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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona, Utah on opposite ends of the offensive spectrum

Arizona can keep its bowl hopes alive with a win against the Utah Utes on Saturday at Arizona Stadium. With a 1-5 Pac-12 record for the Wildcats and 1-4 conference run for the Utes.

Let’s take a look at how the offense will unfold for both sides:

Comparing the pass

Arizona’s passing numbers are light years ahead of Utah’s, with quarterback Nick Foles and the Wildcats ranking third in the nation with 375.6 passing yards per game.

Foles’ maturity, combined with his accuracy, makes him one of the most lethal quarterbacks in the country.

He’ll be able to find an open man, regardless of the Utes having the No. 3 pass defense in the Pac-12. Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham knows his secondary will have their hands full against Foles this weekend.

“He has an excellent touch on the football,” Whittingham told the media in a press conference in Salt Lake City on Monday. “He doesn’t try to gun the ball all over, but he has a great feel to put the ball where receivers will be open. That’s a great attribute for a quarterback.”

Utah’s passing game lies at the other end of the spectrum. The Utes rank 100th out of 120 in the nation in passing yards per game.

Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn went down with a shoulder injury on Oct. 1 against Washington and after undergoing surgery will have to sit on the bench for the rest of the season.

Backup quarterback Jon Hays has struggled in his adjustment so far, throwing only 692 yards for five touchdowns in four and a half games since taking over for Wynn.

Hays also has also thrown seven interceptions — in two games against Arizona State and Cal, he threw three each.

Despite Hays’ struggles, Whittingham remains confident in his improvement.

“He did make progress (against Oregon State) in the way that he managed the offense and made decisions,” Whittingham said. “He took care of the football, which is job number one on offense.”

Running into trouble

Despite the Pac-12 being known as a quarterback-loaded conference, it also features an array of talented running backs, and Utah’s John White IV is averaging 114 yards per game, good enough for third in the conference.

That’s bad news for the Wildcat defense as its track record has been anything but stellar against the premier backs in the conference.

It let running backs from Oklahoma State, Stanford, Oregon and Oregon State set career highs in rushing yards.

Washington’s Chris Polk dismantled the Wildcats last weekend scoring five touchdowns. He became the first player in school history to record over 100 rushing and receiving yards in the same game.

Despite White’s capabilities, Arizona safety Robert Golden isn’t ready to compare him to the conference elite.

“I won’t give him too much credit of (calling him) LaMichael James,” Golden said when asked which running back White reminds him of. “But he’s a real good scat back.”

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