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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats set out for redemption against OSU following two straight losses

Tyler Baker

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon (12) runs the ball against UCLA on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona football will look to get back on track this weekend when Oregon State comes to Tucson Saturday afternoon.

The Wildcats are currently riding a two-game losing streak with blowout losses to UCLA and Stanford. After going 3-0 in non-conference play, the Wildcats will look for their first conference victory of the season against the Beavers.

It has been a rough stretch for Arizona the past couple of weeks. After all of the hype of ESPN’s College GameDay two weeks ago, UCLA handed the Wildcats their first loss of the season. Arizona also lost quarterback Anu Solomon and linebacker Scooby Wright III—again—to injuries. The Wildcats were beaten even worse last weekend at Stanford with backup quarterback Jerrard Randall at the helm.

“They’ve been miserable,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said of the past two weeks.

The biggest liability for the Wildcats has been their defense. 

According to ESPN, Arizona’s defense ranks No. 116 in total yards allowed out of 128 possible teams. The defense is 107th in points allowed per game. 

The biggest issues facing the defense have been tackling and pressuring the quarterback. Failing to wrap up opposing runners doomed the Wildcats against UCLA running back Paul Perkins. Failing to pressure the quarterback allowed UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Stanford’s Kevin Hogan to combine on 36 for 47 passing attempts, 501 yards and four touchdowns. 

In short, the defense has been picked apart.

“We’ve got to find a way to make it happen,” Rodriguez said.

Coming off a bye week, Oregon State heads into Saturday’s game 2-2 and 0-1 in Pac-12 Conference play. The Beavers suffered an early loss to Michigan and have lost to Stanford as well. The last time Arizona and Oregon State met was in 2012 when the Beavers defeated the Wildcats 38-35 in Tucson. 

Quarterback Seth Collins will be looking for his first Pac-12 victory of his young career. Collins is a mobile quarterback who could wreak havoc for an injury-depleted Wildcat defense. Collins went 20-36 with 275 yards a score in the loss to Stanford. Meanwhile, backup quartberack Jerrard Randall went 15-28 with 178 yards and a score for the Wildcats last week.

Both Solomon (concussion) and Randall (hamstring) are listed as questionable on Thursday’s injury report. Cornerback DaVonte’ Neal (hamstring) and linebacker Jeff Worthy (concussion) are also questionable. 

Receiver Tyrell Johnson (foot) is listed as probable for the game. Johnson has missed the first five games of the season with a foot injury. 

Star linebacker Scooby Wright III will miss his fourth game of the season (foot) while linebacker Haden Gregory (knee), receiver Trey Griffey (foot) and linebacker Derrick Turituri (hip) will also sit out Saturday’s game. 

As for now, the Wildcats will be looking to right their ship after these early disappointments. Coach Rodriguez understands changes must be made quickly during the course of a college football season.

“The regular season in college football is so much different than anything else,” Rodriguez said. “Without any preseason or scrimmage games to judge by, you don’t have time to work out your kinks or find out things. If you’re not playing well, or whatever the case may be, you’ve got to find that solution.” 

As for now, the Wildcats are stuck in that awkward position of finding those solutions mid-season.

Kickoff for Oregon State and Arizona will be at 1 p.m., Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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