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(5) Oregon (9-1) at Arizona (6-4)



Saturday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: With their Pac-12 title chances reborn the No. 5 Oregon Ducks will try to fend off the Arizona Wildcats in the a conference collision this weekend.

Thanks to Stanford's 20-17 loss to USC last weekend the Ducks are back on top of the Pac-12 North Division. The Ducks, who lost to the Cardinal two weeks ago (26-20), took down Utah (44-21) over the weekend and are now 6-1 in league play. That conference record puts them a half game ahead of the Cardinal in the league standings with two games to play. Oregon is boasting a 9-1 record overall and though the chances are slim, there is still hope that it could get into the national championship picture.

"Now we have the right to control our own destiny. But really its just one game at a time like we always take it," Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said." To have that opportunity to possibly play in the Pac-12 championship is huge. But we can't overlook things. We can't slip up and look past Arizona. Our focus is here today and getting ready for Arizona."

Arizona has been slipping recently. The Wildcats dropped back-to-back home games in the last two weeks with setbacks against UCLA (31-26) and Washington State (24-17). The recent stumbles have not been a great sign late in the year for the Wildcats, who are now 6-4 overall and far from contention for the Pac-12 crown at 3-4 in league action. Playing at home isn't guaranteed to give the Wildcats much of an advantage as they have just three wins in five tries at Wildcat Stadium.

"It was just poor execution. We had too many unforced errors, dropped snaps and easy field goals missed, " Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said." Our margin for error is very slim and if we play poorly it will be hard for us to win."

Last year Oregon forced five turnovers and racked up 495 yards of total offense in posting a 49-0 rout of the Wildcats at Autzen Stadium. The win was the fifth straight against Arizona for Oregon, which leads the all-time series by a count of 24-14.

Other than its slip-up against Stanford, Oregon has been dominating on offense week in and week out. The Ducks lead the Pac-12 and are second nationally in total offense (580.2 ypg), while scoring 50.9 points per game.

At the center of all that success is Mariota, who has been hobbled by some knee issues in recent weeks, but has still remained productive. Mariota threw for 288 yards and three scores on 19-of-26 passing against Utah to add to an already impressive campaign. Mariota has thrown for 2,819 yards and 25 scores on 64.2 percent passing. Even more impressive is the zero interceptions he has thrown. Mariota is currently riding a Pac-12 record of 353 pass attempts without an interception. Mariota has had negative rushing totals in each of the last two weeks, but with 477 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground he is still a threat with his legs.

Even without Mariota running the ball the Ducks are still dangerous on the ground thanks to a stable of talented backs. Chief among them is Byron Marshall (991 yards, 14 TDs). Marshall has not had a 100-yard effort in back- to-back games but is still near the 1,000-yard mark on the campaign. Marshall had 66 yards and two scores on 11 carries against Utah. Thomas Tyner (496 yards, eight TDs) and De'Anthony Thomas (410 yards, seven TDs) are each effective rushers as well.

There is also plenty of talent on the outside where Josh Huff and Bralon Addison have been catching passes. Huff (45 receptions, 802 yards, seven TDs) leads the team in receiving yards and is coming off a four-receptions, 57-yard outing against Utah. Addison (47 receptions, 742 yards, seven TDs) is equally productive.

Oregon is not as productive on defense but it is still a solid group. The Ducks rank fourth in the Pac-12 in yards allowed (354.8 ypg) and have been even more impressive in limiting scoring to a Pac-12 best 18.2 ppg. Much of that is due to opportunistic play by the Ducks, who are tied for the second most forced turnovers (24) in the Pac-12. Terrance Mitchell (47 tackles, five INTs) and Tony Washington (7.5 sacks) are the real playmakers for the Ducks.

Against Arizona the Ducks face a challenge, especially against the run. The Wildcats are in the bottom half of the league in total offense (452.2 ypg), but they are second in the league, behind Oregon, in rushing yards (263.7 ypg).

If the Ducks hope to slow down the Wildcats, they will have to find some way to contain Ka'Deem Carey. The star running back is the second leading rusher in the country (150.3 ypg), as he has totaled 1,353 yards and 12 scores on 242 carries this year. Carey has had more than 100 yards in every game he has played this season and in 13 straight games overall.

Adding punch to the rushing attack is quarterback B.J. Denker, who has posted 709 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground this year. Denker's passing has left a bit more to be desired. Although he is completing just under 60 percent of his pass attempts, Denker has only recorded 1,888 yards and 12 scores on the year.

In terms of receiving, the best options for the Wildcats are Nate Phillips (36 receptions, 454 yards, six TDs) and Samajie Grant (41 receptions, 315 yards, TD). Phillips had a team-high seven receptions, though for only 45 yards, against Washington STate. He is also the only pass-catcher to come close to a 100-yard game this year. Grant had five receptions for 44 yards against the Cougars. Terrence Miller (26 receptions, 347 yards) also gets involved.

Tra'Mayne Bondurant (53 tackles, 2.0 sacks, four INTs) has been a real playmaker for the Wildcats in the secondary. Thanks to his efforts the Wildcats have 13 interceptions this year, which is one more than they had all last season. However, Arizona still needs work on the defensive side as it is eighth in the league in yards allowed (387.9 ypg).

With their title hopes restored, the Ducks should be playing with renewed vigor this weekend. The Wildcats can keep up with the Ducks on the ground thanks to Carey, but they don't have enough in the passing game to hang with Mariota. Oregon should roll to its 10th win.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon 48, Arizona 21

11/20 10:47:23 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
1st
SFG 0
KAN 0
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
 
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
 
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
 
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
 
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
 
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
 
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
 
4th
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
 
3rd
WASU 16
ARZ 38
 
2nd
CLEM 3
SYR 3
 
Half
LAMON 13
TXST 0
 
Half
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 17
 
2nd
COLST 24
WYO 3
 
2nd
LSU 0
MISS 7
 
1st
TENN 0
ALA 20
 
2nd
AUB 7
SCAR 14
 
1st
PSU 0
OSU 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
2nd
TOR 0
BOS 1
 
2nd
NYI 3
DAL 3
 
2nd
PHI 0
DET 1
 
2nd
OTT 0
NJD 0
 
2nd
MON 1
NYR 1
 
1st
STL 0
CHI 1
 
1st
NAS 0
PIT 1
 
1st
MIN 2
TAM 0
 
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14