Arizona Football

Five off-the-beaten-path storylines of Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks

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1. Hawaii a hotbed for quarterbacks?

It's time we get the pronunciation of Anu Solomon's first name right

It’s time we get the pronunciation of Anu Solomon’s first name right

At least three players with Hawaiian descent started for FBS teams at the outset of the season, including Arizona’s Anu Solomon and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, who will play on opposite ends tomorrow night in Eugene, Ore. The other is Hawaii’s Ikaika Woolsey, whose parents are from the islands.

Solomon was born in Honolulu, but before he attended Arizona, he lived most of his life in Las Vegas, where he starred at Bishop Gorman High School. Mariota is also from Honolulu.

Solomon, whose real first name is Jarrett but goes by his middle name of Anu, had a homecoming at Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium two years ago when Gorman played Mariota’s alma mater, St. Louis High School of Honolulu. If the game was scheduled one year earlier, Solomon and Mariota would have played each other before tomorrow’s game.

Solomon led Gorman past St. Louis 52-40 completing 14 of 25 passes for 231 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown.

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Folks in Hawaii will be glued to the TV set tomorrow night.

“As a Hawaiian, we’re born to play football,” Solomon told the Arizona Daily Wildcat. “Our fathers have disciplined us to be advanced in this sport.”


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2. Broadcasters: Let’s get Anu’s name pronunciation right.

A friend of mine from Hawaii asked me with a frustrated tone the other day, “It (makes me mad) the way his name is pronounced by people,” my friend said. I edited what he actually said. You get the picture.

“It’s pronounced Ahun-oo, not Ann-oo or A-nu.”

So the slogan, “Anu Era”, does not really work.

I confess to using that before. Won’t ever again.

3. Arizona can not trail at halftime and must lead going into the fourth quarter.

An obvious trend to consider for those who strive to beat the mighty the Ducks under Mark Helfrich: Go into the fourth quarter with the lead, such as Arizona and Stanford did last year.

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If Arizona trails at halftime or is behind going into the final period, all bets suggest the Wildcats are done.

Oregon is 14-0 when leading or tied at halftime under Helfrich. The Ducks are 1-2 when trailing at halftime. They are 0-2 when behind entering the fourth quarter.

With how potent the Ducks’ offense can be, shouldn’t Oregon be a good come-from-behind team? Not so fast (no pun intended). Remember, the defense shares the field and if Oregon scores rapidly, the defense is back out there with little rest against an opponent that is playing with confidence. Also, Oregon is such a dominant program, any deficit is unnatural. The Ducks’ mindset of being invincible is shaken. They generate momentum much better than they overcome it.

4. Chip Kelly and Oregon sped past Arizona and faltering Stoops.

Oregon has the nation’s longest streak of seven years finishing in the AP Top 25 dating to 2007.

Arizona has finished in the rankings in consecutive years only once in 1993 and 1994. The Wildcats were ranked No. 10 in the final poll of 1993 with a 10-2 record coming off the Fiesta Bowl rout over Miami. The 1994 team somehow finished with a No. 20 ranking with an 8-4 record after losing to Utah in the now-defunct Freedom Bowl.

In 2006, the last year Oregon was not ranked in the final AP poll, Arizona dominated the Ducks 37-10 in Eugene in Mike Stoops’ third season. The Ducks finished 7-6 under Mike Bellotti, who was in his 12th season as Oregon’s coach. Chip Kelly was hired as Oregon’s offensive coordinator the following year and the Ducks have been one of the country’s dominant program’s since.

Along with Kelly’s innovative no-huddle, spread offense was the financial backing of Phil Knight of Nike. Oregon became the most trendy program in today’s culture that loves trends (see Twitter).

The combination of Kelly, Knight and Oregon’s image has been difficult for Arizona and many other programs to keep up with starting in 2007. The Wildcats fell further behind with Stoops reaching his zenith in the 2008 season.

5. Will Nick Foles bet Kelly on tomorrow’s outcome?

If former Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has bet Kelly, now his coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, on the outcome of tomorrow’s game nobody knows.

The Philadelphia media has not picked up on that storyline this week.

One thing is for sure: Kelly is glad Foles is on the same sideline despite the fact Oregon beat Arizona three times with Foles as quarterback from 2009-2011.

Foles threw for 1,160 yards and 10 touchdowns in those games against Oregon.

“I’ll tell you what; I’m glad Nick Foles is graduating,” Kelly said after his team’s 56-31 victory in 2011. “I catch myself watching him in awe sometimes. … Nick is a hell of a football player. That kid’s a warrior. He’s as good as anyone in the country.”

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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