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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Three ways to win and three ways to lose versus NAU

Tyler Baker

Nick Wilson (28) weaves his way through defenders on Sept. 3 at Arizona Stadium. Arizona defeated UTSA 42-32.

Three ways to win

1. Pass rush

Arizona defeated Nevada 44-20 last week and the defense clicked despite being without Scooby Wright III. The load was put on the defensive line, particularly Reggie Gilbert, after backup linebacker Haden Gregory exited the game in the first half. The Wildcats were finally able to get their first sack of the season and if the Arizona defensive front can collapse the pocket more often, its defense should have a field day against the Lumberjacks.

2. Nick Wilson

The Wildcats offense has been on point this season, highlighted by running back Nick Wilson. The sophomore recorded his eighth career 100-plus yard rushing game against Nevada last week. If he can have the same running performance against the Lumberjacks, Arizona should be able to topple NAU with ease. For the Lumberjacks, Arizona will be its toughest competition of the season, so they will have nothing to lose. Wilson and the running back crew need to have a good game; nobody should doubt NAU.

3. Don’t be an Auburn

Arizona is without a doubt the favorite to win Saturday, but there’s always that small window of hope for the underdog. Michigan dropped a game to Appalachian State in “The Big House” in 2007. A then No. 6 Auburn was a single possession away from losing at home to Jacksonville State last week. The FCS teams have evolved into the hunters rather than typical cupcake teams, but Arizona will be prepared.

Three ways to lose

1. It’s only NAU

NAU is on the hunt to spoil Arizona’s season. The Wildcats begin conference play against UCLA next week and the game has prime time potential. If Arizona looks ahead and reveals too much confidence, which showed against UTSA, the Wildcats will be in trouble. ESPN’s College GameDay will consider coming to Tucson, only if the Wildcats win on Saturday. The pressure is building.

2. Defense, Where are you?

Everyone knows the classic phrase, “Defense wins championships.” With the way Arizona’s defense looked in the first two games, a championship is just a speck at the end of the tunnel. The Wildcats’ defense is ranked the second worst in the Pac-12 Conference and tied for 112th in the country. It has given up 52 total points through two weeks and NAU will be ready to air-it-out and put the defensive unit on skates.

3. Not feeding the beast

Nick Wilson has taken over the offense and Anu Solomon’s arm hasn’t been needed as much. Wilson scored three touchdowns at Nevada last week and has 43 touches through the first two games. The Lumberjacks’ defensive backs will be all over the pass game if Arizona gets pass happy and Wilson is MIA. Feed Wilson the ball and Arizona will remain undefeated, otherwise, the Wildcats could be in for a long night.

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