Two of the three undefeated teams in the Pac-12 will go head to head as Arizona take on Oregon, hoping to recreate their upset from last season, and on the way derailing another national title bid for the Ducks.
There’s no doubt Oregon have looked impressive so far, but there’s nothing new about that. Marcus Mariota is completing 74% of his passes and still hasn’t thrown an interception. They’re scoring 48.5 point per game, 4th best in the nation while combining rushing and passing the ball quite well. They have played two cupcakes in South Dakota and Wyoming, but their wins over Michigan State and Washington State (on the road) prove a bit more.
Oregon still have nightmares from their loss to Arizona last season, which cost them going to the Rose Bowl, ending up with two losses and taking out their frustration in a lesser bowl against Texas. They lost 42-16 with Marcus Mariota, who was sacked seven times against the Cougars, throwing two interceptions. Oregon were unable to stop the run that day, as Ka’Deem Carey, now in the NFL, ran for 206 yards while the team finished with 304.
The transition with a new running back and quarterback has been smooth for Arizona, who like Oregon had a bye week to prepare for this game. They overcame a scare against California, beating the Golden Bears 49-45, coming back from 28-6 down at half time. They’re generating 593.8 yards per game on offense, sixth best in the nation, with a freshman quarterback in Anu Solomon and a freshman running back in Nick Wilson.
Solomon is running the ball quite well (167 yards so far) but Wilson has been fantastic, rushing for 482 yards (6.3 per carry) and scoring four touchdowns. Solomon is incharge of the 8th best passing offense in the nation, so far throwing 13 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. His main target has been Cayleb Jones with 29 receptions, 475 yards and six touchdowns. Oregon spread the ball a lot more, but Devon Allen is their leading receiver with five touchdown catches so far this season.
It’s been proven over the last few years that despite being a point and yards juggernaut, the Oregon offense can be slowed down. The question is if Arizona have the needed defense to get the job done, and from what we’ve seen from them so far this season, especially with the game being in Autzen, it’s going to be a bit too much to ask from Solomon to keep up with Mariota and the rest without help from the defense that they might not be able to give him.