Arizona’s Ontiwaun Carter is not interested in talking about the Rose Bowl game yet, although the Wildcats are 4-0 and opened their Pacific 10 Conference season last week by thrashing Oregon State, 33-0.
Carter is low-key about his team’s defense, which is nicknamed Desert Swarm. In keeping with that sobriquet, Arizona’s defense ranks first in Division I in stopping the rush.
But if the topic of conversation is USC, the junior running back from Kennedy High can talk for days. And with the Trojans visiting Tucson on Saturday, Carter is talking.
It was USC that knocked Arizona out of the 1992 Rose Bowl race with a 14-7 victory. And it was also the Trojans whom Carter had glorified as a youngster growing up in the same apartment complex as the mother of USC Heisman Trophy winner Charles White. It was USC, said Carter, which showed too much arrogance while recruiting him. And that’s why he’s a Wildcat.
“I wanted to know where I would be on USC’s depth chart and what my chances would be of playing,” he said. “That was irrelevant to them. All they wanted to tell me about was the Heisman winners. I’m mean, I already knew about that stuff. They didn’t have to tell me that.”
Carter ranks second in the Pac-10 in rushing, averaging 98 yards per game. He gained 165 yards in 15 carries against Oregon State, and Arizona ranks second in the league in rushing offense.
“It’s real important for us to beat (USC), just for the simple fact that we came out there and lost last year,” said Carter, a third-year starter who entered the season with 1,345 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.
“I want to make a statement in this game. They plan to come out here and beat us. They better be prepared for a long, hard fight from the first quarter to the fourth, because it’s going to be different from last year. Let the best team win.”
Gutierrez’s sudden rise: San Diego State’s Tim Gutierrez (Santa Clara) has transformed himself from a fourth-year backup quarterback to the Western Athletic Conference player of the week. He has done so in less than five quarters, during which he led the Aztecs to a 38-31 come-from-behind victory over Air Force, then engineered a 48-17 rout of Minnesota in his first game as a starter Saturday.
His numbers in that span: 69 attempts, 45 completions, 592 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions.
The Gutierrez family has a dilemma: how to get enough tickets and which family members will get to see Tim play. Gutierrez has about 150 relatives in the Oxnard area, most of them Chumash Indians on his mother’s side. Frank Gutierrez, Tim’s older brother, said about 30 family members will attend tonight’s game against UCLA at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium, thanks in part to some season ticket-holders who are leaving extras at the will call window.
Checking the fax: Not to be outdone by Gutierrez, SDSU kicker Peter Holt, a redshirt freshman (Antelope Valley), was named WAC special teams player of the week after he kicked four field goals (40, 34, 33 and 45 yards) against Minnesota. . . .
San Jose State Coach John Ralston recruited four of his top 10 offensive linemen from a small triangular region of the Valley: Burbank, Glendale and La Crescenta. Guard Mike Gardner (Crescenta Valley High, Glendale College) and tackle John Cotti (Burbank, Cal State Fullerton) are starters. Center Keith Moffatt (Burroughs, Glendale) is a returning starter and Albert Ocon (Glendale, Glendale) backs him up.