Oregon-Arizona Game Preview

By Alan K. Fox
September 22, 2011 2:39 pm
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Darron Thomas will look to extend Oregon's winning-streak to three games.Tucson, Ariz. – The No. 10 Oregon Ducks open their Pac-12 play as they travel to Arizona Stadium to take on the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday. The match-up over the last three games have been in favor of the Ducks – they have averaged 49 points per game.

Oregon (2-1, 0-0 Pac-12) leads the all-time series 22-14 and they have won 16 of the last 18 games since 1998. They also lead the all-time series while playing in Tucson 10-9 over the Wildcats, including six of the final seven.

Entering the game the Ducks have won 12 strait conference games and will look to keep the streak alive under the lights in the desert. Oregon has also won their last three conference openers.
It will be the second Pac-12 game for the Mike Stoops and the Wildcats.

Arizona (1-2, 0-1) opened their conference play last Saturday with a 37-10 home loss to Stanford.

"With our team, we have to do things right, and we are doing a lot of good things," Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. "We just got exposed because we are young, but when you play against these types of team, you do get better. That is the bright side we have to focus on."

Both teams have quarterbacks who will look to make an impact.

Nick Foles ranks third in the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards with 1,049 and has not thrown an interception all season. He is currently on a streak of 143 passes without an interception - a school-record.

Oregon’s Darron Thomas ranks third in the FBS with his 10 touchdown throws, and both quarterbacks are ranked in the top-20 in passer rating.

The running game match-up looks to be in the advantage of Oregon and their multi-talented running attack of LaMichael James, De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner if he returns to the field from an injury. The advantage could be the turning point in the game.

James ranks 21st in the FBS in rushing with 325 yards and his 7.7 yards per rush ranks 10th.

“I think my confidence is most definitely where it needs to be right now. That takes time; we've been struggling a little bit because of chemistry,” James said when asked about starting conference play. “It takes time to get that game experience and after playing three games now we're starting to understand reps and we're taking great strides.”

Arizona as a team is averaging only 2.6 yards per carry – 111th in the country.

The tenth-ranked Ducks’ rushing attack ranks fifth in the FBS with their 783 yards throughout the first three games, while the Wildcats are ranked 113th with 167 yards – 94 yards less then Oregon’s average.

While neither team has a receiver rank in the top-30 in yardage – it looks to that the Wildcats could have the advantage due to their depth. Arizona has a six deep roster at receiver.

Juron Criner, the Wildcats’ senior wide out, has five career touchdowns on his eight receptions against Oregon – the most out any active player.

On defense neither team averages in the top-50 in points allowed per game or rushing yards allowed per game.

Oregon does rank 10th in the FBS in passing yards allowed per game with 145 yards, and they have three team interceptions and allowed two touchdowns.

This could prove to be another turning point in the game. It’s the match-up of Arizona’s Foles against the Oregon defense.

“You really clean it up as you get into Pac-12 play, with the two new teams in it, the championship game, and it's going to be an exciting season,” Oregon head coach Chip Kelly said. “I really don't know how it's going to play itself out. By and large the Pac-12 season opens up next week for everybody, and we got to be ready to go.”

The game is scheduled for a 10:15 p.m. kick-off and will be aired on both ESPN2 and ESPN3. The weather for the day is forecasted for a high of 95 and a low of 68 degrees.

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By Alan K. Fox
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Previous Comments (3)

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2 years ago
Another good read. Keep it goin' Alan.
2 years ago
Foles is due for a couple interceptions. Go Ducks.
2 years ago
Juron Criner is a 1st round talent and finished 9th in receiving yards in 2010. Watch out for this kid, Oregon will no doubt double him all night and he still will probably finish with at least 100 yards and a touchdown or two.

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