Last week, #18 Oklahoma State destroyed its opponent 84-0, putting up 287 yards in the air and 395 yards on the ground. They scored 35 points in the first quarter alone. Joseph Randle, OSU’s premiere running back, went 107 yards and two touchdowns with only six carries.
Arizona stands no chance against these titans, right? Might as well stay at home or take your wife out to a nice dinner, right?
Well, not exactly.
OSU’s opponent was no Georgia, though Savannah State does reside in the same state and finished last in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference last season. Savannah State was so bad last week that OSU’s starters were out of the game by the end of the first quarter. Last week’s performance by OSU is not quite the blueprint to look at in evaluating how tomorrow’s game will go.
In fact, OSU’s pathetic opponent in Week 1 of the regular season could play to Arizona’s favor. If the Cowboys come out hungover from last week’s destruction, unprepared from facing weak competition and half-heartedly ready to play, Arizona could take advantage and make things interesting.
Also good news for the Cats is the absence of quarterback Brandon Weeden and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who will both be playing on NFL Sundays this year and who destroyed Arizona in the last two years. Last year, for example, Weeden threw for 397 against the Wildcats, Blackmon taking in 128 of those for two touchdowns. In the Alamo Bowl…well.we will not go there.
Wes Lunt will be the new starting quarterback for the Cowboys, and he is a freshmen. If Arizona can put pressure on Lunt and force him to make mistakes, the Wildcats will have a chance at stopping half of OSU’s game. But then there is the other half.
Last year, Joseph Randle went for 121 yards on 15 carries and caught 9 passes for 99 yards against the Wildcats. He is still in an OSU uniform. The truth of the matter is that Randle will cannot be stopped tomorrow against Arizona’s inexperienced 3-3-5 defense–he will have a good day. What Arizona can do to stay in the game, however, is stop the big play. They showed this ability last week against Toledo, bending but not breaking (only once). They will have to instill the same strategy against the Cowboys’ biggest threat.
Arizona will also need to limit their errors. The Cats should have beat Toledo by over 20 points, but missed field goals, holding calls, dropped catches and fumbles kept them from full production. If Arizona makes as many mistakes against OSU, you will find yourself leaving or shutting off the television by the end of the half.
Take advantage of a hungover OSU team early, pressure Lunt constantly, slow down Randle’s inevitable production, and make no mistakes. Those are this Saturday’s keys to victory.