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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

3 ways to win, 3 ways to lose: Arizona vs Oregon

Oregon+quarterback+Marcus+Mariota+%288%29+throws+during+Arizonas+31-24+win+against+Oregon+at+Autzen+Stadium+in+Eugene%2C+Ore.%2C+on+Oct.+2.+Limiting+Mariota+has+to+be+one+of+the+main+keys+for+the+Arizona+defense+in+the+Pac-12+Championship+Game.
Tyler Baker

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws during Arizona’s 31-24 win against Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., on Oct. 2. Limiting Mariota has to be one of the main keys for the Arizona defense in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

3 ways to win

by Matt Wall

Mariota struggles against Arizona

In his last two games against the Wildcats, Heisman frontrunner in quarterback Marcus Mariota had a raw quarterback rating of a 53.1 and 47.2, respectively. Mariota threw two interceptions against Arizona last season and had one key turnover against the Wildcats back in early October. If the Wildcats want to win, they will need to get in Mariota’s head just as they have in their past two matchups. 

Defensive-minded

Over the past four games, the Arizona defense has shined. UA safeties Will Parks, Jared Tevis, Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Jourdon Grandon have totaled 14 tackles for loss, six sacks, five interceptions and three forced fumbles. In addition, linebacker Scooby Wright has been unstoppable, becoming the only player in all of college football to rank in the top 25 in tackles, tackles for loss, sacks and forced fumbles.

Although the UA offense highlighted the beginning of the season, the defense has obviously carried the team for a majority of its more recent victories. If they want to beat the Ducks, the Wildcats must start fast and cause turnovers.

Playoff dreams

Many have predicted that Arizona will be the dark horse in making the NCAA’s first-ever College Playoff. In fact, this weekend will be the decisive factor. The Wildcats must defeat Oregon to stay alive in the playoff race. If it can get the victory, this team will be one of the best UA football teams ever.

The Ducks might pretend they’re confident, but how can they be? Arizona has manhandled one of the best teams in the country in two consecutive matchups. The 42-16 loss last season was marked as a fluke. But Arizona proved that wasn’t the case by defeating the Ducks again this season.



3 ways to lose

by James Kelley

Oregon strikes back

Last time Arizona and Oregon played, the Wildcats spoiled the party.

All signs pointed to the Ducks getting revenge against Arizona. The UA shocked the UO 42-16 in 2013, and, surely, Oregon would not let it happen again, right?

It was a Thursday night prime time game and Autzen Stadium’s 100th sellout in a row, so the Ducks would surely get revenge, right?

Well, we all know what happened, and afterwards, UA officials posted photoshopped images, such as the Duck Hunt video game parody “Won the Day” — after Oregon’s “Win the Day” slogan — and “Duck dynasty is over.”

Both head coaches downplayed revenge, but was it that wise to pour gasoline on that fire?

The Heisman force awakens

In an epic clash reminiscent of Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s battle in “Revenge of the Sith,” the last game came down to a mano a mano battle between the Pac-12 Conference’s offensive and defensive players of the year.

UA linebacker Scooby Wright stripped UO quarterback Marcus Mariota of the ball to secure the win.

Many thought that ended Mariota’s Heisman hopes, but after one of the best regular season’s ever (48 touchdowns), Mariota is ready for not only revenge but also his Heisman moment.

Sure, he literally struck the pose against Oregon State last week, but it’s terrible and this is the spotlight game, not the Iron Bowl. People will be watching.

Attack of the Ducks defense

UA quarterback Anu Solomon had a solid game passing in Arizona’s win over ASU, but it wasn’t the same story on the ground.

Solomon was 15-for-21 for 208 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions through the air but had nine rushes for -47 yards. Obviously, he didn’t run backwards on purpose; the Sun Devils brought the house and sacked him four times, scoring on a fumble once.

Oregon knows Solomon has been wounded for weeks and this is Arizona’s seventh straight game, so it will come after the rookie as if he has the Death Star plans.

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Follow @WildcatSports on game day for live updates during the game.

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