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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


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

Rebecca Marie Sasnett
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat during Arizona’s 17-7 loss against UCLA at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

3 ways to win

by Matt Wall

Learning from mistakes
Everybody knows that Arizona football lost last week against UCLA. The real question will be if Arizona can get past it against Colorado, one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 Conference.

It almost feels like the script of a movie: The Arizona Wildcats go down and fall to UCLA before beating its opponent, Colorado, at its 100th annual Homecoming game. At least, that’s what the Wildcats are hoping for.

Arizona needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out the mistakes it made in its two losses this season to ensure a Wildcat victory.

Winning an offensive battle
Colorado’s quarterback Sefo Liufau owns command of the offense, one that is pretty similar to Arizona’s.

Arizona’s offense is averaging 506 yards per game, whereas Colorado’s offense is averaging 472 yards per game. Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon needs to come out strong against a Colorado defense that is giving up 38.7 points per game.

To ensure an Arizona victory, Solomon must go back to the way he was playing during Arizona’s first five victories, when he completed 63 percent of his throws and averaged 348.2 yards per game.

Defensive pressure
Arizona’s defense has been giving up the third-most yards per game in the Pac-12 at 293.3 yards per game. Colorado wide receiver Nelson Spruce leads the nation with 90 receptions and ranks second with 11 touchdowns. He also has 1002 yards on the season and is averaging 11.1 yards per catch.

If Arizona wants to win, the cornerbacks have to step up against Spruce and the Buffaloes. Middle linebacker Scooby Wright is doing his absolute best to lead the defense, totaling 97 tackles, 18.5 for loss, 12 sacks and five forced fumbles.

Arizona must come out fast and get in the head of the Buffaloes on defense if it wants to leave its Homecoming game with a victory.

3 ways to lose

by James Kelley

Solomon fires blanks
Last week, Arizona’s offense sputtered as quarterback Anu Solomon had the worst game of his young career.

Solomon was 18-for-48 for 175 yards, a career low. His second-worst game was at UTSA where he was 17-for-32 for 231 yards in Arizona’s 26-23 win.

If Solomon struggles again, Arizona could lose its third in its last four games.

UTSA is now 2-6 and 1-3 in Conference USA. It wasn’t good enough to capitalize on Solomon being off, but Colorado, which lost in double overtime to a UCLA team that Arizona lost 17-7 to, might be.

Spruce goose
Arizona should be wary of Colorado’s golden goose, wide receiver Nelson Spruce.

Spruce leads the nation in receptions (90), is second in touchdown catches (11) and is fifth in total yards (1,002).

“I have never seen him drop a ball,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He has good speed, and he literally catches everything.”

Nelson’s 90 catches so far this year are more than entire CU teams in 32 seasons since World War II.

Arizona is 118th in the country, out of 125 teams, in passing yards allowed with 293.3 per game, so Spruce could have a breakout game and lead CU to the upset.

CU is due
Arizona is fresh off its most disappointing game of the season, and Colorado has nothing to lose.

Last week, Colorado was eliminated from bowl contention, and Arizona was knocked out of the playoff race.

The Buffaloes can play with reckless abandon. They’re supposed to lose, and if they do, so what?

All the pressure is on Arizona.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats are fresh off their worst game of the year. While they only lost 17-7, once UCLA scored on a 70-yard pass, it didn’t feel like they were in it.

If Arizona suffers a hangover, Colorado is good enough to pull the shocker.


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

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