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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ritter’s Rules

    Quarterbacks

    Last year Willie Tuitama had seven touchdown passes on the season. After two games this year, he already has six. On the other side, New Mexico sophomore Donovan Porterie is coming off a week in which he completed 17-of-24 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, earning Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors. Tuitama edges Porterie due to experience and his comfort level with a new offense.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Running backs

    Rodney Ferguson put up ridiculous numbers last year (1,234 yards, 4.9 yards per carry), and hasn’t slowed down this year, averaging 125 yards per game. The trio of Nick Grigsby, Xavier Smith and Chris Jennings might be trimmed down to two, although Mike Thomas’ double-reverse routes add a significant threat to Arizona’s run game.

    Advantage: New Mexico

    Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

    Wideouts Travis Brown, Marcus Smith and Chris Mark have already combined for 396 yards on 33 catches through the first two weeks. For the Wildcats, they’ve spread the ball around to 13 different receivers in two games.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Offensive Line

    Arizona’s offensive line did a nice job against NAU last weekend, giving Tuitama literally all day for some passes, as well as creating some creases for the UA rushers. The Lobos’ line is absolutely huge in combined size and has allowed one sack for a measly one-yard loss all season.

    Advantage: New Mexico

    Defensive Line

    New Mexico is renowned for its talented front seven, in particular its strong defensive line, and all four starters from last year return. The Wildcats showed major improvements from week one in finishing tackles and recording sacks, but the Lobos D-line is fierce. Tuitama can expect a lot of blitzes.

    Advantage: New Mexico

    Linebackers

    Brian Urlacher would have to be proud of his alma mater’s current linebacking corps. Seniors Cody Kase, Major Mosley and George Carter round out the group of starters for the Lobos, but none of them are as good as Arizona’s starting trio.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Cornerbacks

    DeAndre Wright and Glover Quin might be the best thing that happens to the UA receivers heading into conference play next week. Their ability to cover receivers in lock-down fashion will be a good test.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Prediction

    As far as the quality level of Arizona’s opponents this year, New Mexico is not far behind Brigham Young but a huge step up from NAU. Xavier Smith said the Wildcats can score 50 points a week. They won’t, but they’ll still win.

    Arizona 28, New Mexico 17

    compiled by Mike Ritter

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