Arizona leads the nation in first downs with 108 and has 139 points for the season, 25 less than its 2004 team scored during an 11-game season. The Wildcats also have had two of the top three most prolific games in school history already this season, with 624 yards against Toledo and 689 against South Carolina State.
Oregon, as has been the case under Kelly, has utilized the big play, scoring 23 touchdowns while averaging 27.25 minutes of possession per game. Arizona has been a little more methodical, scoring 18 touchdowns with an average time of possession of 31.46 minutes.
“They thrive on big plays and always have,” Rodriguez said. “They have guys that can take it.”
Both teams do.
Oregon has playmakers that seem to rotate in like it’s a hockey game.
Do-everything back De’Anthony Thomas made sure the Ducks didn’t miss Heisman Trophy finalist LaMichael James, averaging 15.4 yards every time he touches the ball, whether it’s running, receiving or returning punts.
There’s running back Kenjon Barner, quarterback Marcus Mariota, Keanon Lowe and 10 receivers averaging at least 10 yards per catch.
Arizona’s offense revolves around quarterback Matt Scott.
A projected star before spending two seasons behind Nick Foles, Scott has been a dynamic force in the desert after finally getting his shot at being The Man.
The fifth-year senior has been a perfect fit for Rodriguez’s read-option offense, ranking fourth nationally with 395 total yards per game. He’s the Pac-12’s leading passer with 995 yards passing and is eighth in rushing with 190 yards.
“He’s a good passer, a good runner, everything,” Oregon defensive lineman Isaac Remington said.
Rodriguez was a trailblazer for the current no-huddle trend sweeping college football today, creating a 2-minute-drill-all-the-time offense while at Glenville State back in the 1990s. He took the offense with him to Clemson, West Virginia, Michigan and now Arizona, adding little tweaks along the way.
An assistant coach at New Hampshire at the time, Kelly had gone down to Clemson to visit with Rodriguez, then the Tigers offensive coordinator. Kelly took some of the ideas he got there and added a few wrinkles of his own to create an offensive juggernaut at New Hampshire, then injected it with jet fuel in Eugene.
“Unless you were in the room with Knute Rockne and those guys back in the day, you took it from somebody,” Kelly said.View Entire Story
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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