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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats turn sights toward ASU, submit formal complaint on targeting hit

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat

Rich Rodriguez’s weekly press conferences following an encouraging victory are usually equivalent to a free comedy show.

The Wildcats are coming off their final home game, which resulted in a double-overtime, heart-stopping win over the No. 10 Utah Utes. Arizona was destined to have one of those types of upset games, considering the circumstances it was in all season long dealing with injury.

Monday was nothing but smiles and cracking jokes for Rodriguez, but Arizona understands that this week is strictly business when preparing for ASU.

The Wildcats are extremely familiar with the Sun Devils. Rodriguez and company understand the importance of what is at stake Saturday.

“Our staff knows each other,” Rodriguez said. “Our fans talk about it year-round. Our players and coaches hear about it all the time. It’s an intense rivalry. There’s a lot of emotion to go into it and there’s usually a lot at stake. Obviously, from a national perspective, there was more at stake last year than this year, and it’s the biggest game on our schedule every year.”

The wounded Wildcats are limping even more this week after two pivotal injuries on both sides of the ball.

Quarterback Anu Solomon left the game Saturday after a questionable hit from Utah’s Jason Fanaika that struck Solomon in the head, causing his neck to whiplash back to the turf. Solomon was involved in a double hit from Fanaika and the turf at Arizona Stadium, and flashbacks from the UCLA played repeatedly for Arizona fans. In Monday’s press conference, Rodriguez mentioned that Solomon is day-to-day for ASU and the hit on him is under review by the league.

“We have pictures of it too, and the league is going to review it,” Rodriguez said. “I thought at the time where I was sitting from it looked like it could’ve been a helmet-to-helmet. … They’ll talk to the officials whether they agree with us or not.”

When asked about the status of Solomon, Rodriguez jumped straight to the injury report that will be released Thursday, keeping his cards close to his chest while sporting a smile.

“We’ll get an injury report out on Thursday,” Rodriguez said. “It shouldn’t be in the hands of someone’s opinion.”

Jake Matthews suffered from a broken foot Saturday and will be out for the rest of the season. Now, in the final game of the season, Arizona is still searching for a middle linebacker.

That wasn’t the only injury on the defensive side of the ball, because a cosmetic injury found Paul Magloire Jr.. The linebacker lost a tooth in Saturday’s matchup, and once again Rodriguez threw it over his shoulder and made jokes.

“At least one, but you know they can replace that nowadays. We’re not worried about his looks,” Rodriguez said.

Monday’s press conference was a relaxed atmosphere. As the Wildcats are preparing for ASU, Rodriguez displays the Territorial Cup for his players to foam at the mouth for Saturday’s duel in the desert.

The Wildcats and Sun Devils are set for an afternoon kickoff at 1:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday.

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