Pac 12 Rivals Clash In Tucson: Oregon Ducks at Arizona Wildcats

#10 Oregon Ducks at Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Stadium – Tucson, Arizona
Saturday, September 24, 2011, 10:15 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Oregon -11 1/2
Current Line: Oregon -15
Opening Total: 62
Current Total: 65 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon -625 / Arizona +500
Current Money Line: Oregon -725 / Arizona +575

Oregon Ducks Running Back LaMichael James
The Oregon Ducks open Pac 12 Conference play at the Arizona Wildcats. The Ducks opened as an 11.5 favorite but wiseguys bet them up to 15 points.

No team in the country has faced a more difficult schedule to start the season outside of perhaps Notre Dame and Tulsa than the Arizona Wildcats. Arizona, coached by Mike Stoops, opened the season with a 41-10 lay-up against Northern Arizona before going to Stillwater to take on the  then #9 Oklahoma St Cowboys. OSU pounded the Wildcats 37-14 in that contest. Then Arizona returned home to face then #6 Stanford and were destroyed 37-10. Now Arizona faces #10 Oregon in Tucson, and then travels to #23 USC next week.

Oregon, coached by Chip Kelly, is 2-1 this year but was ranked #3 in the preseason polls. The Ducks opened the season with a 40-27 loss to #4 LSU in Arlington, Texas that dropped them in the rankings. The Ducks rebounded with blowout wins at home over Nevada 69-20 and Missouri St 56-7. Now the Ducks travel to a reeling Arizona team. Oregon leads the overall series 22-14 against Arizona and has won 14 of the last 16, including a 48-29 victory last year in Eugene. Oregon is 10-9 all time Tuscon against Arizona.

Missouri St jumped out to an early 7-0 lead last week, before Oregon scored the last 56 points of the game to crush the Bears. Oregon had 681 total yards including 416 rushing yards. Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas threw 3 touchdown passes and had 206 passing yards. Thomas added 67 rushing yards. Running back LaMichael James had 204 yards rushing and three scores, and added a catch for 27 yards. Colt Lyerla and Lavasier Tuinei each caught 2 touchdown passes, but no Duck receiver had more than 4 catches. Missouri St had only 289 total yards and 17 first downs. The Bears only had 104 passing yards.

Oregon is averaging 539.7 total yards, including 261 rushing yards and scoring 50.7 points a game. All three are in the top ten nationally. The Ducks have allowed a sack and have 4 turnovers in 3 games. Oregon is 27 for 52 on third and fourth down conversions. The Ducks are giving up 359.3 yards and 22.3 points a game. They have given up 214.3 rushing yards a game, but they have also faced LSU and Nevada, two teams that like to run the ball a lot more than they pass.  The Ducks have forced 4 sacks and 4 turnovers. Oregon opponents are 20/52 on third and fourth down conversions.

Thomas is 55/88 passing with 741 yards, 10 touchdowns and an interception this season, along with 5 carries for 47 yards. James has 42 carries for 325 yards, and 5 touchdowns along with 9 catches, 144 yards,  and a touchdown catch. Running back De’Anthony Thomas has 22 carries, 170 yards, and a rushing touchdown to go along with 10 catches, 153 yards, and 2 scores. Tuinei has 14 catches, 162 yards, and 3 scores. Lyerla has 3 catches, 53 yards, and 3 scores. Rahsaan Vaughn has 5 catches, 109 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Alejandro Maldonado is 17/17 on extra points but has not attempted a field goal this season. Rob Beard is the field goal specialist. He is 3/3 on field goals with a long of 30 yards. Beard is listed as probable with an undisclosed illness against Arizona.

Say what you will about Arizona, but at least they are consistent. They lost at Oklahoma St 37-14 and home against Stanford 37-10. In both games Arizona gave up early touchdowns and found themselves in a hole, 21-0 against Oklahoma St and 14-0 against Stanford. Arizona gave up almost 600 total yards to both teams, but the Wildcats had a slightly better offensive performance  against Oklahoma St with over 400 total yards to 333 against Stanford. In both games, Arizona only had 92 rushing yards combined. Granted, they were down early in both games and had to throw to try and get back into the game. If there is some good news for the Wildcats, it is that they only had one total turnover in the two games.

Arizona is averaging 419.7 yards and 21.7 points a game this season. Arizona is only averaging 55.7 rushing yards a game. Only three other teams in the country are worse at rushing the ball; New Mexico St, East Carolina, and Florida Atlantic.   Arizona has allowed 7 sacks but have only one turnover. The Wildcats are 16/42 on third and fourth down conversions. The Wildcats are averaging 8 penalties a game. Arizona is giving up 473.3 total yards including 300.3 passing yards a game. Both are ranked near the bottom of FCS football. Arizona is allowing 28 points a game. Arizona has 3 sacks and has forced 2 turnovers. Wildcat opponents are 21/48 on third and fourth down conversions.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles has played well this season, despite playing behind a porous offensive line that struggles to pass protect. He is 95/126 passing with 1,049 yards, 7 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interceptions this season. Running back Keola Antolin has 28 carries, 125 yards, and a touchdown, along with 8 catches 57 yards, and a touchdown. Ka’Deem Carey has 21 carries for 103 yards, and 3 catches for 13 yards. The Wildcats spread the ball around, as 8 receivers have at least 8 catches, 57 yards, and/or a touchdown. Dan Buckner, Juron Criner, David Roberts, and Gino Crump all have at least 12 catches. Austin Hill only has 9 catches but does have 152 yards. Those 5 are the top receivers and Criner has 2 touchdown catches. Buckner has 18 catches for 251 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Alex Zendejas has only attempted and made one extra point this year, but he was named the full time kicker to replace the struggling Jamie Salazar who is only 1/4 on field goal kicks with a long of 27 yards.  Salazar also missed an extra point. Arizona had 6 players out for the season including 4 defensive players.

Arizona is 1-2 against the spread this season and the under is 1-2 as well. Oregon is 1-2 ATS and the over is 2-1 in their games. Arizona has covered the last 2 in the series against Oregon, but Oregon won both games straight up. Both games went over the total as well. Oregon is 21-7-1 ATS in the last 29 against teams with losing records and 23-11-1 in the last 35 as favorite of 10.5 points or greater. Arizona is  9-3-1 ATS in the last 13 as a home dog, including 6-0 ATS in their last 6 home games as a double digit underdog, 1-6 ATS following a straight up loss, and against teams with winning records.

Unless Arizona suddenly got a whole lot better in less than a weeks time, I don’t see this result being any different for the Wildcats than the games against OSU and Stanford. Oregon might score more than 37 points though as they are arguably more prolific on offense the Cowboys or Cardinal. Oregon should roll in this contest.

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