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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football ready for Washington State Cougars

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat During the first half of Arizona’s 28-26 loss to USC at Arizona Stadium on October 11th.

Fresh off a defeat at home against the USC Trojans, Arizona football hits the road for a matchup with the Washington State Cougars. No. 15 Arizona (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12 Conference) struggled offensively against the Trojans, in large part due to injuries to running backs Nick Wilson and Terris Jones-Grigsby.

With both backs expected back in action this weekend, the Wildcats should have their full offensive attack back. Combined, Wilson and Jones-Grigsby account for an average of 233 yards of total offense. They are the top two Wildcats in total offensive yards per game.

This game is a rematch of last year’s contest that ended with a 21-17 Washington State win at Arizona Stadium. The Arizona offense struggled to put together passing drives, and the defense failed to get critical stops.

It was one of the more embarrassing losses of the season for the Wildcats.

Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez downplayed the notion that this is a revenge game. Instead, Rodriguez said he thinks his players will treat this like any other game.

“It’s the same,” Rodriguez said. “If it helps you get motivated while watching film as a player, that’s all good. Once the ball gets kicked off, I think that all goes out the window. From then, it’s a matter of playing hard and executing.”

Halliday Inn

Under Mike Leach, Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday has improved to one of the better quarterbacks in the nation. Halliday is near the leaders in the nation in several offensive categories such as touchdowns (first with 28), passing yards (first with 3,344) and passing yards per game (first with 477.7).

Washington State’s Air Raid offense is successful largely due to Halliday’s improvement from last season.UA senior safety Jared Tevis said he enjoys games where opponents sling the ball as much as the Cougars will.

“I love filling in the run, but any time we face a passing school, it’s exciting to have those opportunities to get picks,” Tevis said. “I look at everything as an opportunity. So with a team that throws that much, it’s an opportunity for us to make plays and get interceptions.”

Intensity in the South

It seems that every week, the Pac-12 South has its standings rotate in some capacity. Five of the six teams in the division are either 5-1 or 5-2, with the only exception being 2-5 Colorado.

That much parity puts a premium on wins each week, especially when it’s against a division foe. This week, Arizona takes on Washington State from the much weaker North division.Rodriguez said he expects this parity to stay not only in the Pac-12, but in college football as a whole.

“As coaches, sometimes before the season, we talk about parity,” Rodriguez said. “I think sometimes people think it’s coach speak, and it’ll all shake out like it’s supposed to. I really think it’s here to stay in college football. There’s good players on every program. … There’s innovative, different schemes in every program.”


Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter. 

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