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What's Your Deal, Arizona?

Arizona wide receivers David Roberts and Juron Criner have had a lot to celebrate this season. On Saturday, they could celebrate the return of starting quarterback Nick Foles.
Arizona wide receivers David Roberts and Juron Criner have had a lot to celebrate this season. On Saturday, they could celebrate the return of starting quarterback Nick Foles.

Wherein I profile some of Arizona's key players leading up to Saturday's game.

What’s Nick Foles’s deal?

Foles, who sprained his knee against Washington State and missed the last two games, is back to 100 percent according to Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. Under the leadership of quarterback Matt Scott, the Wildcats' offense put up better numbers in Foles' absence, albeit against Washington and UCLA. Make no mistake, Foles is the starter when healthy. Before he was injured, the junior had completed an absurd 76 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns against five interceptions. In the Wildcats’ only loss, a 29-27 setback at home to Oregon State, he was 35-for-46 for 440 yards. The performance reminiscent of the one he had last season against Stanford, when he completed 78 percent of his 50 attempts for 415 yards and three touchdowns in Arizona’s 43-38 win. 

What’s Keola Antolin’s deal?

The junior running back shouldered more of the offensive load in Foles’s absence and had his first two 100-yard games of the season. In his last four games, Antolin has rushed for 387 yards on 66 carries (5.9 average). Arizona's second-leading rusher, senior Nic Grigsby, suffered an ankle injury in the first half of last week's win over UCLA, but is expected to play Saturday. If Foles returns to the lineup as expected, the Wildcats will likely return to their pass-happy ways. Arizona averaged 17 more carries and 130 more yards per game in its last two games, with the dual threat Scott rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries. Foles has averaged 36 pass attempts per start.

What’s Juron Criner’s deal?

Does his name sound familiar? It should. Criner had the game of his life against Stanford last season, catching 12 passes for 152 yards. The 6-foot-4 junior didn’t skip a beat with Foles out of the lineup, catching eight passes and topping 100 yards in each of the last two games. Earlier this year, Criner caught the winning touchdown in Arizona's 10-9 win over Cal and had two games of 10+ catches and 170+ receiving yards. The sports editor of The Daily Wildcat provides a Ron Jaworski-like breakdown of what makes Criner so good.

What’s Ricky Elmore’s deal?

The senior defensive lineman leads the Pac-10 with eight sacks, including 6.5 in his last four games. Elmore, who had 10.5 sacks last season, also has 10 tackles for loss. Stanford running backs in blocking situations should know that Elmore has a pretty good vertical.