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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Matchups to watch

    Arizona rushing game vs. Stanford run defense

    Skinny: Arizona enters tomorrow’s game ranked 118th out of 119 NCAA Division I-A teams in rushing yards per game, with 54.8. UA tight ends coach Dana Dimelwas promoted to co-offensive coordinator and will call run plays after Arizona finished with negative yards on the ground for the third straight game Saturday against UCLA. Stanford has been equally abhorrent on the opposite side of the ball, giving up a national-worst 269.7 yards per game. It’s a battle of the bad, bad, bad.

    Advantage: Arizona. The Wildcats have shown at least glimpses of success when blocks have time to develop and rushers can find them – running back Chris Jennings had 201 yards on 26 carries against D-I AA Stephen F. Austin on Sept. 16. Stanford’s run defense has been in a downward spiral since allowing 298 yards in a season-opening loss to Oregon and will only get more tired as the game moves on, if the Wildcats play their “”Cards”” right. Keep an eye on whether Arizona is any more productive with Dimel in charge.

    Arizona quarterback Adam Austin vs. Stanford pass defense

    Skinny: Austin is making his second career start, with normal starter Willie Tuitama not playing due to his second concussion suffered in less than a month. Austin completed 70 percent of his passes for 92 yards and a touchdown in the first half Saturday against UCLA, the then-owner of the nation’s No. 3 defense, before losing his rhythm in the second half and throwing a fourth-quarter interception that the Bruins returned 89 yards for a game-clinching touchdown. Stanford’s only conceivable team strength is against the pass, as linebacker Michael Okwo (48 tackles in four games) has inspired teammates to be at least average (68th in the country) as a unit.

    Advantage: Push. Austin has yet to put together a complete performance but was able to find top receivers Syndric Steptoe and Mike Thomas for needed first downs while trying to lead a comeback against UCLA. Stanford has the worst pass rush in the Pacific 10 Conference, recording just four sacks in six games, so Austin should have plenty of time to place his throws.

    Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards vs. Arizona secondary

    Skinny: Following a career-best, four-touchdown game against San Jose State on Sept. 9, Edwards has thrown for one score and five interceptions. Last year against Arizona, he went 16-of-26 for two touchdowns in leading the Cardinal, which had only 195 yards of offense, to a 20-16 win on the strength of five Wildcat turnovers. Arizona has not defended the pass well in its last two games, allowing Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback and UCLA’s Patrick Cowan to complete a combined 63 percent of their attempts for 502 yards and four touchdowns.

    Advantage: Arizona. The Wildcats have been better-than-average against the run this season (127 yards allowed per game, 54th nationally) and should have no problem shutting down Stanford’s anemic ground attack (84.7 yards per contest, 104th). That will put Edwards in a similar situation as Austin and Tuitama against UCLA, where he will have to carry the offense completely on his back. His recent poor performance, and the expected absence of his two top wide receivers because of injury, suggests that won’t happen.

    Prediction: Arizona 20, Stanford 13

    – Compiled by Tom Knauer

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