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Home Of 500 Handicappers
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
It took Rich Rodriguez only two games to make Arizona relevant again. The No. 25 Wildcats host South Carolina State on Saturday and must avoid looking ahead to their next game, when they hit the road for the first time to face No. 4 Oregon on national TV. Arizona upset No. 18 Oklahoma State 59-38 last week, an early-season signature victory for Rodriguez as he tries to turn around a program that was 66-89 in the 13 seasons prior to his arrival. The Bulldogs blew a 14-0 lead and lost their Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference opener to Bethune-Cookman 27-14 last week.
ABOUT SOUTH CAROLINA STATE (1-1): The Bulldogs have outrushed their opponents 355-262 in the first two games and are led by sophomore Jalen Simmons (131 yards, touchdown) and junior quarterback Richard Cue (120). Cue had a tough day against Bethune-Cookman, completing 8 of 26 passes for 69 yards with two interceptions. His top target is junior Caleb Davis, who averages 11 yards on his 13 receptions. Senior Lennel Elmore averages 26.8 yards on his five catches, including a 72-yard touchdown pass from Cue in the Bulldogs’ 33-6 victory over Georgia State in their season opener. The Bulldogs are coached by Buddy Pough, who is 84-34 in his 11th season. They play at Texas A&M next week.
ABOUT ARIZONA (2-0): The Wildcats have work to do on defense. Oklahoma State shredded Arizona for 636 yards – the sixth-most allowed in school history, but the Wildcats took advantage of four turnovers and 167 yards in penalties. There are not many problems on offense. Fifth-year senior quarterback Matt Scott is fourth in the country with 707 passing yards. Running back Ka’Deem Carey scored four touchdowns last week – three rushing – and wide receiver Austin Hill has a pair of 100-yard games and is averaging 21.9 yards on his 12 receptions. The kicking game appears stable after John Bonano went 3-for-3 on field goals against Oklahoma State. He missed from 24 and 25 yards against Toledo in the opener, the second coming on the final play of regulation before Arizona regrouped to win 24-17 in overtime.
1. Arizona’s Taimi Tutogi is a two-way player. The senior has two receptions and one carry while primarily serving as a blocking back. He’s still looking for his first sack as a third-down pass-rush specialist.
2. The Wildcats are trying for their first five-game win streak since 1998, when they won their final seven games.
3. These teams have never met.