Los Angeles, CA – USC’s undefeated season hanged in the balance as Caleb Williams scored on the two-point conversion in the third overtime. The defense secured the victory when Mason Cobb stopped D.J. Williams behind the line of scrimmage.
Williams rushed for three touchdowns to help the Trojans in a 43-41 triple overtime win over Arizona on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
“Lanes kept opening up,” Williams said. They kept dropping off. They left me with big lanes. I know I haven’t ran this year much. Don’t really like to run to be honest with you. But you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita threw two touchdowns in the first quarter and a 23-yard field goal gave the Wildcats a 17-0 lead. USC went three-and-out on its first three drives and was held scoreless in the first quarter.
“Anytime you go down 17-0, you’ve got a mountain to climb,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said. “We certainly had a lot of moments where we didn’t play very well in the beginning of the game.”
Williams scored on a 4-yard run and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kyron Hudson to cut the deficit 17-14 in the second quarter.
After Arizona extended the lead 20-14 on a 22-yard field goal in the third quarter, USC took its first lead of the game when MarShawn Lloyd scored with a 9-yard run.
USC took a 28-20 lead on a 1-yard run from Williams in the fourth quarter. Fifita threw a 3-yard touchdown pass and Arizona converted the two-point conversion to tie it 28-28.
The Trojans had a chance to win the game at the end. They had a first and goal with 24 seconds left but they couldn’t get into the end zone. A high snap on fourth down forced the holder to get up and USC botched the game-winning field goal, sending the game to overtime.
Williams scored on an 18-yard run in the first overtime. Arizona answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Fifita.
In the second overtime, Fifita threw an 8-yard touchdown to Jacob Cowing. USC tied it with an Austin Jones 11-yard touchdown run.
Williams gave the Trojans the lead on a 2-yard run to convert the 2-point play.
“What a college football game,” Riley said. “I give Arizona a lot of credit. I’m not going to make a lot of excuses in any way. They played well, played better than us.”
Up next for USC is a rivalry game against No 10 Notre Dame in South Bend.