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Can Arizona Salvage the End of a Disappointing Season?

Posted By Henry Childs On Dec 2 2010 @ 2:01 am In Arizona | No Comments

Arizona will try to salvage what’s left of their season tomorrow, as they host rival Arizona State at 5pm PST on ESPN.

Arizona has lost three games in a row. Arizona State is coming off its best offensive performance of the season, when they beat UCLA last weekend 55-34. Will the Wildcats end the regular season with a win? Or will the Sun Devils finish their season at 6-6, but what could’ve been easily 10-2?

The Duel in the Desert has been a heated rivalry since the beginning. The last decade has seen both schools pick up big wins against each other, but overall Arizona has a slight advantage all time, 46-36-1. This year, Arizona has been disappointing. After a strong start, a top ten ranking, and Rose Bowl aspirations, the Wildcats have fallen to 7-4, losing three in a row. Arizona State has been somewhat of a mystery team. They have close losses to Wisconsin, Oregon, USC, and Stanford this season, but sub-.500 teams like Oregon State and California have beaten them.

A big factor in this game is that it’s being played in Tucson. The Sun Devils are 1-4 on the road, their only win coming against Washington in Seattle.

But Arizona must be cautious of the Sun Devil offense, which has gotten better as the season has progressed. The defense has struggled at times, but it’s still heralded as a big, physical unit that can put a lot of pressure on the quarterback.

The Wildcats need to establish a rushing game in this one, unlike the type of performances they have put on in the last three games. Likewise, the front seven for Arizona needs to step it up. The Wildcats have given up over 200 yards rushing in the last three games, as well.

Last season, Arizona won a close one 20-17 against their rivals. This year? I think it will be just as close, but more points are going to be scored, that’s for sure. Expect big plays from Nick Foles to Juron Criner, as well as big passing plays by the Arizona State receivers, which are tall and athletic. I think the UA defense will step it up just enough to pull out a tough one against the hated Sun Devils, 33-28.

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