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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona football vs. Stanford preview: Can the Wildcats begin conference play with a win?

Arizona+football+defensive+lineman+Tyler+Manoa+%2892%29+stays+alert+at+Arizona+footballs+game+against+UTEP+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+16.+The+Wildcats+won+with+a+score+of+31-10.
Danielle Main
Arizona football defensive lineman Tyler Manoa (92) stays alert at Arizona football’s game against UTEP on Saturday, Sept. 16. The Wildcats won with a score of 31-10.

The Arizona football team will travel on the road on Saturday, Sept. 23, to begin their conference play against Stanford University. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California. The Wildcats will be looking to get their first Pac-12 win this weekend and continue building off last week’s performance against the University of Texas at El Paso.

History

The last meeting between Arizona and Stanford took place on Oct. 26, 2019, resulting in a thrilling clash that ended with a 41-31 Stanford victory.

In that memorable matchup, Stanford‘s quarterback, K.J. Costello, returned from a three-week injury hiatus and delivered a stellar performance, throwing for 312 yards and three touchdowns. Arizona opted for a dual-quarterback approach, with Kahlil Tate Jr. showcasing his agility. Tate contributed 205 passing yards and two touchdowns, coupled with 103 rushing yards and a touchdown. However, two interceptions marred his performance. Pro-to-be J.J. Taylor rushed for 107 yards during that game as well.

Arizona holds a 14-17 record all-time against Stanford, with a split of 7-9 in away games and 7-8 at home. Stanford currently boasts a six-game winning streak against Arizona, with the Wildcats’ last victory dating back to Oct. 17, 2009, and their last win at Stanford Stadium occurring on Oct. 14, 2006.

Stanford has outscored Arizona 803 to 727 throughout their series, with each team experiencing its own era of dominance over the other. Stanford‘s current six-game winning streak adds intrigue to this upcoming matchup.

Stanford’s season and offseason moves

Stanford (1-2; 0-1 in conference games) has navigated a season marked by both successes and setbacks.

Following a disappointing 3-9 season and the departure of longtime head coach David Shaw after the 2022 season, over 20 players left via the transfer portal, leaving new head coach Troy Taylor with a rebuilding challenge.

In response, Stanford welcomed 23 newcomers, composed of high school signees and transfers. They secured commitments from 18 high school graduates and added experienced transfers Alec Bank from Harvard University, Gaethan Bernadel from Florida International University, Trevor Mayberry from the University of Pennsylvania and Justin Lamson from Syracuse University.

Offensively, 16 new additions joined, while seven defensive players aim to bolster the team’s performance. The roster also includes a specialist recognized as one of the nation’s top punter/kicker recruits.

They began the season with a promising 37-24 victory over the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, led by new coach Taylor. Sophomore quarterback Ashton Daniels shone in his first career start, throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Senior tight end Benjamin Yurosek played a crucial role with nine receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown. However, the next game against USC ended in a challenging 56-10 loss after Daniels suffered an early injury and was replaced by Lamson, who rushed for Stanford‘s lone touchdown.

In their third game, Stanford faced California State University Sacramento, resulting in a narrow 30-23 defeat. Moments of promise, including Joshua Karty’s three field goals and a touchdown pass from Daniels to Elic Ayomanor, weren’t enough as the Hornets secured victory with a late-game touchdown pass. This marked Stanford‘s second-ever loss to a Football Championship Subdivision level school.

Wildcats to watch

Despite a strong team win in their previous outing, offensive struggles at the start of games persist. Even with a top-25 offense, Arizona has faced offensive challenges in the initial stages of their games this season.

The first player to watch for the Wildcats is Jayden de Laura, who performed well in their recent victory over UTEP. De Laura completed 79.3% of his passes, going 23-for-29 for 285 passing yards with three touchdown passes. A noteworthy statistic was his absence of turnovers for the first time this season. If Arizona hopes to secure a victory against Stanford, de Laura’s ability to protect the football will be crucial.

Another key player to watch is running back Michael Wiley, who also delivered an impressive performance against UTEP, rushing for 83 yards and securing one touchdown on 17 carries. The Wildcats‘ rushing attack has consistently been a strength, and facing Stanford‘s less effective run defense, they have an opportunity to reduce the chances of turnovers by keeping the ball in Wiley‘s hands.

As Arizona looks to secure their first conference win of the season and end their losing streak against Stanford, eliminating turnovers must be the focal point for the offense this week. 


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