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Cigars & Football – A Simple Blend

Arizona vs. Oregon Thursday Night Preview

Thursday night games have become the home of spectacular displays of college football, kinda like the old Holiday Bowl used to be BTC (Before The Committee)(Pat Haden is still on the Committee, right?). This week shapes up to be a continuation of that trend. Arizona leaves the desert to visit Oregon. A few years ago this game wouldn’t have been even a blip on the radar screen, but when the Wildcats trounced the Ducks in 2013, Oregon’s streak of playing in consecutive BCS bowls came to a halt.
thBoth teams enter this match up undefeated, and they’ve both had close calls already. Oregon had one heck of a dog fight last week against Washington State and Arizona needed a miracle Hail Mary pass play to beat California.
‘Zona has had only one game where they didn’t score at least 30 points and that was against UTSA, the University of Texas at San Antonio. In all other contest the Cat offense has kept the score-keeper from getting bored. The top producers on offense are both freshman, Anu Solomon, QB, and Nick Wilson, RB. Against California Solomon put up 520 yards of passing, most of that coming in the second half. Wilson has rushed for 449 yards but against Cal he got only 33 yards on 11 carries. He’s going to have to do better Thursday night. But fear not! Oregon’s defense is not historically a run stopper. Part of this is because Oregon gets ahead so quickly that other teams have to play catch-up, so they don’t run much. Last year, though, against the Ducks, Ka’Deem Carey ran for over 200 yards. QB Solomon should also be enthused because WSU did nothing but throw the ball a week ago and the Duck defense couldn’t find a way to stop them.
Oregon’s defensive lineman worked in the offseason on stopping the run, because they got burned by Stanford and Arizona. This year it appears the secondary needs to work on their pass defense.
The Wildcats like to score and score a lot, but they are not very good defensively. Their defense ranks 70th in the nation. I know there’s a formula for this, but it involves a lot of math, so I’ll make it simple:- let’s see, there are 119 teams, they rank 70th which means…(divide 70, by 119…. move the decimal point….) they are not very good at defense. That’s what it means. The Bear Down defense is not going to stop Oregon, no way, no how, but they might be able to slow the Quackers down enough to win this game. The Cougars showed how green the replacement tackles for Oregon really are. WSU sacked QB Mariota five times in the first half! Arizona has got to get to Mariota frequently, with passion! The more they hit him, the harder they hit him, the better. If they can disrupt that offense and make Mariota hurry-up in everything he does, they can pluck the Ducks enough to win it.
Oregon has been saying all the right things about this game. “It’s just another game.” “No, it’s not a revenge game” and, of course, the tried andDucks true, “ We just take it one game at a time.” Yeah, right, believes all that like we believe the planet Krypton never existed. (For all non- nerds out there, of course Krypton existed, that’s where Superman came from. Geez!) Oregon circled this date as soon as the whistle blew last year. This is nothing but revenge, Baby, REVENGE!!
QB Mariota stayed in school for his senior year because he did not want to leave Oregon after two losses last year and not making the championship game. He wants to win at least the PAC-12 Championship and a National Championship would be nice, too. That’s why against Washington State he put the entire team on his shoulders and willed the Ducks past the Cougars. He’s can’t continue those Herculean feats; his teammates need to step up.
As alluded above, the Offensive line has got to get better. They cannot allow everyone and their grandmother into the backfield. Kind-of hard to win games that way, much less give Mariota a chance at the Heisman.
The running game has been lacking in this year’s high-speed attack. Royce Freeman, (FR) averages 5.4 yards per carry and has 482 yards for the year. On some other teams, this would be great, but in Oregon they expect a bit more than that. He’s going to have to produce Thursday. Arizona’s defense isn’t the best at stopping the run, so this might be his time to excel.
To the fans that love to watch high scoring football games, Thursday night could be the night for them. Both teams score a lot, both defenses are suspect. The team that has the best defense for the night will win. CSF thinks it’s hard to beat Oregon within the confines of Autzen stadium, Ducks win and get their REVENGE.

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