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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats won’t overlook Central Michigan

Roxana Vasquez / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Roxana Vasquez
Roxana Vasquez / Arizona Daily Wildcat

After five weeks of rigorous preparation, the Arizona football team can finally line up against players in different jerseys when the Wildcats take on Central Michigan Saturday night at 7 at Arizona Stadium.

Despite throttling a Mid-American Conference team last year — a 41-16 win against Toledo in the second week of the season — the Wildcats know this MAC team, although not well known on the West Coast, should prove to be a formidable foe.

“”They’re very underrated and people tend to look past them, but we can’t do that. We’ve just got to go out there and treat them like we would treat anybody else,”” said UA wide receiver Delashaun Dean. “”It’s the first game of the year and everybody’s going to be anxious. We’ve just got to calm down and do what we do best.””

Arizona shouldn’t have much trouble taking Central Michigan seriously, especially considering the résumé of quarterback Dan LeFevour. Entering his fourth year as a starter, the dual-threat quarterback might pose problems for a relatively inexperienced Wildcat defense. During his sophomore season, LeFevour threw for more than 3,600 yards and ran for more than 1,100 yards, and UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops knows his group will have its hands full trying to slow down the Chippewas’ senior signal caller.

“”They’re good at what they do. They get the ball out of (LeFevour’s) hand quickly, a lot like our offense will do from time to time,”” Stoops said. “”They’ll get rid of it quick but then they’ll take their shots, so they stretch you in some different ways. It’ll be one of those games where you have to be on the money or else they’ll get yards and they’ll get first downs and they’ll get points.””

Thankfully for Arizona, the Central Michigan defense isn’t as good as its offense. Out of 119 Division I teams, the Chippewas ranked 89th in the nation in points allowed (30.2 points per game) and 104th in total defense (423.8 yards per game). Even with those less-than-stellar defensive stats, the UA offense isn’t taking the Chippewas’ defense lightly.

“”We’re expecting a team to come out here with no fear. They’ve been to a bowl game the last few years in a row,”” said UA running back Nic Grigsby. “”They have experience, they have one of the top quarterbacks (in the country) and he’s going to lead the offense and keep them in the game. We just have to do our part on offense and pull away and help our defense out.””

But the most intriguing part of Saturday’s contest will be when the UA defense is on the field to see how it will try and contain LeFevour. Central Michigan averaged nearly 30 points per game last season, and the Chippewas were picked by national media to win the MAC this season. However, the Wildcats hope Central Michigan’s scoring average doesn’t start the year off with a bang.

“”It’s a real good offense, I’ll give them credit,”” said UA cornerback Devin Ross. “”But we play in the (Pacific 10 Conference) and we see good offenses all the time. If we just come out and prepare good all week, then we’ll be prepared for Saturday.””

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