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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona at Oregon

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the Cats 21-24.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats hosted the USC Trojans in a college football game Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The visiting Trojans upset the ‘Cats 21-24.

Oregon.

Just the name alone conjures sour memories of last year’s 44-41 double-overtime loss on a chilly November night in Tucson.

The yearly matchup with the Ducks always seems to bring a little extra — the debacle mentioned above, or Arizona’s 2007 upset of then-No. 2 Oregon — and Friday’s 5 p.m. game on ESPN is no exception.

While this year’s battle doesn’t have the same Rose Bowl implications for the Wildcats, there is a different factor that the Ducks have on their side — coming in at No. 1 in the BCS poll.

The ranking, which Oregon (10-0, 7-0 Pacific 10 Conference) has held for a fourth consecutive week, is the highest in school history.

“”It’s a big game. It’s the biggest one we have all year,”” said linebacker Paul Vassallo. “”The No. 1 team in the nation, that doesn’t happen too often. You’ve just got to enjoy it.””

For No. 21 Arizona (7-3, 4-3), it means that the matchup with Oregon is the first game against a No. 1 team in five years.

Defensive end Ricky Elmore said that playing the Ducks doesn’t require any additional motivation and the No. 1 tag isn’t something that the Wildcats’ defense is concerned about.

“”They’re a great team. They have that No. 1 on their chest — great, but they’re still Oregon,”” Elmore said. “”They’re still part of the Pac-10. They’re still a team that we play every year that we’re used to playing, so I don’t really think it puts a big difference.””

Arizona defense will be the team’s most tested aspect this weekend, thanks in large part to quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. The Ducks are the No. 1 scoring team in the nation.

“”We’ve got to be smart, we’ve got to be disciplined,”” Elmore said. “”They’re a great team with a lot of good athletes so we can’t go too fast. We’ve got to be under control and go with the plays when they come to us.””

The Wildcats will also have to adapt to playing in Eugene, Ore., where the atmosphere is going to be everything short of incredible. Autzen Stadium has a capacity of 54,000 but has had an average attendance of 59,000 in every game since 2002. The weather is predicted to be a high of 46 degrees with a 40 percent chance of showers.

“”I heard a lot about how noisy it is and just how you can’t hear a thing,”” said Vassallo of the environment. “”It’s supposed to be cold, but I was just home and it was like 20 degrees so I’m used to it.

“”(The Ducks) have yet to lose and they’ve been playing consistently well all year … we just need to be able to match that,”” Vassallo said.

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