Wildcats hope to keep rolling against Bulldogs
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)
Arizona raised itself back into the national consciousness by scoring its most points ever against a ranked team.
Now that they've gotten everyone's attention, the Wildcats don't want to lose it.
Facing its final game before a difficult Pac-12 schedule, No. 24 Arizona will play South Carolina State at Arizona Stadium on Saturday night.
Coming off a 59-38 win over then-No. 18 Oklahoma State and ranked for the first time in nearly two years, the Wildcats want to make sure they don't slip against the Football Championship Subdivision Bulldogs.
''I've said it before: We're not going to concede anything,'' Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. ''We're going to go out there, play as hard as we can and if we get a few breaks and they help us out a little bit, we can win.''
Arizona (2-0) has looked good so far in its first two games under Rodriguez.
Taking up-tempo to a furious new level, the Wildcats raced up and down the field against Toledo and Oklahoma State, combining for a school-record 182 plays in each game. Arizona is second nationally with 65 first downs and ninth in total offense at 562.5 yards per game, while fifth-year senior quarterback Matt Scott is tied with Syracuse's Ryan Nassib for the country's top spot with 836 yards of total offense.
The Wildcats need to keep it going against South Carolina State with a tough road through the Pac-12 coming up.
After the Bulldogs, Arizona will play Oregon on the road and has games against Southern California, Stanford, UCLA and rival Arizona State after that. To stay in the spotlight, the Wildcats can't afford to let up now.
''Coach Rodriguez preached to us last week that we want to be relevant again and now that we are I think we want to stay there and not be cast under a shadow again,'' Wildcats offensive lineman Chris Putton said.
South Carolina opened the season with a convincing win over Georgia State, but blew an early 14-point lead in a 27-14 loss to Bethune-Cookman in its home opener last week.
The Bulldogs had four turnovers, including two fumbles on special teams, and their offensive line was hit with 10 penalties.
After playing Arizona, South Carolina State will face another road game against a BCS opponent, at Texas A&M - a tough stretch for any team, much less an FCS school.
''We know we have our work cut out for us,'' South Carolina State coach Buddy Pough said. ''We are jumping out of the frying pan into the fire. Arizona is one of the top teams in the nation. They just broke into the Top 25 after a big upset win over previously ranked Oklahoma State.''
For the Bulldogs to have a chance, they'll need a better game from quarterback Richard Cue than he had last week.
The South Carolina State junior had a superb opener, throwing for 300 yards and three TDs against Georgia State, but had a pair of interceptions and 69 yards on 8-of-28 passing against Bethune-Cookman.
Cue has four interceptions and has completed 47 percent of his passes on the season, but Pough hasn't considered replacing him with Derrick Wiley.
''Derrick is strictly in a backup role and if we get into a situation where if we can find some time to get him in the game, we will,'' Pough said. ''But right now, we're mostly concerned with working with our No. 1. Our No. 1 is Richard. We want to give him most of our reps and we want to work hard to perfect what we can build around him.''
It still might not be enough against an Arizona team that's trying to build something of its own.