Scott Allen of SBNation's Rule of Tree collaborated with us this week on some questions about the upcoming Arizona @ Stanford game. Listed below are his answers to our questions on Stanford, and our answers to his questions on the Arizona Wildcats will be linked as soon as they are posted on Rule of Tree. Enjoy.
1. How do you think your O-line will fare against Arizona's D-line?
SA- This matchup could decide the game. Stanford's offensive line has helped clear the way for five consecutive 100-yard games by running back Stepfan Taylor and has only allowed three sacks all season. While Andrew Luck garners most of the headlines, the Tunnel Workers Union, as the unit came to be called last season, is the Cardinal's identity. That said, Stanford hasn't faced a defensive line as intimidating as Arizona's, and Ricky Elmore and Brooks Reed could make things unpleasant for Luck. I expect Elmore and Reed to pressure Luck more than he's used to, but I think the Stanford offensive line will hold its own.
2. Who, other than Luck, is Stanford's biggest homerun threat?
SA- Wide receiver Chris Owusu, who has been hampered by injuries this season, remains the Cardinal's best deep threat. While he doesn't have a reception of longer than 35 yards this season, Owusu has the wheels to score anytime he touches the ball. He had a crucial drop against Arizona last season, so he could also be looking for a little redemption at home.
3. How do you think the Stanford D will respond to Arizona potentially running two QBs with drastically differing styles of play?
SA- It will be interesting to see how much Matt Scott figures into the Wildcats' gameplan, if at all. Daron Thomas, Matt Barkley, and Jeff Tuel had their way with the Stanford defense earlier this season, but the Cardinal responded with a dominant performance against Jake Locker and the Huskies last week. Scott's ability to make things happen outside the pocket could neutralize the Stanford pass rush that was so effective in Washington, but I think Foles's accuracy as a passer makes him more dangerous to the Cardinal D. If I'm Stanford, the fewer snaps that Foles takes, the better.
4. Who should we watch out for on offense and defense?
SA- On offense (and defense for that matter), watch out for two-way stud Owen Marecic. The senior fullback could be called upon to help protect Luck against the pass rush more than usual, and might also play a bigger role in the passing game as a check-down option. Besides Marecic, look for fellow linebacker Shayne Skov to make a couple of big plays on defense.
5. If you were in charge of Arizona, how would you try to beat Stanford?
SA- I'll answer the same way I did a similar question about last week's game. (Steve Sarkisian apparently wasn't paying attention.) Throw early. Throw often. Throw deep. The Stanford secondary played very well in Seattle, and it didn't give up the big plays that had plagued it in previous weeks, but the Cardinal defense remains most vulnerable to a good passing game. With the exception of LaMichael James, who could rush for 100 yards against the '85 Bears, opposing running backs haven't fared well against the Cardinal's 3-4 defense.
6. What is your prediction for the game?
SA- I'll hold off on predicting a score until tomorrow, but I'll give the slight edge to Stanford. I think both teams will prove worthy of the national spotlight.