LOS ANGELES -- Here are some notes and observations from USC's 38-31 win over Arizona on Thursday night:
» Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey rushed for 138 yards, his eighth consecutive game with 100 or more rushing yards dating back to last season, but it never felt like the junior All-American ever really had a chance to take control of the game. The Wildcats fell behind by 14 points in the first quarter and the Trojans were determined to stop Carey at all costs even before UA head coach Rich Rodriguez was forced into catch-up mode.
Still, Carey showed the pieces of his tremendous skill set, juking to leave linebacker Lamar Dawson flat-footed on his first carry of the game, using his powerful lower body to move the pile, and bursting up the middle on a 39-yard scamper in the third quarter.
Add in his receiving skills (six catches for 36 yards) and Carey is a lot more than the beneficiary of Rodriguez's wide-open spread offense.
» It was a breakout game for USC junior defensive lineman J.R. Tavai, who started in place of the injured Morgan Breslin (hip) and finished with seven solo tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss with one-half sack.
"He's very elusive, has good hands and good hips," interim head coach Ed Orgeron said. "We were taking Breslin's (outside linebacker) position and moving him inside the tackle, and you have to be a bigger guy to do that."
The 6-foot-2, 270-pound Tavai more than met the criteria, offering relentless effort to disrupt the UA running offense. It would make sense for Tavai to see more playing time even when Breslin returns from injury, especially against Stanford's massive offensive line and punishing run-heavy approach.
» USC sophomore defensive end Leonard Williams wasn't his usual disruptive presence, posting one-half sack, but stayed engaged and finished with a team-high 12 tackles.
Williams already is on the short list of top linemen in the Pac-12 and should be on numerous preseason All-America lists going into the 2014 campaign.