The world is still spinning after the first loss of the season for OSU, the Beavers have wiped the slate clean and are focused on Arizona (2-1). Recent series history has been more than favorable to the Beavers, chalking up nine out of the last 10 wins versus the Wildcats. These are a different looking bunch than last year, too.
Willie Tuitama, the "air it out" UA quarterback accounted for 3,093 yards and 23 touchdowns last year. Gone.
Tuitama's go-to-guy and the Pac-10's all time leader in receptions, Mike Thomas, has moved on and taken his 11.2 yards per catch and 826 total yards in '08 with him.
A short while ago, there was seemingly no questioning that All-American tight end Rob Gronkowski would find himself on an NFL roster -- it was a matter of when. "When"may have turned into "if" now that Gronknowski is out for the season with back problems.
The 6-6, 265 pound wrecking ball had a breakout year in 2008, hauling in 47 passes for 672 yards and 10 scores -- tremendous numbers for a tight end.
SO WHO DOES Arizona call upon to replace such production?
Enter 5-10, 190 pound junior tail-back Nic Grigsby -- among the nations leaders in rushing. Grigsby has 400 yards and three scores in three games and sparks the Arizona offense.
Spelling Grigsby is Keola Antolin, who ran through the Beaver defense for 114 yards last season. Antolin has chipped in 131 yards and a score to date for a potent Arizona ground game. Like Jacquizz Rodgers, Antolin is a smaller, shifty back (5-8, 186) who slips tackles and always seems to get positive yards.
BUT THE STATS may be misleading to some extent. Arizona gained nearly half (365) of their 759 total rushing yards versus Northern Arizona.
Still, 759 yards rushing in just three game is tremendous and OSU will likely have their hands full with the two headed monster of Grigsby and Antolin.
OSU MIGHT ALSO have to game plan for two different style quarterbacks, something that may prove difficult.
Nick Foles led Arizona on a 63-yard scoring drive late in the fourth quarter last week. While it didn't make a difference save for the margin of victory for Iowa, Foles looked poised off the bench in relief of the starter Matt Scott. And Mike Stoops said earlier this week he's the new starter.
Foles serves as your Canfield-like prototypical drop back passer while Scott has great mobility, can improvise on the fly and gain yards with his legs.
Scott is Arizona's second leading rusher behind Grigsby with 170 yards on just 23 attempts—7.4 yards per rush.
Foles, by all accounts, will get the start -- but don't be surprised to see both he and Scott at some point.
- Oregon State will finally line up against a traditional offense and won't have the task of defending a true spread. The Beaver D has yet to give up over 100 yards rushing in a game and Saturday will be a true test with the ground game Arizona will bring.
- Lyle Moevao is healthy and ready to go, whether or not this spurs Canfield on to play with a greater sense of urgency, no one can say. But you can bet Reser will be loud if and when Moevao steps under center.
- WR Darrell Catchings looked solid in his return and all signs point to him making his first start Saturday. With another week of practice to mesh with Canfield and Moevao, expect him to be featured heavily in the passing game.
- Ryan McCants may see the field as he returns from off season knee surgery. McCants provides a much different look than Quizz, standing 6-2, 229 and could be a lethal one-two punch for the OSU offense.
BREAKDOWN -- UA, leading Pac-10 in rushing?
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