November 3, 2006

UA looks to pull off upset in Pullman

Arizona is still looking for its fourth win of the season and on Saturday will try to stop the Washington State Cougars from getting their seventh win.

Washington State got into the polls for the first time this season, ranked 25th by the Associated Press and is currently 23rd in the BCS standings. WSU's recent ranking makes the Pac-10 the most represented conference in the BCS standings.

Washington State is surprisingly potent on offense this season, ranked 16th in passing offense and 17th in total offense.

Meanwhile, Arizona's rush defense has sprung itself to the 35th best rush defense in the entire nation, holding its opponents to just over 113 yards per game on the ground.

The biggest challenge for the Wildcats defense will be trying to stop the Cougars air attack. With all of the expectations prior to the start of the season being on Arizona's secondary being one of the best in the nation, there really was nowhere to go but down.

Arizona currently has the 55th best pass defense, allowing just over 195 yards per game. Probably the most shocking statistic is that the Wildcats have registered only five interceptions on the season.

As far as the Cougars defense goes, Arizona will definitely have its hands full. Washington State leads the nation in sacks, primarily due to the duo of Mkristo Bruce and Lance Broadus. The combo has combined for 16 sacks in nine games. That might pose a problem for Arizona, who is currently ranked 103rd in the nation in sacks allowed.

To go along with that vicious pass rush, the Cougars also have a formidable rush defense. Washington State allows just over 105 yards per game, which is good enough to rank 28th in the nation.

Chris Jennings leads the Wildcats with 458 yards and three touchdowns, with an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Chris Henry, who will start against WSU, has gained 248 yards on 60 carries and one touchdown.

Mike Stoops has yet to name a starter against Washington State, however, sophomore Willie Tuitama has been given clearance by the UA medical staff to play in Saturday's game.

Thus far into the season, Tuitama has completed 55 percent of his passes, thrown for 818 yards and three touchdowns with five interceptions.

The majority of those yards have gone to senior Syndric Steptoe and sophomore Mike Thomas. Steptoe is the Wildcats' leading receiver with 37 receptions for 406 yards and a touchdown. Thomas has caught 34 passes for 378 yards and a touchdown.

If there is one thing that Arizona should be looking forward to, it is that Washington State is ranked 99th in the nation in pass defense. The Cougars allow on average more than 235 yards per game.

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