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A View from the Zoo: A Realistic Look, Stanford at Arizona

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I feel I should state this off the bat; I am a huge Arizona fan. I've been one since as long as I can remember and you need to remember this as you continue reading.

This game could be awful. And when I mean awful I mean Oklahoma State on steroids. Then again, Mike Stoops could pull off one of his miracles and the ZonaZoo will be rushing the field for real this time around. (Note: I wasn't even a student yet, but I'm so embarrassed to watch this. It just makes me cringe.)

Now you must be asking why I sound so pessimistic, so here are a few reasons:

  • 41- Number of rushing yards we amounted in 60 minutes of game time
  • 397- Number of passing yards the secondary gave up. And now we go up against arguably the best QB in the country, uh-oh
  • 197- Official number of rushing yards the defense gave up; 219 is the real amount not counting loss of yards accumulated on sacking the quarterback
  • 21- Points Arizona was down before they remembered scoring is a prominent area in a football game
  • 6- The number of games in a row Arizona has lost to D-I football competition

After looking at those numbers, do you still think I am being pessimistic? I sure don’t.

This team has a problem stopping the ball either in the air or on the ground. This is not just because we were playing OSU. Against NAU, the Wildcats gave up over a 100 yards rushing and were picked apart (20/26) in the passing game. The only reason why NAU never truly threatened was because the Lumberjacks do not have the big play possibility.

Well, I can guarantee Stanford has that. ‘Luck to Owusu’ will be heard many times tonight and not just for slants over the middle.

The Cardinal, or large Christmas tree if you’re so inclined, rank 4th in the nation at 50.5 points per game (granted it was versus basketball powerhouse Duke and ‘Battle of Troy’ look-a-like San Jose State), as well as 10th in points against at 8.5.

Arizona on the other hand has fared a little worse, but they have played quality teams (well one, the other was a Paul Bunyan reincarnation). UA averages only 27.5 points per game, good enough for 68th in the country, which is only slightly worse than their 61st ranking for points given up at 23.5 points per game.

Those four statistics are huge. They show Stanford puts up points like no other, as well as plays defense. Arizona? Well they don’t put up so many points and almost gives up as much as they score; never a good recipe for winning.

Now you must be wondering what Arizona can be doing to win this game or at least make it salvageable. If I had the exact answers I wouldn’t be writing this, but I am going to give you my best thoughts.

  • Run the ball with consistency. Yes, as was written earlier this week, this means Kadeem Carey time. But this also means the offensive-line will need to fire out of their stances and clear holes for the RB’s. This also means when it is 3rd and less than 3, the line needs to be able to move the guy on the opposite side of the line just enough to get the first down.
  • Time of possession. In both games Arizona has been out possessed and this CANNOT happen against Stanford. It’s the anti-Peyton Manning theory, "if he’s not on the field, he can’t hurt you." Well that’s goes the same for Andrew Luck. If Luck isn’t on the field, which means the Stanford defense will be and that means they will be exhausted. As an ex-linebacker in high school, I know firsthand about an offense that doesn’t spend much time on the field.
  • Offense wins games. This game will not be decided on on the defensive side ball because both QB’s are too good. The past two years, Stanford has averaged 40 points against Arizona, so fireworks will already be in order. Hopefully Arizona, with the help of the home crowd, will be able to keep up.
  • Will it be Athletes over "Athsmarts" (yes I just made up a word) or vice versa? I don’t think anyone will disagree that Stanford’s players are a ‘tad,’ and I use tad lightly here, smarter that the counterparts at Arizona. However, I do think UA has better athletes. When you see the likes of Juron Criner, Dan Buckner, Marquis Flowers and Trevin Wade it gives UA a chance. If Arizona can get Criner, Buckner, the above mentioned Carey loose, or at least with one-on-one coverage, I’ll feel good about our chances. However, Stanford is a very well coached team, and those opportunities will not be available often, which means Arizona needs to capitalize when they can.

Even if Arizona does do all of these things, a team like Stanford can still win because of their leader, Andrew Luck. As you all remember with the Colts against Miami a few years back had a non-existent running game, were never on the field and still won the game.

Let’s just hope for all of our sakes that Arizona is on the right end if a scenario like that happens.

If you all haven’t cursed me yet, I am happy to report I will screaming my lungs out at today’s game, because yes, I do want to rush the field if a victory does present itself. I may even bring a ladder to help the women scale over the wall.