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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Ritter’s Rules

    Quarterbacks

    NAU is severely hurt by the graduation of quarterback and Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year Jason Murrieta, who passed for 2,827 yards, 34 touchdowns and only five interceptions last year. Enter former wide receiver Lance Kriesien, who before last week had only 12 career pass attempts.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Running backs

    This week will almost certainly mark the debut of true freshman Nick Grigsby. That means the trio of Chris Jennings, Xavier Smith and Grigsby will stay fresh throughout the game. Meanwhile, NAU returns sophomore Alex Henderson, who last year averaged 5.4 yards per carry en route to a 1,014-yard season.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

    The strength of the Lumberjacks is the receivers. Senior Alex Watson leads the group after his 15-touchdown, 1,017-yard season. Arizona is hoping to see the continued development of redshirt freshman Delashaun Dean, freshman Rob Gronkowski and other young playmakers.

    Advantage: NAU

    Offensive Line

    The Arizona offensive line will have to create more holes for its running backs, but the Wildcats seemed to improve on protecting quarterback Willie Tuitama last week at Brigham Young.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Defensive Line

    The Wildcats defensive line will have to do a better job of completing tackles. However, against this week’s opponent Louis Holmes and Co. should have an easier time of doing just that.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Linebackers

    The linebacker position for the Lumberjacks has been a position of emphasis after the team lost all three starters last year. Arizona’s linebackers are coming off a tiring game, but still, Spencer Larsen, Ronnie Palmer and Dane Krogstad have probably recovered by now.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Cornerbacks

    The Lumberjacks definitely have some strong corners in K.J. Gerard and Ricky Wilson, but to compare them to Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot is just

    ridiculous.

    Advantage: Arizona

    Prediction

    The Wildcats definitely cannot overlook NAU this week, especially after last week’s loss to BYU. The game might be a lot closer than expected, with Arizona still trying to work out some offensive kinks, but for the home team, its first win is imminent.

    Arizona 30, NAU 17

    – compiled by Mike Ritter

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