Mike Stoops thinks Johnny Manziel should keep out of jail & off Twitter if he wants to win another Heisman
A week after Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M embarrassed Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl, Sooners defensive coordinator had some backhanded compliments for the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback. Mike Stoops said to the Tulsa World that
“If they can keep (Manziel) out of jail or keep him eligible, he’s gonna be pretty good. If they can keep him off the Twitter, he might have 3-4 Heismans. He’ll have that type of ability.”
Stoops might have thought he was being funny, but Manziel just got done lighting up his defense for 516 total yards and four touchdowns.
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features Oklahoma State University Cowboys taking on the University of Arizona Wildcats in the 18th annual Alamo Bowl here in San Antonio, Texas.
Oklahoma State,10-2, 6-2 Big 12, finished in a three-way tie atop the Big 12 South and lost out in a chance to play in the Big 12 Championship by way of a tiebreaker through the BCS standings this season. The Cowboys controlled their own destiny heading into the season finale against their rival Oklahoma but came out with a 47-41 loss in Stillwater back in November.
The Cowboys had the nation’s No. 1 ranked offense this season, averaging an eye popping 537.6 ypg and had the country’s top-ranked passing offense as well. Big 12 Coach of the Year Mike Gundy saw his Cowboys set school records for points (539), total offensive yards (6,451), passing yards (4,256) and touchdown passes (34) in single season in 2010.
The center piece of the Cowboys offensive juggernaut is quarterback Brandon Weeden and 2010 Biletnikoff Award winner and unanimous All-American sophomore Justin Blackmon. Blackmon caught 102 passes for 1,665 yards and 18 touchdowns in just 11 games en route to being named the nation’s top wide receiver. The Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year also added a pair of scores with a 69-yard run and a blocked punt return and ranked first in the country in receiving ypg with 151.36. Blackmon tied the NCAA record with his 11th consecutive game of at least 100 receiving yards and a score in the Oklahoma game and needs only 8 yards to break Larry Fitzgerald’s NCAA record for receiving yards by a sophomore.
Weeden broke Oklahoma States single-season record for passing touchdowns with 32 and became the first Cowboy quarterback to pass for over 4,000 yards in a season with 4,037. He completed 67.4 percent of his passes but had 13 interceptions.
Not to be forgotten is running back Kendall Hunter, who rushed for 1,516 yards to lead the Big 12 and tied for the conference lead with 16 touchdowns this season. He averaged 5.8 ypc and 126.3 ypg on just 261 carries.
The Cowboys also have one more weapon in their aresenal as they have the 2010 Lou Groza Award winner, Dan Bailey, as the nation’s top placekicker, who was 24-for-28 on field goals this year including a pair of from 52 yards.
Arizona, 7-5, 4-5 Pac-10, is headed in the right direction under head coach Mike Stoops as they are making its third straight bowl appearance. The Wildcats got off to an impressive 7-1 start to the year before going on a four game lossing streak that started with a loss to Stanford. Arizona is also a high powered throwing offense as they ranked 9th in the nation with 310 ypg.
Arizona is led by its own 1-2 punch in quarterback Nick Foles and wide receiver Juron Criner. Foles completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 2,911 yards with 19 touchdowns with 7 interceptions in just 10 games this season. The bulk of the yardage was dished out to first-team All-Pac 10 selection and second-team All-American Criner, who totaled 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns on 73 receptions while averaging 16.2 yards per reception. Criner’s yardage and reception totals were both tops in the Pac-10.
Fellow juniors David Douglas and David Roberts provide depth as secondary options in the Wildcats air attack. Douglas was second on the team with 46 catches for 424 yards with 5 touchdowns and Roberts finished second to Criner with 468 receiving yards with just a pair of touchdowns.
The Wildcats rushing game features a pair of capable backs in junior Keola Antolin and senior Nic Grigsby. While neither player stood out in terms of yardage, the two combined for 15 of the team’s 20 rushing touchdowns. Antolin led the team with 667 rushing yards and his 4.7 yards per carry, while Grigsby averaged an equally solid 4.6 yards per tote with 474 yards and 8 touchdowns.
This will be the first meeting between Oklahoma State and Arizona since 1942 with the all-time series split at 3-3. This is the first year the Alamo Bowl will feature both the Pac-10 and Big 12 Conferences as for the past 15 years, the game has seen the matchup of the Big 12 against Big Ten competition. This will also serve as a preview to a home-and-home series between the two schools starting in Stillwater next season.
PICK: University of Arizona Wildcats
This game goes down on the ESPN2 network and it features Louisiana Tech University Bulldogs taking on Boise State University Broncos at Bronco Stadium.
Head coach Sonny Dykes is in his first year of head coaching and enters tonight’s matchup with a 3-4 overall record and 2-1 in Western Athletic Conference after spending two years as offensive coordinator under Mike Stoops. The Bulldogs last weekend beat Idaho 48-35 at home to build a two game winning streak and look to take that momentum on the road.
The Bulldogs are lead by senior quarterback Ross Jenkins, 885 yards 6 touchdowns 2 INTs, who missed three of the teams four losses due to an injury. The Bulldogs though are glad to have Jenkins back at full strength since he is completing 70.5 percent of his throws.
Coach Dykes likes to put the ball in the air and that rings benefits for junior wide receiver Taulib Ikharo, 309 yards 1 touchdown, and sophomore Richie Casey, 308 yards 2 touchdowns, as they both have over 25 receptions. The rushing attack is handled by Tennessee transfer junior Lennon Creer, 568 yards 4 touchdowns, who is averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
Head coach Chris Petersen has his Broncos once again perfect on the season and trying to get voters to give them a shot at the BCS National Championship game. The Broncos are 6-0 overall with a 2-0 record in the WAC and are playing in the schools first ever Tuesday night game. The offensive duties are handled by junior quarterback Kellen Moore, 1567 yards 16 touchdowns 1 INT, who has been only sack twice on the year allowing him to stay upright and complete 69.5 percent of his throws. He leads team that is 4th in nation in scoring and 13th in passing yards per game.
When Moore looks down field he often looks in the direction of senior wide receiver Titus Young, 581 yards 4 touchdowns, and senior Austin Pettis, 387 yards 4 touchdowns, to move the chains. The rushing attack turned into a two running back system ever since D.J. Harper was lost for the season. The majority of the rushing carries are given to junior Doug Martin, 544 yards 4 touchdowns, who is averaging 7.4 yards per carry but the short yardage situations are handled by senior Jeremy Avery, 192 yards 5 touchdowns.
Defensively the Broncos are only allowing 12 points per game which is good for 2nd best in the nation.
Louisiana Tech has dropped eight in a row to the Broncos, including a 45-35 defeat last season.
PICK: Boise State University Broncos
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features University of Washington Huskies taking on the University of Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium.
Head coach Steve Sarkisian brings his Huskies down to Arizona with a 3-3 overall record and 2-1 in the Pac-10 after beating Oregon State 35-34 in double-overtime. Washington hasn’t been able to get much of a rhythm going this season having alternated wins and losses through six games. The team is lead by senior quarterback Jake Locker, 1431 yards 13 touchdowns 4 INTs, who has added 276 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.
Junior wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, 623 yards 9 touchdowns, has clearly been his go to target and he showed that last weekend by making nine catches for 146 yards and 4 touchdowns. The rushing attack is lead by sophomore Chris Polk, 571 yards 3 touchdowns, is averageing 5.2 ypc.
Defensively there is a lot of work Sarkisian needs to bring to the team as they are giving up 31 points per game and that ranks 97th in the nation. The Huskies run defense has been a real issue surrendering 197.5 ypg and has given up 16 of its 23 touchdowns via the run. The only real standout is senior linebacker Mason Foster who leads the team with 72 tackles this year.
Head coach Mike Stoops has his Wildcats 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Pac-10 after rebounding from its first loss of the season with a 24-7 victory over Washington State last weekend. Junior quarterback Nick Foles, 1600 yards 9 touchdowns 5 INTs, leads the Arizona offense that ranks 9th in the nation in passing with 308.8 ppg. When Arizona needs to go to the ground game they turn to senior Nic Grigsby, 340 yards 6 touchdowns, and junior Keola Antolin, 218 yards 3 touchdowns, as they average 5.3 and 4.7 ypc.
Foles though was knocked out of last weeks game and will miss at least two weeks with a sprained knee suffered which is huge considering he was converting 75.3 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 266.7 ypg. Junior quarterback Matt Scott, 220 yards 1 touchdown 1 INTs, stepped in after Foles but only has 33 pass attempts to his credit this season.
Washington leads the all-time meeting between the two schools 17-8-1, including a 36-33 triumph in Seattle last season.
PICK: University of Arizona Wildcats
This game goes down on the Versus network and it features the University of Arizona Wildcats taking on Washington State University Cougars at Martin Stadium.
Head coach Mike Stoops takes his Wildcats up to Washington with an overall record of 4-1 and 1-1 in the Pac-10. After opening the season with four straight wins, including an upset of Iowa, the Wildcats were handed a 29-27 loss to Oregon State last weekend. The loss capped a four-game home stand for Arizona, which was playing its first game as a top-10 team since 1999.
Arizona is lead by junior quarterback Nick Foles, 1529 yards 9 touchdowns 5 INTs, is leading an offense that ranks 5th in the nation in passing as he is completing 74.9 percent of his throws. When Foles goes to the air it’s almost certain that he is looking for junior wide receiver Juron Criner, 531 yards 3 touchdowns. The explosive Criner is averaging 106.2 receiving yards per game. Foles also has a pair of solid serviceable wide receivers in juniors David Douglas, 235 yards 2 touchdowns, and William Wright, 215 yards 2 touchdowns. Senior running back Nic Grigsby, 274 yards 5 touchdowns, does most of the running but make no mistake the Wildcats are throw first team.
Defensively Arizona are only permitting just 99.6 ypg on the ground and just 2.8 yards per carry. Freshman defensive tackle Justin Washington has quickly become the focal point having registered 23 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks.
Head coach Paul Wulff continues his losing ways in his tenure with the Cougars as he is now 4-27 and has the team this year at 1-5 overall with no wins in conference play as they are 0-3. The Cougars only win this year came against a Divison II school.
Washington State has sophomore quarterback Jeff Tuel, 1478 yards 9 touchdowns 5 INTs, manning under center. His weapons include freshman Marquess Wilson, 515 yards 2 touchdowns, and junior Jared Karstetter, 361 yards 4 touchdowns, but are often playing from behind.
The Cougars defense is their weakness in which they rank a disgusting 118th in the nation in allowing teams to score on them at an average of 42 point per game.
The Wildcats, who have won four straight against the Cougars, lead the all-time series 24-13.
PICK: University of Arizona Wildcats
This game goes down on the Versus network with Oregon State University Beavers taking on the University of Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium.
Head coach Mike Riley takes his Beavers down to Arizona at 2-2 overall and 1-0 in the Pac-10. The Beavers are coming off 31-28 win against the other Arizona school. The Beavers two losses have been to 5th ranked TCU and 4th ranked Boise State this season.
Oregon State is lead by the Texas brothers Jacquizz Rodgers, 398 yards 6 touchdowns, and James Rodgers, 113 yards receiving 1 touchdown. The Beavers don’t have to soley rely on the Rodgers as they have sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz, 720 yards 6 touchdowns, who has thrown zero interceptions on the season. Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Bishop, 173 yards 1 touchdowns, has quickly become one of Katz’s favorite targets.
Defensively the Beaver are allowing a whopping 194.8 yards per game on the ground and 8 rushing touchdowns in just the four games.
Head coach Mike Stoops is trying to give the Wildcats their second Pac-10 win this season but more importantly their first 5-0 start since 1998. Surprisingly this is the Wildcats fourth consecutive home game, which has claimed a victory in 15 of its last 18 contests played in Tucson.
The Wildcats will go as far as junior quarterback Nick Foles, 1089 yards 6 touchdowns 4 INTs, take them. Foles is completing 74.5 percent of his passes so far this season. Foles generally looks to junior wide receiver Juron Criner, 352 yards 2 touchdowns, when he goes to the air. Criner is not the target at Foles disposal as he also has a the threat of junior David Douglas, 201 yards 2 touchdowns, and junior William Wright, 151 yards 2 touchdowns.
Arizona needs to start seeing some production out of its rushing attack so it can finally takes some weight off of Foles. The rushing attack is lead by senior Nic Grigsby, 252 yards 5 touchdowns, but his yards having been once Foles has established a large lead.
The Wildcats defense is limiting opponents to just 11 points per game which is 3rd best in the nation while not allowing one touchdown on the ground. The unit has held opponents to 101.2 ypg on the ground and 129.5 ypg through the air.
Arizona holds a 21-11-1 advantage in the all-time matchup between the two schools but the Beavers have won 9 of the last 11 meetings and four straight in Tucson since a 27-7 loss in 1997.
PICK: University of Arizona Wildcats
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the University of Iowa Hawkeyes take on the University of Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium in Tucson.
The Hawkeyes come in undefeated having beat Eastern Illinois, 37-7, and Iowa State, 35-7, but not really tested. Iowa is led by Kirk Ferentz, who owns an 83-55 mark in his 12 years at the top. Iowa isn’t the flashiest offensive team but has been a surprise on offense. The Hawkeyes have averaged 457 yards in two both games this year all maned by senior quarterback Ricky Stanzi, 29-64 for 433 yards 3 touchdowns and zero interceptions. However Stanzi is not alone in the offense attack as sophomore running back Adam Robinson, 265 yards and 4 touchdowns, looks to be one of the top backs in the Big Ten.
Coach Ferentz has 8 defensive starters returning including ALL-SGE-NCAA Football Team member and Orange Bowl MVP Adrian Clayborn and have held their first two opponents to 216 ypg and 14 total points. The Hawkeyes also have more talent on defense than just Clayborn like teammate senior defensive tackle in Karl Klug,10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, and senior linebacker Jeremiha Hunter,14 tackles.
Arizona head coach Mike Stoops,who was an All-American safety at Iowa in 1984, brings his Wildcats into this game 2-0 and has amassed a record of 35-39 in his six-plus years at the school. The Wildcats have averaged 503.5 total yards and are 10th in the nation in passing, 344 ypg with junior quarterback Nick Foles completing 83.1 percent of his attempts.
Foles, who permanently took over the starting job from Matt Scott midway through last season’s 27-17 loss in Iowa City, will look for help from senior running back Nic Grigsby, 160 yards 5 touchdown. Foles favorite target is junior wide receiver Juron Criner, 12 catches 236 yards one touchdown.
Arizona has been downright stingy on defense as well, as it has yet to allow a touchdown this season and is 15-1 since 2008 when holding opponents under 120 rushing yards, and 3-9 otherwise. The Wildcats defense already has 4 players with double digit tackles, led by junior linebacker Paul Vassallo, 14 tackles, and senior safety Joseph Perkins,13. The team is averaging 6 tackles for a loss and already created 5 turnovers.
The all-time series between these two teams in tied at 6-6. The Hawkeyes have won four of the last five meetings with the most recent victory going to the Wildcats who won in Tucson back in 1998.
PICK: University of Iowa Hawkeyes
This game goes down on the ESPN network and it features the University of Arizona Wildcats take on the University of Toledo Rockets at the Glass Bowl in Toledo. It’s also happens to be the first time that a Pac-10 school will travel to a school from the Mid-American Conference.
Head coach Mike Stoops shaped upped his Wildcats to a 8-5 record and 6-3 in the conference last season but suffered a humiliating loss against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the Holiday Bowl to finish off last year. It was however the first time since 1997-98 that an Arizona squad went to back to back bowls.
Junior quarterback Nick Foles looks to put together another solid season under center after throwing for 2,486 yards 19 touchdowns 9 INTS. Foles top target Juron Criner, 45 catches 582 yards 9 touchdowns, returns but the rest of the receiving core looks bleak at this moment. The balance of Arizona’s offense is what made this unit dangerous last season and with the return of running backs Keola Antolin, 637 yards 4 touchdowns, and Nic Grigsby, 567 yards 5 touchdowns, give the Wildcats a solid one-two punch to compliment the passing attack.
Arizona’s defense was based on speed and the tandem at defensive end Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed, who have each been the teams sacks leaders the last two seasons. Reed led the team in 2008 and Elmore took that honor last season. While the front line looks primed for a big season, the linebackers for Arizona are a big question mark.
On the Toledo side, head coach Tim Beckman, who is entering his second year, watched his Rockets finish the season 5-7 and 3-5 in the Mid-American Conference West Division. The Rockets started off stronger than 2008 but had nearly the same results when they dropped four of its last five.
The Rockets will have to overcome the loss of quarterback Aaron Opelt and turn to sophomore quarterback Austin Dantin, 962 yards 4 touchdowns 4 INTS, who saw very little time under center. Eric Page no doubt will be his go-to target as the he lead the team with 82 receptions 1,159 yards 7 touchdowns as just a freshman. It was top marks for all freshman in the country. Coach Beckman will also begin the season with a new starter at tailback in Morgan Williams, 444 yards 2 touchdowns, who is replacing DuJuane Collins.
The defensive side for Toledo was one for concern and coach Beckman will look to improve drastically in all aspects. The strength of this unit is up front where defensive end Alex Johnson returns and that of linebacker Archie Donald, 116 tackles.
The Wildcats have won the previous two matchups against Toledo, including a 41-16 victory in 2008.
PICK: University of Arizona Wildcats
Louisiana Tech hired Arizona offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes as head coach to replace Derek Dooley who left for the University of Tennessee head coaching position. At age 40, Dykes becomes one of the nation’s youngest coaches in the country joining coach Dooley and Temple coach Al Golden as the youngest.
Dykes has coached in college for 15 years and has been with Arizona since 2007, serving as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He has never been a college head coach.
He won the 2006 Mike Campbell Top Assistant Award, presented by the All-American Football Foundation, and was a nominee for the 2009 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Dykes is the son of former longtime Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes. He played baseball for the Red Raiders in college and later returned to Lubbock to become an assistant football coach on Mike Leach’s staff. Dykes runs a spread offense that helped revive Arizona’s offense, which had struggled under coach Mike Stoops.
The Wildcats set numerous school passing records under Dykes and finished 10th in the country in passing in 2007. This season, Arizona won eight games and averaged 384.5 yards and 27.4 points per game.
He coached at Texas Tech for seven seasons under Leach, rising to co-offensive coordinator in 2005.
Louisiana Tech was 4-8 last season, finishing tied for fifth in the Western Athletic Conference at 3-5.
In a rematch of the 1998 Holiday Bowl, Arizona Wildcats clash with the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the 32nd edition of this event at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Wildcats have enjoyed a terrific campaign, although it had the potential to be even better. Arizona showed its resiliency and finished the regular season with two straight wins, including a 21-17 triumph at USC. This is Arizona’s 15th all-time bowl appearance and its second in a row under head coach Mike Stoops. The Wildcats are 6-7-1 all-time in such games following a 31-21 win over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl last season.
For the Huskers, they were just moments away from shocking the nation and playing in a BCS Bowl. Instead, Nebraska faltered in the final moments and watched Texas boot a 46-yard field goal on the last play of a 13-12 loss in the Big 12 title game. Despite the setback, the Huskers gained a lot of credibility for that effort, if their 9-4 record wasn’t enough already. Nebraska will be making its 46th all-time appearance in a bowl game, owning a 23-22 mark in such bouts. Last season, the Huskers participated in the Gator Bowl and they defeated Clemson, 26-21, in that game.
Nick Foles took over the starting job at quarterback earlier in the season and that move paid immediate dividends for the Wildcats. The sophomore gunslinger played like a veteran and completed 66.0 percent of his pass attempts, with 19 touchdowns against just eight picks. It didn’t hurt that Foles was well protected either, as Arizona gave up just nine sacks. Juron Criner, a 6-4 wideout, uses his size well and was one of Foles’ main targets with 43 receptions, 580 yards and nine touchdowns on the season. Mike Stoops Wildcats are by no means a one-dimensional team, as the ground game is churning out 168.3 ypg behind a 5.0 yard per carry average. Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin have combined for 1,127 yards and nine scores on the ground and they can rip off chunks of yards at time. Grigsby however, is listed as questionable for this game with a shoulder injury.
Arizona’s defense has been good for the most part this season and ranks 21st nationally in yards allowed, surrendering 315.8 ypg. The unit has given up two touchdowns or fewer in four out its last five games and is permitting just 23.2 ppg for the season. The Wildcats have done a better job versus the run (112.1 ypg) than the pass (203.9 ypg), and they have fared well in generating 34 sacks. The unit though, has only forced 19 turnovers, with 12 of them coming on interceptions. Trevin Wade tops the rosters in interceptions with five and he has also made 66 stops. Earl Mitchell and Ricky Elmore are two players to keep an eye out for up front, as they have combined for 17 sacks and 24 tackles for loss.
Offensively, Bo Pelini Cornhuskers have struggled this season, averaging a measly 317.2 total ypg. The team had issues down the stretch as well, as the offense was held below 270 yards in four of the squad’s final five outings. Tailback Roy Helu Jr. is the most important player to the offense. Helu Jr. rushed for 1,139 yards and 10 touchdowns during the regular season and figures to see a bulk of the work in this game. The ground game has had to be good this season, as quarterback Zac Lee has struggled with consistency. Lee threw for just 13 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, while completing 58.8 percent of his tosses. Niles Paul is the main threat in the passing game and he leads the team with 36 catches and 673 receiving yards.
On the defensive side of the ball is where the Huskers have stood out, ranking second nationally in scoring defense (11.2 ppg) and ninth in total defense (284.5 ypg). Texas had been averaging 451.6 ypg and 43.0 ppg.The Huskers have been dominant against the run, yielding 95.5 ypg, and every bit as good against the pass, surrendering 189.1 ypg. The defense can also make the big play, racking up 19 interceptions to go with a whopping 42 sacks.
Highlighting the defense is Ndamukong Suh, a 6-4 defensive tackle that finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy race and took home several awards. A unanimous First-Team All-American, Suh was a force all season and he led the team with 82 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He made an even bigger name for himself in the Big 12 title game, when he racked up 12 tackles and 4.5 sacks despite facing double teams all game long.
This is the third time these two schools are meeting on the gridiron and the first since Arizona scored a 23-20 win over Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl. The teams played to a 14-14 tie in the first meeting, which took place in 1961.
PICK: University of Nebraska Cornhuskers
Southern California has been to the Rose Bowl five times since any other Pac-10 school has gone, but that streak is almost certain to end this season. Oregon can make it official Saturday by winning for the ninth time in 10 games. The Ducks (8-2, 6-1) are the league’s only remaining team with one loss in conference play.
But Arizona (6-3, 4-2) is one of three clubs along with Stanford and Oregon State with two Pac-10 defeats, and Mike Stoops Wildcats could also secure their first trip to the Rose Bowl with wins in their final three games. est.
That will be a tough task against the Ducks, who are tied for the nation’s sixth-best rushing offense even though star sophomore LeGarrette Blount has been suspended for nearly the entire season after throwing a punch following a 19-8 loss at Boise State in the opener. Oregon continues to rely on freshman LaMichael James who ranks 10th nationally with an Oregon freshman-record 1,193 rushing yards, including more than 100 in five straight games.
Oregon coach Chip Kelly’s Ducks are seeking their first Rose Bowl bid since 1995, also have a major threat in junior quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who has run for 9 touchdowns and thrown for 11 while leading an offense that averages 37.1 points, ninth-best nationally. Tight end Ed Dickson is as good as it gets in the country, pacing Oregon in receptions 37, receiving yards 488 and 5 touchdowns catches
Arizona figures to provide some resistance with the Pac-10′s third-best rush defense, but were gouged for a season-worst 176 yards on the ground at California last Saturday. The Golden Bears were missing injured star running back Jahvid Best, but backup Shane Vereen totaled 159 yards on 30 carries in Cal’s 24-16 victory.
The Wildcats also likely need to improve their offense if they hope to keep up with the Ducks. Arizona averaged 37.6 points in its first five Pac-10 games before struggling against Cal, totaling season lows in points and rushing yards (73) as starting running back Nic Grigsby was sidelined with a shoulder problem. Quarterback Nick Foles attempted 41 passes but threw for just 201 yards, his third straight game under 250 after he averaged nearly 400 in meetings with Washington and Stanford in October.
Senior wideout Terrell Turner currently paces the team in receptions 42, 407 yards, 4 touchdowns and Juron Criner 29 catches, for 403 yards, 5 touchdowns are all viable options down field.
The offense is not the only unit that has delivered in Tucson this season, as Arizona has been effective against both the run (104.9 ypg) and the pass (200.2 ypg).
Junior end Ricky Elmore 34 tackles, 8.5 sacks is the player to watch for on the defensive line. Veteran LBs Xavier Kelley 55 tackles, two sacks and Vuna Tuihalamaka 52 tackles, one INT are formidable in the middle of the defense, while senior safety Cam Nelson 50 tackles, three sacks, one INT and sophomore cornerback Trevin Wade 46 tackles, four INTs lead the way in the secondary.
Oregon leads the all-time series by a count of 20-14, but the two teams has split 18 meetings at Arizona Stadium.
PICK: University of Oregon Ducks
The Arizona Wildcats may again be without Nic Grigsby as they try to keep pace in the Pac-10 race, but they’ll face a Golden Bears team trying to get by without Jahvid Best one of the nation’s top rushers.
Though Grigsby missed a matchup with Washington State last Saturday, Arizona (6-2, 4-1) rushed for 294 yards in a 48-7 win. Four different players rushed for at least 40 yards to make up for the loss of Grigsby, who has 535 yards and five touchdowns.
Greg Nwoko, Grigsby’s backup, also missed the game with a shoulder sprain, but Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said he might play against the Golden Bears (6-3, 3-3).
Arizona has the 11th-ranked rushing defense in the nation, allowing 96.0 yards per contest. The Wildcats won’t have to face Best as they try to at least stay within one-half of first-place Oregon in the Pac-10. The Wildcats will be getting back defensive end Brooks Reed will likely start versus the Bears. Reed returned to the lineup against the Cougars after missing three games with a high ankle sprain and had a sack.
California lost 31-14 to Oregon State last Saturday, losing Best and its spot in the poll. Best was released from the hospital Sunday after sustaining a concussion on a fall in the end zone in the second quarter. Best, one of the country’s most dynamic players, has 16 TDs and 867 rushing yards. Shane Vereen, who has 386 yards rushing and eight touchdowns overall, will replace Best in the starting lineup.
Arizona seems to have caught a break as it tries to end a three-game losing streak at Berkeley, where it has been outscored 114-41 during that skid. Another loss to Cal, though, wouldn’t be disastrous. The Wildcats can afford a loss to the Bears or Arizona State and still earn their first Rose Bowl berth. If Arizona beats the Ducks and USC, it could finish with two league losses and still own the tiebreaker against every other team.
Cal has fallen to .500 in conference play after winning its previous three. The Bears struggled following Best’s injury, finishing with 239 total yards after averaging 39.0 points during their winning streak.
Bears coach Jeff Tedford’s quarterback Kevin Riley completed 19 of 34 passes for 200 yards and a touchdown while also throwing an interception. He came back after being helped off the field following a hard hit just before halftime.
Riley has passed for 2,005 yards and 14 TDs while getting picked off three times. He faced Arizona for the first time last season, completing 7 of 19 passes for 97 yards with an INT in Cal’s 42-27 loss on Oct. 18, 2008.
That tied the series between the teams 13-13-2.
PICK: University of Arizona