The University of Arizona

Wildcats Venture Into Enemy Territory at Oregon

Arizona Athletics | September 19, 2012

No. 22 Arizona will travel to Eugene, Ore., to take on No. 3 Oregon in the Pac-12 opener for both schools on Sept. 22. The game will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. PDT.

Matt Scott
Matt Scott
Richard Morrison
Richard Morrison

A pair of nationally ranked unbeatens, both unscathed in non-conference action, will foray into Pac-12 play when No. 22 Arizona faces No. 3 Oregon on Sept. 22. The game will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. PDT.

Two of the nation's longest current win streaks will push their limits, with the winner gaining a leg up on competition in its respective Pac-12 division.

Chip Kelly, the mastermind of the crazed "blur offense," will meet Rich Rodriguez, one of the first pioneers of the up-tempo spread offenses and one who considers huddles a waste of time.

It will be another shootout between the schools, which share some entertaining recent history. The Cats and Ducks have combined for a mindboggling 3,603 yards on 539 plays in this still very young season.

The don't-blink pace of the offenses should not steal all the attention, though. Defense, notably the ability – or inability – to force turnovers and get stops, will be critical. In that regard, both squads have had their moments but will face the stiffest tests to date.

How will Arizona's new 3-3-5 defensive alignment suit defending De'Anthony Thomas, Kenjon Barner, Marcus Mariota and the high-flying Ducks? Does Matt Scott, one of the premier dual threat quarterbacks in the nation, continue his sterling start to his senior campaign alongside a cast of highly-productive skill players? Can the Wildcats, ranked for the second straight week, further establish their "hard edge" mentality and topple a ranked team for the second time in three weeks?

This will be the first venture into enemy territory for the Wildcats in the Rodriguez era.

Last week, Arizona pummeled South Carolina State, 56-0, to improve to 3-0 for the second time in three seasons. The Wildcats rolled up 689 yards of total offense – two shy of a school record – and established new single-game records for first downs (43) and offensive plays (102).

Quarterback Scott continued his efficient play in three quarters of action, completing 30-of-36 passes for 288 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. His backup, B.J. Denker, saw his first action and did not disappoint, completing 6-of-10 attempts for 76 yards and a touchdown.

The rushing attack, led by Daniel Jenkins' 76 yards and a score, rushed for 323 markers on 56 totes. Eight players scored a touchdown, split between four rushing and four receiving. A total of 12 Wildcats recorded a pass reception in the game, while eight finished with positive rushing yards.

Defensively, Jonathan McKnight collected an interception for the second straight game. The Wildcats limited the Bulldogs to just eight first downs in the game, the fewest gained by an opponent in 32 games. In the process, South Carolina State mustered just 154 total yards of offense (65 rushing, 89 passing) on 54 plays. The 2.9 yards per play gained were the fewest against the Wildcats in the last 26 games.

In the passing game, the UA yielded just 2.9 yards per attempt on 25 throws in the game, also the lowest total in the last 26 contests. A total of 75 players saw action in the game.

Arizona moved up to No. 22 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll after entering at No. 24 last week. The Wildcats also improved their ranking to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches' Poll, a week after checking in at No. 25. Prior to their Sept. 9 ranking, Arizona had not been ranked the AP poll since November of 2010, when its streak of 11-consecutive weeks of being ranked was snapped on Nov. 26 at then-No. 1 Oregon, a 48-29 setback for the then No. 20 Wildcats.

Up Next: Arizona will return home to close out its September slate against Oregon State on Sept. 29. The game will be shown live on the Pac-12 Networks with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. MST at Arizona Stadium.