Arizona quarterback Nick Foles attempts a pass during last Thursday's loss to Oklahoma State.
Kevin Anderson of SB Nation's Arizona Wildcats blog Arizona Desert Swarm was kind enough to answer a few questions about UofA's upcoming matchup with Stanford.
Rule of Tree: What were your expectations for Arizona heading into the season and how have they changed, if at all, after two weeks?
AZ Desert Swarm: I came into the season predicting a 7-5 season for Arizona, believing they'd have a rocky first four or five games before putting together a solid run in the latter half of the schedule. Right now, I'm under the belief that I was sipping the Kool-Aid a bit, but I think a 6-6 season is still possible. I don't think the team has improved much if at all compared to last season, but I also believe there's enough talent to beat any team outside of Stanford and Oregon from this point forward. Especially considering how poorly many of the other teams in the Pac-12 have looked, I think that it's going to be a toss-up after these next few weeks.
RoT: How much would playing without Juron Criner hurt the Wildcats’ chances of pulling the upset?
AZDS: Honestly, it's not as big of a loss as you might think. The wide receiving crew is deep and against Oklahoma State, freshman Austin Hill and Texas transfer Dan Buckner, two big, athletic guys, stepped up. Now, I think it hurts the Wildcats if it's a close game down the stretch and Foles doesn't have his go-to guy to find in a game-defining situation, but the quarterback should still be able to put up some yards.
RoT: Can the crowd be a factor in this game?
AZDS: I think that's the only reason why I believe Arizona has a slim, slim chance at pulling off the upset. Under head coach Mike Stoops, the Wildcats have generally had a top-25 upset a year at Arizona Stadium. Outside of Tucson, it's a different story, but the Wildcats usually play -- at the very least -- up to their potential at home, not to say that potential is enough to beat the Cardinal.
RoT: You wrote earlier this week that taking away the run and putting pressure on Andrew Luck is Arizona’s best chance to slow the Stanford offense. How has the Wildcats’ defensive line looked in the first two games of the season?
AZDS: Uhhh, not so swell. The Wildcats have two new defensive ends and the D-line's remaining star, sophomore Justin Washington, has been quite quiet in the first two games. Even against Northern Arizona in Week 1, the Wildcats allowed quarterback Cary Gossart to throw 20-of-26, not the sign of a quarterback under pressure. Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden completed 42 passes with 53 attempts, and Cowboy running back Joseph Randle went for 121 yards on the ground and 99 in receiving yards. So yeah, it's not been looking so swell.
RoT: Nick Foles is obviously a stud. Who else should Stanford fans look out for on offense?
AZDS: As I said before, the wide receiving crew behind Criner (if he plays) is pretty athletic, tall and skilled. On defense, uh, there's not much to be impressed about there. So I'll go with the unknown -- the running backs. Starter Keola Antolin hasn't shown much, and the coaching staff is likely going to try out freshman Ka'Deem Carey, a local Tucson product that has size, shiftiness and breakaway speed.
RoT: What’s your prediction for the game?
AZDS: I think Arizona will hold strong for most of the game, staying within a touchdown or two of the Cardinal for three quarters simply because they've got nothing to lose and will be in front of a pretty solid home crowd. But in the end, Stanford will win out by pulling away in the fourth quarter for a 42-21 victory.