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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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

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Ryan Revock / The Daily Wildcat

3 ways to win

Fast start

To paraphrase a famous quote: those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.

The last time the Wildcats went to Oregon, they were No. 22 in the nation and 3-0, but the 2012 edition of the Ducks buried the UA 49-0. Last season, Arizona ran out to a 14-0 lead in the first eight minutes and went up 21-0 in the first quarter en route to a 42-16 win.

Both teams’ offensives are explosive and whoever gets going early could destroy the other.

Solomon shines

One thing’s for sure: A mobile Hawaiian quarterback will play a key role in the game. Maybe two will.

UO junior signal caller Marcus Mariota is a Heisman Trophy favorite, but Arizona freshman quarterback Anu Solomon is ahead of the fellow 50th state native in passing yards, passing yards per game and total offense.

Let’s not go nuts and say Solomon will be the third straight redshirt freshman to win the Heisman, but with the pressure on Mariota and the game on national TV, this is Solomon’s chance to shine.

Beat up the Ducks

Oregon dispelled some of the talk that it is soft with a win over a physical Big Ten Conference team and then No. 7 Michigan State, but that talk will always follow the Ducks.

Last year, a physical running back in Ka’Deem Carey abused the Ducks’ defense for 206 yards on 48 carries. This year, the Wildcats can run the two-headed monster of fifth-year senior Terris Jones-Grigsby and true freshman Nick Wilson at Oregon.

Arizona would be wise to try to beat the Ducks up with physicality.

3 ways to lose

Marcus Mariota

Oregon is ranked second in the country and is undefeated due to one man: quarterback Marcus Mariota. In just four games, Mariota has already thrown for 1135 yards and 13 touchdowns. He has to be considered a Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

Mariota has completed 74 percent of his passes without an interception, good enough for the most total touchdowns without a turnover in the Football Bowl Subdivision. In addition, he is the second-leading rusher for Oregon.

The Wildcats must stop Mariota if they are going to have any chance to upset the Ducks for the second year in a row.

Defensive Struggles

UA sophomore middle linebacker Scooby Wright III has carried the defense this season. He already has 51 tackles, four sacks and a forced fumble. Oregon plays three running backs who share the workload in the backfield.

After giving up 45 points to Cal two weeks ago, Arizona’s defense will have to give everything they have on Thursday, because when Oregon starts fast, they are almost impossible to defeat.

“I’d like to think you can come back,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “But you get down against a team like Oregon, it’s going to be really hard because you know they’re going to score.”

Getting Caught in Revenge

Oregon will be fired up to play on its home field this year instead of in Tucson. Last year, the Ducks got pounded on defense and their offense truly struggled. This year, however, Oregon has already defeated a highly ranked Michigan State team.

Yet, both teams are doing their best to play off the whole revenge concept.

“They have enough motivation already and it’s going to be a great environment,” Rodriguez said. “Once the ball is kicked off, last year will be in the past.”

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Follow James Kelley @jameskelley520 and Matt Wall @mwall20

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