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September 30, 2006
Wildcats know that stopping Stanback is the key
After a tough loss against national powerhouse USC, Arizona will look to rebound today against Pac-10 foe Washington.
Last weekend against USC, Arizona's defense allowed 202 yards on the ground, with the Trojans' only rushing touchdown coming in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter.
While Washington has a decent one-two punch coming out of the backfield, its main threat is quarterback Isaiah Stanback. After four games, Stanback has rushed for 301 yards and two touchdowns, and leads the team in rushing attempts with 54.
Arizona defensive tackle Lionel Dotson is quite aware that in order to beat the Huskies, they must first beat Stanback.
"He's a good athlete. He's fast and he can throw the ball," Dotson said. "We want to keep him in the pocket. We don't want him to scramble on us like last year."
In last season's meeting, Washington ran for a total of 333 yards against Arizona, with more than a third coming from the legs of Stanback. The 2005 match-up against the two teams was considered by many to be a trap game for Arizona.
The Cats were still in somewhat of a daze from their win over undefeated UCLA quite possibly overlooked the Huskies.
"We came off a high and then went right back to the bottom," said Arizona cornerback Wilrey Fontenot. "Beating UCLA and then losing to a team that was last in the Pac-10 really hurt."
Fontenot also knows that shutting down Stanback is still a key concern.
"With a quarterback like this it's difficult. Once you're outside the box you don't know what he's going to do," Fontenot said. "Were just going to play the same defense we've been playing and hopefully come out and perform well."
After staying within a touchdown in the fourth quarter during last week's game against USC, Dotson says that he appreciates the media's accolades; however there is still work to be done.
"Everyone is saying we played a good game, but we can still do better," Dotson said. "We know that we have some mistakes to correct, like missed tackling. We are going to focus on certain things so we can get better every week and win some games."
Fontenot says that it is not only the defensive line's job to shut down Stanback, but that it is going to be a team effort.
"We basically need to just keeping him contained," Fontenot said. "Last year he hurt us with running and passing. We just need to keep him in the box and hold him."
Fontenot also says that trust from the other positions on the field is something that has been earned from everyone on the team.
"We're depending on our defensive line to make a lot of plays this week," Fontenot said. "We have confidence in our d-line. We believe in them."
This season's match-up against Washington has the makeup of the same match-up in 2005. The Huskies are coming off a win against undefeated UCLA, and could possibly be overlooking the 2-2 Wildcats. Either way, to say that Arizona needs to win this game is an understatement.
"This game is important because we want to get that first conference win," Dotson said. "Everybody wants to win so we need to so we can stay above .500."