October 20, 2006

Wildcats set to take on Beavers

Last week the University of Arizona traveled up to Northern California and beat Stanford by the score of 20-7. Everything seemed to be going right for Arizona, as the hungry Wildcats defense didn't allow a single offensive point.

This week Arizona hosts Oregon State University, in hopes of evening its record at 4-4. OSU is already at .500 with a record of 3-3. With a record of 1-2 in conference play, the Beavers currently are ranked 7th in the Pac-10, one spot ahead of Arizona.

For all intensive purposes, it seems as if Arizona has played the harder part of its schedule. And with three wins already, [fb]Mike Stoops[/db] has a chance to exceed his win total of the previous two seasons.

The biggest question mark that the Wildcats will have to face on Saturday will be the play of third string quarterback Kris Heavner. Although he has been third on the depth chart for the majority of the season, Heavner has 14 starts, and has appeared in 16 games as a Wildcat.

In those 16 games, Heavner has amassed 2,669 yards and thrown for 14 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. Heavner also has a career completion percentage of 53.2, which is higher than senior Adam Austin, and just three percentage points shy of sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama.

Tuitama is still sidelined while recovering from a concussion he received against UCLA and Austin suffered ligament damage to his knee against Stanford while filling in for Tuitama.

After three straight performances with negative net yards rushing, Arizona managed to put on a rushing clinic for the Cardinals, as the Wildcats compiled 220 yards on the ground.

Arizona's rushing defense moved up over the weekend and is now ranked 111th in the country. However, the rushing attack seems to be hit or miss for the Wildcats.

In Arizona's victories over Stephen F. Austin and Stanford, the Wildcats averaged 241.5 yards per game rushing. In its other five games, the Cats have only averaged only 13.2 yards per game on the ground.

Arizona's offensive line did a superb job of creating holes and sustaining pass protection against Stanford, but will need a similar performance if it wants its fifth positive rushing total of the season.

Oregon State's run defense is stingy, allowing just over 109 yards per game. The Beavers also have the 40th ranked total defense in Division I-A football and allow only 302 yards per game. Even worse for Heavner, the Beavers have a top 50 pass defense as well.

A much needed win this Saturday would take the Wildcats out of 8th place in the Pac-10, and with a Washington State loss, possibly bring Arizona in a tie for fifth in the conference.

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