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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA football hosts Washington State for 101st Homecoming

Rebecca Noble

Arizona cornerback Jarvis McCall Jr. (29) leaps to tackle an Oregon State wide reciever while Arizona linebacker RJ Morgan (24) rockets in for help at Arizona Stadium during the Wildcats’ win Saturday, Oct. 10. Arizona defense controlled the game and held the Beavers to seven points in the 44-7 victory.

Arizona will host Washington State at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats are currently riding a two-game winning streak with their most recent win a 38-31 road victory over Colorado.

This Homecoming matchup against Washington State will be the Wildcats’ second-to-last home game this season. The Cougars will present a tougher challenge for the Wildcats than most would have thought at the beginning of the season.

After losing their season opener to Portland State, the Cougars have won four of their last five games, including a double-overtime victory over Oregon in Eugene.

The only other loss Washington State has suffered this season came at California, where it lost 34-28.

In short, the Cougars have shown they can play on the road this year.

After squeaking out a victory over Colorado, the Wildcats cannot take the Cougars lightly. After Washington State, Arizona will have two tough road trips to Seattle and Los Angeles for dates with Washington and USC.

The run game will be Arizona’s strength again this weekend as Washington State allows an average of 208 yards per game on the ground.

The Wildcats piled up a total of 616 yards against Colorado last weekend, including 291 yards on the ground and 207 of those yards coming from running back Jared Baker.

Nick Wilson, who normally starts at running back, was inactive due to a foot injury. Wilson remains questionable for Saturday’s game.

Cornerback Davonte’ Neal (hamstring), safety Tellas Jones (concussion) and defensive lineman Parker Zellers (knee) are all listed as questionable. Receiver Tyrell Johnson (hamstring) is doubtful and linebackers Derrick Turituri (hip) and Scooby Wright III (foot) are out.

Arizona traveled to Pullman, Washington, last season, where the Wildcats handled the Cougars 59-37.

Solid quarterback play has been the main key to the Cougars’ success. Sophomore Luke Falk has thrown for 2,371 yards on the season with a 72.3 completion percentage, 21 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Falk threw for 505 yards and five touchdowns in the Cougars’ victory over Oregon.

Arizona has struggled to defend the pass this season and its ability to stop Falk will be a determining factor in how this game plays out. The Wildcats currently rank 108th out of 128 teams in total defense, allowing an average of 426 yards and 30.6 points per game. Arizona is ranked 93rd in terms of pass defense, allowing 248.6 yards per game.

Look for the Wildcats to continue to find unique ways to win.

Quarterback Anu Solomon struggled against Colorado, but to his defense the Buffaloes are an improving Pac-12 Conference team. With the Wildcats back home, Arizona’s offense should continue to flourish.

Don’t overlook the Cougars, though. As another improving Pac-12 team, Wazzu is proving to be a formidable conference opponent. A victory over the Cougars could continue to build momentum for a Wildcat team that will need as much confidence as possible over the next month in its pursuit of defending the Pac-12 South title.

Arizona and Washington State will air on Pac-12 Networks.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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