With a disappointing week one home loss in the rear view mirror, the Arizona Wildcats are faced with one of their toughest games of the 2018 season on Saturday.
The team will travel to hot and humid Houston for an 11 am local time game against Ed Oliver and the Houston Cougars.
This game is the return trip of a home-and-home with Houston. The Cougars won last year’s contest in Tucson, so Arizona will look to repay the favor this year at TDECU Stadium.
So how can Khalil Tate, Kevin Sumlin and everyone else bring sexy back? THREE KEYS:
The list of things Arizona has to forget about is a lot longer than one would hope this early in the season, but it is what it is.
Let’s forget about the offensive scheme the coaching staff entered the year with. Let’s forget how much the Wildcats got dominated up front. Let’s forget about last year’s Houston game.
Arizona will need to wipe the slate clean and come in with a fresh mindset if they want to have any kind of success against the Cougars. Just leave it all in the past and that will at least be the start of a potential bounceback win.
2. Rock Your Body
Houston’s best position group is its defensive line, and it’s more than just Oliver. Isaiah Chambers actually leads the nation in sacks after he brought down the Rice Owls quarterback three times last Saturday.
The Cougars also have a great group of linebackers, which means Arizona’s offensive line will have to step its game way up this week if the Wildcats are to have any chance. Not only will they have to block the guy in front of them, but execute blocking schemes to get ball carriers to the second level. This was a thing that was sorely missing in the BYU game. On more than one occasion linemen were running into each other because the blocking schemes were not executed properly.
Add to this Arizona’s need to keep the ball in Tate’s hands more and you have a very interesting matchup between a stout defensive front and an offensive front that has a lot to prove.
3. Morning Light
This game kicks at 9 a.m. Arizona time. That’s nuts.
And Houston already has practice with this whole early start time thing. Their opener against Rice kicked at the exact same 11 am local time as this game does.
UH started slow in their opener, but some of that also had to do with the fact that Rice already had a game under their belt and Houston had not. I think that was a bigger factor than the time of day for the Cougars.
How often do you see western teams go east and win the early games on Saturdays? Not very often. So that’s just one more thing working against Arizona in this game. Price you gotta pay to be on ABC.
If they can come out firing, the Wildcats have a chance at winning this. If the offense starts slow? Houston will run away with this one.