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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


3 ways to win, 3 ways to lose: Arizona vs Washington State

Rebecca Marie Sasnett
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat during Arizona’s 49-45 win against Cal at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014.

3 ways to win

by Roberto Payne

Revenge factor

Last year, the Wildcats lost 24-17 to the Cougars in Tucson in an embarrassing fashion. Arizona struggled throughout, and B.J. Denker threw for just 200 yards.

This year, there will be a definite revenge factor in the air as the teams match up in Pullman, Wash. Both players and coaches have denied that so far, but let’s be real: They were embarrassed last year and want to prove it was a fluke.

Don’t be surprised if Rich Rodriguez calls deep throws early on Saturday as he looks to shift the momentum in his team’s favor.

Return of the running backs

Both freshman Nick Wilson and redshirt senior Terris Jones-Grigsby are expected to play this weekend.

Having both healthy is what makes the Arizona offense so deadly. Just look at the Oregon game earlier this month. The two-headed monster of Wilson and Jones-Grigsby combined for a whopping 336 total yards of offense in the upset of then-No. 2 Oregon. The Ducks had no response for either of them.

It’s no surprise that Arizona’s rushing dominant attack struggled against the Trojans last weekend when both were injured. Expect a heavy dose of Wilson and Jones-Grigsby this weekend.

It’s not a trap!

As the wise Admiral Ackbar once said, “It’s a trap!”

The Washington State matchup is a classic case of a trap game in college football. Arizona hits the road to take on the Cougars in what should theoretically be a win. The problem comes from the game the week after when the Wildcats again hit the road, this time for UCLA.

Avoiding the letdowns of trap games is not easy, but the Wildcats should be ready.Rich Rod has built this team on the concept of playing all 60 minutes, as evidenced by the different comebacks against Cal and USC. For this Arizona squad, it’s not a trap.

3 ways to lose

by James Kelley

Air Raid bombs Arizona

It could be a long afternoon for the Arizona defense.

At 490 yards per game, Washington State has the best passing offense in the country.

Meanwhile, Arizona is 106th in the country in passing yards allowed, with 278 per game.

WSU senior quarterback Connor Halliday is first in the country in passing (3,344 yards), first in touchdowns (28), passing yards per game (477.7) and total offense (460.6). He set the FBS record with 734 yards against California and has recorded three of the top-six passing performances in the FBS this season.

Washington State and Baylor are the only schools with three players on the Biletnikoff Award Watch List.

Desperate Cougars

After making its first bowl since 2003 last season, Washington State fans had high hopes this season.

The Cougars started the season 0-2 and 1-3, though, and with a record of 2-5 with trips to Oregon State, No. 14 ASU and No. 20 USC at home remaining, this might be a must-win game for Wazzu — if it hopes to go to another bowl game, at least. If Washington State loses this game, it must win out to be bowl eligible. That’s a lot to ask.

Last season, Washington State came to Tucson with five losses and beat the Wildcats 24-17.

Failing to cash in

While Arizona’s offense is prolific, No. 4 in the country in total offense, that hasn’t translated to success in the red zone. 

The Wildcats are tied for 87th in the country in red zone offense, with 24 scores out of 30 attempts.

In their last game against USC, the Wildcats had to settle for field goal attempts five times, including the try that was missed at the end of the game. Arizona also fumbled on the Trojan 9-yard line.

If the Wildcats don’t convert more of those long drives into touchdowns, the Cougars could upset them in back-to-back seasons.


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