put our minds to it. Come off the ball. Whoever wants it more is going to win it.”