Arizona travels to Oregon State for a matchup under the lights this Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:30 pm ET. This is a matchup between two of the worst teams in the Pac-12. The Wildcats have lost seven games in a row, and their record on the year is 2-8. Oregon State has an identical 2-8 record, and they have a five-game losing streak of their own. Arizona will be looking for revenge after the Beavers whipped them in Tucson 44-7 last year.
Key Matchups to Watch
Marcus McMaryion vs. Brandon Dawkins and Anu Solomon
While McMaryion hasn’t exactly lit things up this year with his 55 percent completion percentage, at least the starting job is firmly his. The Wildcats’ coaching staff can’t seem to make up their minds about who should be playing quarterback for Arizona. Although Dawkins has started the last three weeks for Arizona, Solomon replaced him off the bench in all three contests. Coach Rich Rodriguez said that Solomon might start this week. The consistency of the quarterback situation at Oregon State gives them an advantage over the Wildcats.
Arizona Secondary vs. Oregon State Receivers
This is a matchup that will go a long way towards determining who wins this contest. The Arizona pass defense is the team’s Achilles’ heel. The Wildcats pass defense is ranked 105th in the country, giving up an average of 266.5 yards per game to their opponents. Oregon State wide receiver, Rancho Cucamonga native Victor Bolden Jr., with his 43 receptions and 528 receiving yards, will be one of the biggest playmakers on the field. The Wildcats secondary needs to do a good job of keeping the Beavers receivers in check if they want to win.
Oregon State Defense vs. Arizona’s Read-Option Attack
It is highly unlikely that the Arizona defense will keep Oregon State from scoring plenty, which means that the Arizona offense needs to play well to get a victory. They should be able to find some good holes with their read-option run game against a Beavers defense that ranks 112th nationally against the run, giving up an average of 228.3 yards per game. No matter who is playing quarterback for Arizona, he must find the right reads to keep the offense moving down the field. If they can find some success with their run game, the fast-paced Arizona offense should be able to tire out the Oregon State defenders.
This will be Rodriguez’s first trip to Corvallis, and it will be a new experience for the players as well. Arizona has not traveled to Oregon State since 2011. The coaching staff needs to do a good job of keeping the team focused. Winning this one would help the Wildcats salvage some pride about a disappointing season.