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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Matchups to watch for

    Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback vs. Arizona defense

    Skinny: Last year, Stanback (14 carries, 96 yards) led a Washington rushing attack that finished with 333 yards in a 38-14 victory at Arizona Stadium. Arizona was poised to enter halftime up 14-7 before Stanback hit Chris Chambers for a 69-yard Hail Mary pass at the end of the second period. The senior quarterback has shown better passing numbers over the first four games of this season compared to 2005 as a whole, with almost as many touchdown passes (six to nine) in seven fewer games.

    Advantage: Push. While Arizona’s run defense has been somewhat mediocre this season, Stanback is the only player suiting up Saturday who contributed to the Huskies’ dominant ground performance. Arizona gave up 130 yards on 21 carries to USC freshman running back Emmanuel Moody last weekend but held the Trojans to their lowest point total in four years. Confidence should be high against a decidedly less-talented offense, though the team has struggled against quarterbacks who can run.

    Washington wide receiver Sonny Shackelford vs. Arizona secondary

    Skinny: Shackleford has been Stanback’s favorite target the past two years and caught a career-high nine passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in a come-from-behind win over UCLA on Saturday. His four receiving scores are twice as many as he had all of last season and rank second in the Pacific 10 Conference behind California’s DeSean Jackson.

    Advantage: Arizona. Besides the sheer talent of the Wildcats’ secondary, Shackelford lacks a proven No. 2 receiver lining up opposite him to distract defenders. Junior Antoine Cason got the majority of the snaps against USC All-American Dwayne Jarrett on Saturday and performed well, getting an interception and holding Jarrett to only four catches for 36 yards. Whether he or junior Wilrey Fontenot earns the No. 1 matchup tomorrow, Shackelford should have plenty of attention on him all game long.

    Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama vs. Washington pass defense

    Skinny: Tuitama has struggled statistically against a slew of tough defenses (Louisiana State, USC) to start the year and hasn’t been helped much by his supporting cast. Washington’s pass defense ranks ninth in the Pac-10 and has given up six passing touchdowns, the second-most in the conference, and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete almost 64 percent of their attempts.

    Advantage: Arizona. Tuitama performed well (6-of-9, touchdown) against a bad Stephen F. Austin secondary two weeks ago and should do fine this week provided he has enough time in the pocket to accurately hit open receivers. Washington’s run defense is also ranked in the bottom half of the conference, so junior running back Chris Jennings and company should also be able to lighten the load on Tuitama.

    Prediction: Arizona 20, Washington 17

    Game notes: -Washington leads the all-time series 15-6-1, including a 6-4-1 mark in Tucson

    -Arizona’s biggest margin of victory in the series is 13 points, when the Wildcats defeated the then-No. 1 Huskies 16-3 at Arizona Stadium in 1992

    -All three of Huskies head coach Tyrone Willingham’s wins against Arizona have come in Tucson (2005; 2001 and 1999 while with Stanford)

    -Before Washington’s 24-point win last season, the previous five matchups between the teams were decided by 10 points or fewer.

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