Stanford vs. Arizona 2011 Football Preview

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Stanford playing a nighttime game. (Photo Credit: Eric Chan)
This Saturday, Stanford will face the Arizona Wildcats and quarterback Nick Foles. Arizona is currently 1-1, coming off a 14-37 loss at Oklahoma State. Arizona will be looking to rebound after their loss and get into the top 25 with a win over Stanford. Though they will have home field advantage, this is going to be a tough game for the Wildcats to pull out.
  1. Recent history: Last year, Arizona came to Stanford Stadium ranked as the #15 team in the country. The Cardinal dominated the game, winning 42-17 to avenge their 43-38 defeat in 2009. While Stanford has another strong team this year, Arizona has not looked quite as good. Though the Wildcats did win the last time they played Stanford in their own stadium, Arizona was outpossessed in that game by about twelve and a half minutes. Stanford gave up several big plays, including some on the ground, to erase a 15 point deficit and win the game. Arizona will not be able to pull out a miracle against this team like they did in 2009.

  2. **The Ground Game: **Arizona has only averaged 58 yards in their first two games (100 yards is the benchmark for a successful running attack). The Wildcats will not be able to average over 12 yards a carry against the Cardinal front seven the way they did in 2009. Nor will they be able to get 180 yards of rushing the way they did in 2010. In short, the Stanford defense’s biggest strength will be matched up with their biggest weakness. And since Arizona gave up almost 200 yards of rushing to Oklahoma State last week, the Cardinal offense will likely have control of the ball for most of the game.

  3. Foles and the Passing Attack: The Arizona passing game will be one concern. Stanford has been vulnerable so far to the intermediate passing game. Considering that Arizona has averaged about 400 yards passing, they will definitely take to throwing the ball once again. But if Arizona cannot establish any balance, then they will be one dimensional and therefore far easier to predict. But even if the defense knows that they are going to pass, they still have to stop them. Stanford will likely be bringing blitzes and pressure all night to disrupt Foles, especially if they display early dominance against the run.

  4. Bend but not Break: The Stanford defense will give up yards to quarterback Nick Foles. Foles is a talented quarterback who regularly gets about 50 passing attempts a game. But the Wildcats could not score against Oklahoma State because they could not get in the endzone, largely because they could not grind out yardage when they needed to. The Cardinal defense may find itself in red zone situations but they have proved successful in holding opponents so far.

  5. Keys to Victory: Ball control will be important. So will offensive efficiency. Shaw will likely try to run the ball to protect the defense and them some time to rest. Long scoring drives are always important but they will be even more important here because Arizona is so one dimensional. If Foles is not on the field, he doesn’t have a chance to make a play.

Shaw has done a nice job of making the offense diverse, making it that much harder to stop Luck. Stanford will be able to stop Foles more than Arizona will be able to stop Luck. Foles does not have the luxury of a nice running game to back him up this year and that will likely be the difference in the game. Expect a couple quick scores from each team before Stanford eventually pulls away. Stanford is favored by ten, they should win comfortably and cover the spread.

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Stanford finally overpowered Arizona in a 37-10 victory. Quarterback Andrew Luck threw for 325 yards and 2 touchdowns, showing he why he is the best

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