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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats won’t give up fight against Oregon

Football is cut and dry.

There is no middle ground, no gray area or explanation for wins and losses. Either you win or you lose.

Sometimes, a team may embrace an underdog mindset as a way to convince itself it has a greater chance to win the game. But no matter the mentality of a team, a loss still stings and a victory is still sweet.

The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats (3-0) have beaten every original Pac-10 team in the last four years, except for the growing Ducks dynasty at No. 3 Oregon (3-0). Early betting lines have the Wildcats as a 23.5 point underdog for this weekend, which may be warranted considering Arizona’s lack of depth, especially on the defensive line.

On cue, Wildcat players and coaches embraced the underdog role and an “us against the world” mentality.

For Arizona, though, there is no such thing as a moral victory.

Last year, the Ducks jumped out to a 35-9 lead before halftime.

Keeping the game close is simply not enough.

Quarterback Matt Scott agrees.

“It’s win or lose,” Scott said on Monday. “That’s what the game is about. We’re going up there for the win. We’re going to go up with mindset that we’re going to take this ‘W.’”

This is a chance for Arizona coaches to assess how far they are from being able to compete with a powerhouse like Oregon. No matter the outcome, coaches can use this game as a teaching point. But not hearing the empty promise that the Wildcats will “try their hardest and see what happens” is refreshing.

Last year, too many times the Wildcats appeared to give up when they were down in games.

Too many times fans heard that empty, unrealistic goal of a moral victory while the Wildcats fell flat on their faces.

Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez has applauded his team’s willingness to “sit up and listen,” and that his team is eager to show it is better than the team that finished with a 4-8 record last season.

That the Wildcats feel confident heading into Saturday night’s showdown is a testament to the job that Rodriguez has done in instilling some fight and a “hard edge” in his team.

“Of course everybody’s going say they’re a high-ranked team and a powerhouse team, but there’s no reason why Arizona can’t be up there in that number range,” senior fullback Taimi Tutogi said. “We don’t take those numbers into account.

“They put their pants on like we put our pants on. They put their socks on like we put our socks on. They’re human, we’re human.”

He’s right. The Ducks are capable of being stopped, being beaten. It doesn’t happen often, but if Arizona’s defense can be as opportunistic as it was against Oklahoma State, the game should be a victory, as Scott and the rest of the Wildcats intend it to be.

– Cameron Moon is a journalism senior. He can be reached at or on Twitter via @MoonCameron20.

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