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Arizona vs. Stanford: 3 keys for the Wildcats

The Arizona Wildcats must stop the run, find a confidence and pick their spots against the No. 18 Stanford Cardinal.

The Arizona Wildcats face the No. 18 Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif., for a homecoming game. It'll also act as a must-win for both squads, who are coming off losses. For Rich Rodriguez's crew, it's all about gaining confidence that might've been lost in two painful losses. What must the Wildcats do to pull off the road upset?

  • Find confidence. Earlier this week, Shayne Skov said that he found spread offenses to be "annoying," and he'd rather play football on the field rather than basketball. While that doesn't mean Stanford feels particularly vulnerable against a speedy spread like Arizona's, it can be used as locker room material to give UA players a sense that the upset is doable.
  • Play the hell out of the run. Arizona usually will have a ton of guys in the box, but it'll probably help to keep them there. The secondary has earned the right to be put in vulnerable situations, and challenging Josh Nunes to make plays is better than letting Stepfan Taylor rip up the interior. Stanford averages 3.9 yards per carry, and some people are calling for Nunes' head. Make him impress the naysayers.
  • Possum the Cardinal. This is probably not a real phrase, but here goes. In a low-scoring game, the Wildcats must pick and choose spots to attack. Moving methodically down the field is bound to end in the Cardinal defense clamping down, so Arizona must take shots or pull out the trick plays when Stanford is least expecting it. It's sort of like a possum playing dead, then attacking approaching curious prey when it least expects. I don't think possums do that, but ... they should.