The Arizona Wildcats are coming off a huge victory over the No. 9-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes and this week the Wildcats are taking on the California Golden Bears in the opener for both teams in conference play. As for the game itself it should be entertaining.
One of the questions is though will Nick Foles look for payback after last years debacle in Berkeley. It wasn't as if Foles had a particularly bad game throwing for 201 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
It was a drive where the Wildcats, ranked No. 18 at the time, were looking to put the game out of reach for the Bears. On the drive, it looked like the Wildcats were ready to march down the field and put the game away, but Tyson Alualu made a play on 3rd-and-short that changed the outcome of the game.
Foles had rolled out and was trying to escape Alualu when he attempted to make a throw, but Alualu batted the ball up in the air which went right back to Foles. Instead of letting the ball bounce for an incompletion and a 4th-and-3 at the 25, Foles attempted to throw the football.
This meant a five-yard penalty from the sport of the foul and the penalty took the Wildcats out of field goal range. So, on fourth down the the Wildcats went for the first down, but fell short. With the turnover, the very next play was to Shane Vereen, who took the hand-off from Kevin Riley and scored on a 61-yard run that capped the scoring in the game.
So, from near loss for the Bears to an eventual 24-16 win over the Wildcats.
This year, though, the Wildcats have been impressive in their three wins, although a big lead against Iowa was erased, but Foles led the Wildcats on the go ahead touchdown. The defense sealed off the win as there were three consecutive sacks by the Willdcats defense.
They key for the Wildcats defense is led by Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed so the Bears which means the offensive line has to be careful in protecting Riley, but making sure to open lanes up for running back Shane Vereen to run through.
Another key for the Bears to have success against the Wildcats is to score early and get the crowd out of the game. This means by utilizing each weapon the Bears have offensively meaning getting Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen the ball, and Vereen of course having a huge day on the ground so the Bears can keep the Willdcats offense off of the field.
What will also show though is how well the secondary is going to hold up going against Juron Criner and David Douglas. These mathchups will be a test for the Bears as Foles is one of the better quarterbacks in the Pac-10.
Finally for the Bears in order to win the defense needs to get pressure on Foles, stop running backs Nic Grigsby and Greg Nwoko. The reason is last time the Bears were in Tucson, Keola Antolin ran through the defense without much problems.
The game should be one of the better matchups in the Pac-10 season, if the Bears control the ball, get after the quarterback, and get Vereen going this game should be a good one if not it could turn into a convincing victory.
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