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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

THREE KEYS: Arizona vs. NAU

Three keys for the Wildcats

Contain the run
While the Lumberjacks aren’t going to surprise anyone with an incredible passing game, running back Zach Bauman has made sure that NAU features a heavy ground attack. The sophomore rushed for 1,059 yards and a Big Sky Conference-leading 16 touchdowns last season. If the Wildcats can hold down the NAU run game, they should be able to easily contain the Lumberjack offense.

The O-line finds a groove
The Arizona offensive line has only one collective start among it. That came from Kyle Quinn when he replaced recovering Colin Baxter in the Alamo Bowl last year in a game that most Wildcat fans would have no problem forgetting. That adjustment is going to have to come quick, however, because if the Wildcats can’t contain NAU’s defensive penetration, there’s no way they will be able to stop Oklahoma State next week.

*WRs must play as advertised *
On paper, the Wildcats have one of the deepest and most dynamic receiving corps in the country, but other than Juron Criner, that’s only speculation. Seniors David Roberts and David Douglas come into the season just shy of 1,000 yard receiving on their careers, needing only 88 and 124 yards, respectively, to reach that mark.

Three Wildcats to watch

Rob Hankins, linebacker
It’s probable that the freshman will get the start against NAU, making him the first true freshman linebacker to start for Arizona since Spencer Larsen in the 2002 season. With Jake Fischer sidelined with an ACL tear, the Wildcats will need the young guns to step up.

Ka’Deem Carey, running back
Carey comes in as Arizona’s highest rated offensive prospect this year, and with sophomore Daniel Jenkins doubtful for tomorrow’s contest, look for Carey to split carries with Keola Antolin and Kylan Butler in the Arizona backfield.

Jaime Salazar, place kicker
Only time will tell if the junior college transfer can be a consistent kicker for the Wildcats, but he will get that starting role against the Lumberjacks on Saturday ahead of Alex Zendejas. Still, Zendejas and Salazar were pretty equal in their competition throughout camp so Zendejas might get the nod if Salazar is not up to par.__

Three keys for the Lumberjacks

Ball control ­
NAU’s offense focuses on a two-headed power running game featuring sophomore running back Zach Bauman and junior Giovannie Dixon. The Jacks will look to keep the chains moving with a passing game built around short completions in the seams and out to the flats.

*Turnovers *
For the Lumberjacks to head back north with a victory, NAU must hold onto the football. Turning over the ball too many times will force a tired Jacks defense back onto the field to face a high-powered UA offense that will look to strike on any play.

*Playbook *
Even with the Jacks expected to keep the ball on the ground the majority of the time, it is essential for them to open up the playbook and take some shots downfield. Be on the lookout for a trick play or two due to the dual-threat ability of junior quarterback Cary Grossart.

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