October 13, 2006
Wildcats and Cardinal: Something has to give
This Saturday, Arizona heads to Northern California to take on Stanford. By all accounts, most would consider Stanford and Arizona to be the same team. The only difference is that Arizona's record is 2-4, while Stanford's is 0-6.
Now, when it's said that Stanford and Arizona are the same team, you have to take that statement in stride. The two schools are nearly identical from a statistical standpoint.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Cardinal ranks 103rd in total offense with 278 yards per game. Arizona on the other hand ranks 113th in total offense, cumulating 248 yards per game.
As of late there has been a lot of talk about Arizona's running game being the demise of the season. However, Stanford's running game has not fared much better thus far.
Arizona's rushing attack currently ranks 118th in the nation, averaging just under 55 yards per game. Stanford's rushing attack currently ranks 103rd in the nation, with only 84 yards per game.
The two teams' rushing yards per carry are both under three yards as well. Arizona averages just over 2.1 per carry, while Stanford only averages 2.5 per carry.
As far as the passing game goes, the two teams are almost identical. Stanford ranks 68th in the country for passing yards, averaging just over 194 yards per game. Arizona is currently ranked 70th in the country with just over 193 passing yards per game.
When it comes to scoring offense, both teams are ranked in the bottom of Division I-A. The Wildcats are ranked 115th in the country, averaging 11.17 points per game. Stanford is ranked at 113th, and averages exactly one point higher than the Cats with 12.17 points per game.
On the defensive side of the ball is where things begin to differ between the two schools. Arizona is ranked 76th in the nation, limiting its opponents to 348 yards per game. Stanford on the other hand, ranks third to last in the country at 117th, and allows a whopping 455 yards per game.
Arizona's rush defense is in the top half of schools ranking 55th nationally, and allows 127 rushing yards per game. Stanford, on the other hand, ranks dead last in Division I-A football ranking 119th. Thus far the Cardinal have allowed more than 269 yards per game on the ground.
Prior to the start of the 2006 season, it would have been mighty difficult to find someone to pick Stanford's pass defense to be ranked third in the Pac-10 and 46th in the country.
The Cardinal's secondary averages just over 185 yards per game through the air. Arizona on the other hand had very high expectations for this year's secondary. Midway through the season, the Wildcats rank 92nd in the country and allow 221 yards per game through the air.
Scoring defense is another area where the two teams differ slightly. Even with having played high powered offenses such as LSU, BYU and USC, Arizona has allowed only 22.7 points per game, which ranks 72 nationally. The Cardinals allow more than 36 points per game which is near dead last in the nation, ranking 116th.
It seems as if the only true place that Arizona and Stanford differ is the win column. However, Stanford's winless record isn't an indication of their lack of talent.
Coming out of high school, Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards was a five-star recruit, and ranked as the number two pro-style quarterback in the country. The Cardinal offense has talent, but if Arizona's offense can continue to score, than Stanford's defense will not be able to keep up.
|Arizona's 5 Keys to Victory |
|1. Run the ball: |
If Arizona will be able to rush the ball this year, it will be against Stanford. The Wildcats must rush for 100 yards, or will suffer persecution the rest of the season.
|2. Pressure the QB: |
If Louis Holmes and crew put pressure on quarterback Trent Edwards, than it will give the secondary more opportunities to capitalize.
|3. Force turnovers: |
If Arizona can keep its offense on the field, the Wildcats might run away with this one.
|4. Offensive line: |
The O-Line must create some holes for Arizona's backs. It is the only way that the Cats will gain more than 2.1 yards per carry. Also, it is imperative that they give Adam Austin enough time to find a receiver.
|5. Adam Austin: Austin needs to assume the leadership role of the team. Also, he must find receivers quickly and not record any sacks to put the Cats in third and long. |
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