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Oregon State Football: Opponent Spring Preview - Arizona Wildcats (Game 10)

Will Arizona show improvements in 2017?

NCAA Football: Arizona at Oregon State Cole Elsasser-USA TODAY Sports

Game Information

  • Date: Saturday Nov. 11th
  • Time: 6:00 PM PT
  • Location: Arizona Stadium (Tucson)
  • TV Coverage: TBD

2016 Recap

It’s no secret that Arizona had a rough 2016, going 3-9 including an 8-game Pac-12 losing streak before destroying Arizona State in the last game of the season. The Wildcats started off fairly strong, winning two of their first three games and taking a loaded Washington team into overtime before eventually succumbing. During the middle-part of their schedule they lost five games by a combined 170 points though. Injuries explain a lot of Arizona’s struggles, but Rich Rod is undoubtedly on the hot-seat in 2017.

2017 Outlook

Rich Rodriguez is 36-29 entering his sixth year as the head coach of The Arizona Wildcats. Since clinching the 2014 Pac-12 South title his team is just 10-17 though. Injuries have been devastating, but those associated with the program are hoping more from the Wildcats this season. If Arizona is going to be successful in 2017, they’ll need to rely on their potentially dominant running game and hope for an improved defense.

Players To Know

  • QB: Brandon Dawkins (or Khalil Tate) are both extremely mobile quarterbacks. Dawkins averaged 8.6 yards per (non-sack) carry and a team-best 6.6 yards per pass attempt. Tate on the other hand, has a cannon and averaged 15.2 yards per completion and 5.5 yards per carry.
  • RB: Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor combined to average 6.2 yards per carry early in the season before injury, and if they had remained healthy, this offense might have looked completely different. Both running backs return and could be devastating behind an experienced line in 2017.
  • MLB: Donavan Tate, a former blue-chipper and first-round MLB draft pick Donavan is joining the team after a few years in the minors. He could have an immediate impact because Arizona’s front six (they generally play five DB’s) is very inexperienced.
  • Secondary: Arizona returns almost everyone from their secondary. Players like: cornerbacks Dane Cruikshank and Jace Whittaker, safeties Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, Isaiah Hayes, Tristan Cooper, and Jarvis McCall. Last year, Marcus McMaryion carved up Arizona’s secondary, but with another year of experience things will be different the second time around.

What To Expect

SB Nation’s S&P Projections, see this game as a toss-up; giving Arizona a 51% chance to win. Both teams will look to establish their strong running games and the game could end up being decided either teams offensive and defensive lines. I expect Oregon State to establish their running game and wear down Arizona’s defensive line.

Prediction: Oregon State 17, Arizona 13

More Opponents Previews?

Day-by-day over the next two weeks, we’ll be taking a look at all over Oregon State football’s upcoming opponents for the 2017 season. Links to all the other teams previews can be found below.