Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
A second-half meltdown leaves Arizona reeling heading into its home Pac-12 Conference matchup against No. 21 Oregon State on Saturday night. The Wildcats trailed No. 2 Oregon only 13-0 at the half last week before allowing 36 points in lightning-quick fashion after intermission. The 49-0 loss was not only embarrassing, but leaves Arizona questioning itself on both sides of the ball. It moved the ball but couldn’t score, and fell apart late on defense. Oregon State upset UCLA in its conference opener 27-20 at the Rose Bowl last week, vaulting the undefeated Beavers into the Top 25 for the first time since 2010. Oregon State led throughout the game in an impressive performance against the then-No. 19 Bruins. They’ll get tested in the desert this week against the desperate Wildcats, but they’ve won seven of the last 11 matchups against Arizona.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12 North): Coach Mike Riley is 7-4 all-time against the Wildcats and last year’s 37-27 victory over Arizona directly led to the firing of Wildcat coach Mike Stoops. Oregon State led that game 30-6 and had to withstand a furious Arizona comeback bid. Both Beavers’ wins this season have come against ranked teams and quarterback Sean Mannion has been superb. The sophomore threw for a career-high 379 yards and two touchdowns last week. Mannion has gone over 200 yards passing in 13 straight games.
ABOUT ARIZONA (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12 South): The Wildcats moved the ball into the red zone six times against Oregon last week but came up empty. It was the first time in a calendar year that an Arizona quarterback failed to throw for 300 yards in a game. Arizona quarterbacks threw interceptions on three of four passes in the second half last week and two of them were returned for scores. Quarterback Matt Scott, a fifth-year senior, fell to 7-2 as a starter. Scott has taken over for Nick Foles, who threw for 378 yards with two costly interceptions in last season’s contest. Overall, Arizona has won four straight games at home and five of its last six overall. The Wildcats haven’t won five straight home games since 2009. Arizona will face an Oregon State team which runs a pro style offense – all four of it’s previous games this season were against teams that use a spread offense.
1. Oregon State coach Mike Riley is tied for the most wins in school history (74).
2. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is 34-8 in September.
3. Oregon State is second in the nation in rushing defense and leads the conference in time of possession.