USC's Kristofer O'Dowd to return home when Trojans play Arizona

USC center Kristofer O'Dowd's 33rd career start will be made in front of hometown fans Saturday night when the Trojans play No. 18 Arizona at Arizona Stadium.

O'Dowd, a senior, grew up in Tucson and attended Salpointe Catholic High. He regularly attended Wildcats games and knows several players on Arizona's roster.

"It's exciting being able to go in to a place I grew up, pretty much going to games and stuff," O'Dowd said this week. "So it will be a great atmosphere, and I'm excited for it."

O'Dowd was victorious in his last homecoming game. The Trojans defeated Arizona, 17-10, in 2008, a season in which league coaches voted O'Dowd first-team All-Pacific-10 Conference.

O'Dowd was recently notified that he had been invited to participate in the Senior Bowl in January in Mobile, Ala.

"That was definitely one of my goals," O'Dowd said, "but my ultimate goal is just play my best every day and value every opportunity I have."

Baxter ready

Coach Lane Kiffin declined throughout the week to say who would start at tailback, but freshman Dillon Baxter is hoping to make it two in a row.

Baxter rushed for 52 yards in 17 carries and caught four passes for 26 yards in last week's 34-33 victory over Arizona State.

"You always want to be the starter," he said. "You always want to be that guy. Hopefully, I'll get that chance again."

Quick kicks

USC is 26-7 against Arizona. The Trojans have not lost at Arizona Stadium since 1999…. Junior safety Marshall Jones is expected to start for the first time…. Junior Michael Reardon will start for the second game in a row at left guard.

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