Wildcats buckle up for tough battle vs. Beavers

BY foxsports • September 28, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. – It's copper-top night at Arizona Stadium on Saturday.

But after being drained against Oregon last week in an energy-sapping 49-0 loss, will Arizona have enough juice to get past No. 18 Oregon State? It will take more than the to-be-unveiled copper helmets. The Wildcats will have to rediscover the magic they had three weeks ago in their stunning win over Oklahoma State.

It all starts with energy. Last week, it just wasn't there.

Saturday night's game (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) against the Beavers (2-0, 1-0 Pac-12) will be the third ranked opponent for the Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) in four weeks. There won't be any more walkovers on the schedule -- like the last time the Wildcats played at Arizona Stadium, a 56-0 thrashing of South Carolina State.

Oregon State comes in with a better resume than Oregon when it comes to defense. The Beavers are ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (18.5 points) and third in total defense (325.5 yards per game). While Oregon tries to outscore opponents, Oregon State tries to just beat them.

"They have good speed. Their corners and their guys run really well," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said of Oregon State. "Their front runs really well, too, and I think that's why they have had so much success, because they get a lot of guys to the ball. We just have to execute in all phases. There were moments last week where no part of our offense could do what they normally do."

The Beavers are coming off a victory at UCLA, which followed a home-field win over Wisconsin -- moving them into the national rankings for the first time since 2010. The setting doesn't figure to intimidate them, either, as they have a four-game winning streak at Arizona Stadium.

Offensively, Mike Riley is employing a pro-style offense that is averaging 427 yards a game -- 327 of those through the air.

"We have pretty much seen a similar style all camp and all four weeks of the season," Rodriguez said. "Now, we are going to get a bigger look and bigger bodies, so we are going to have to adjust to that."

Oregon State will have to adjust to Arizona, too, dealing with the Wildcats' no-huddle pace.

"They are good, and they are adapting very well to Rich Rodriguez's offense," Riley told reporters on Thursday. "Rich has walked into a deal (the job) where he's put people in good spots to make plays. And he's got a good quarterback (Matt Scott) to fit his system. They are a very productive football team. They are going to gain some yards."

While some of the pregame buzz has focused on the debut of the copper helmets  – in honor of the state's rich tradition of copper mining – once the ball is kicked, the head gear will be irrelevant.

"I think they look great," Arizona quarterback Scott said. "I think we have to go blue jerseys. I don't think red would look that good. But it doesn't matter what you wear; you still have to go out there and win."