When the No. 15 Arizona Wildcats start their grueling final four games of the season traveling to Palo Alto, they will also be beginning their final push for the Rose Bowl. To smell roses the Wildcats will have to beat a scorching Andrew Luck and No. 13 Stanford, which beat the Washington Huskies last week in Seattle 41-0.
Nick “Sunshine” Foles is expected to return which many view as a blessing, but one item Arizona head coach Mike Stoops cannot forget is Matt Scott. The savior for the past two games filling in for the injured Foles, Scott has impressed and also brought pieces of this offense back to life.
With Foles under center, Stoops and the Arizona offense will be urging to throw the ball deep down field to Arizona’s talented receivers. With this game fixing to be a shootout, Stoops must not forget what the offense accomplished with Scott.
While Scott was starting, the rushing attack of the Wildcats exploded, going from 120 yards per game in the first six games, to 249 yards per game the past two games. With Foles, Stoops forgets about a strong rushing game which is lead by their veteran offensive line.
Foles is a good quarterback and has demonstrated he can find his receivers, but relying too much on the passing game will make this offense one-sided. That was Arizona’s problem against Oregon State—they only had 101 yards rushing on only 19 attempts.
To beat the Stanford defense, the Cats will have to keep them on their heels. One way to do that is getting Keola Antolin and Nic Grigsby more involved in the offense like they have been the past two weeks. In those two games Antolin put up 225 rushing yards with three touchdowns, as Grigsby added two touchdowns.
Not only will the rushing game keep Stanford’s defense off balance, but it will open up passing lanes for Foles along with keeping Stanford quarterback phenom Andrew Luck off of the field.
The easiest way for Arizona to avoid Stanford’s offense from putting up big points is for Arizona’s offense to win the possession battle. The less the ball is in the hands of Luck, the better for the Cats.
Part of that running game will have to come through Scott.
Even though Foles is back, Arizona will have to utilize Scott who can pick up yards with his scrambling ability. Against Washington, Arizona had Grigsby run the Wildcat offense (in no relation to the school’s mascot). If they try it with Scott, don’t be surprised to see some success as the defense will have to choose for Scott to beat them with his feet or arm.
Against Oregon, Stanford’s only loss, Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas scrambled for 117 yards as running back LaMichael James ran for 257 yards. Thomas, a dual threat quarterback, kept Stanford’s defense guessing behind an already strong rushing attack.
When Arizona gets to Stanford Stadium, they will have to hit the ground running to capture this very important win.