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Oregon vs. Arizona: Advanced stats preview

Some quick hits before Oregon vs. Arizona. Go to Addicted to Quack for Oregon coverage & Arizona Desert Swarm for Arizona coverage.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona at Oregon, 7:30 p.m. PT, ESPN

Oregon has become a lot more bendable this season on defense, and teams have been driving the football on them with alarming regularity. It’s unlikely Rich Rodriguez is going to go into Autzen and get shut out like he did in his first session there.  Anu Solomon has been proven he can move the football with regularity; the Wildcats are 27th in passing S&P and have done very well in standard downs (14th overall). That could bode well against an Oregon team that has been mediocre in defending the pass this season (79th) and given up ground in standard downs (77th), especially with that banged-up secondary of theirs.

The issue with Solomon concerns his road chops. Solomon has been very good at home, but his lone road start did not go well (53% completion rate, and no real moments of note after a huge touchdown bomb on the first play against UTSA). Moreover, Autzen Stadium is a totally different experience than Tucson. You can expect Arizona to be forced into passing down situations tonight, and they are only an average FBS team in that situation. With no real running back rotation, the Wildcats are entrusting their hopes to two relatively new players in their backfield in Solomon and Nick Wilson.

And Oregon’s defensive issues pale in comparison with Arizona’s. The Wildcats defense is one of the worst in college football, giving up points in bunches to Cal and nearly letting UTSA steal victory at home. Their passing S&P ranks 106th and they give up yardage at a regular rate, with a success rate of 88th. That is not the team that can stand up on the road to dethrone Oregon (top ten across the board in all categories).