TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona junior linebacker Marquis Flowers has been named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, it was announced by the conference office on Monday. The Wildcats have now collected five weekly nods from the league, two on defense and three special teams.
In a game dominated statistically by offensive players Flowers turned in a sterling performance on the defensive side accounting for three takeaways in Arizona's 39-36 upset win over No. 10 USC on Saturday. Flowers finished the game with a pair of interceptions, a forced fumble and seven total tackles.
On the game's opening possession, Flowers halted a 13-play drive for the Trojans when he intercepted Matt Barkley at the UA 26-yardline. Flowers returned it 14 yards, which set up a seven-play, 60-yard touchdown for the Wildcats to claim an early edge.
In the second quarter with UA leading 10-0, Flowers again turned away the Trojans deep in Wildcat territory. On first-and-10 from the 16-yardline, Flowers forced Silas Redd to fumble, and UA's Jonathan McKnight recovered. Later in the quarter, Flowers preserved a three-point Wildcat lead with his second interception of Barkley near midfield.
The interceptions were the second and third of Flowers' career. His three forced turnovers were a part of a five turnover-day for the defense, which registered its most takeaways in a game since Aug. 31, 2008, against Idaho.
Flowers and the UA defense stiffened up in the second half, stopping the Trojans on five-straight possessions and six of the final seven drives of the game. The key was improved play on third downs, as USC converted just 1-of-5 third down attempts in the second half after picking up 4-of-6 in the first half. The Trojans were also 0-for-2 on fourth down in the game.
Arizona hits the road on Sat., Nov. 3 for a matchup at No. 25 UCLA. The game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff and will air live on the Pac-12 Networks.