The Thursday night (10:30pm ET) game of the week for the 6th week of the 2014 season again features a PAC-12 match-up with the Arizona Wildcats (4-0) traveling to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR to take on the 2nd ranked Oregon Ducks (4-0). The Wildcats came back to defeat Cal 49-45 at home their last time out in week 4, they had a bye week last week. They have also defeated UNLV (58-13), Texas-San Antonio (26-23) and Nevada (35-28). Oregon also had a bye last week, the Ducks had a closer than expected 38-31 win on the road against Mike Leach’s Washington St. in week 4. The Ducks also notched wins over South Dakota (62-13), Michigan St. (46-27) and Wyoming (48-14).
The Wildcats rank 16th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 42 points per game and 6th in total offense with 593.8 yards per game. Quarterback Anu Solomon threw for 520 yards against Cal, and has thrown for 1,454 yards with 13 TDs and a 63% completion percentage so far this season. Defensively Arizona ranks 75th nationally in scoring defense with 27.3 PPG allowed and 87th in total defense with 430.5 YPG allowed.
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Oregon ranks 4th nationally in scoring offense with 48.5 PPG and 10th in total offense with 555.3 YPG. Quarterback Marcus Mariota keys the Ducks’ up-tempo spread attack that averages 330 YPG through the air (16th nationally). As usual the Ducks excel at running the football with 225.3 YPG on the ground (32nd nationally). Defensively Oregon ranks 41st in scoring defense with 21.3 PPG allowed and 95th in total defense with 443.5 YPG allowed.
Arizona vs. Oregon Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arizona Wildcats +24
@Oregon Ducks -24
Over 79 (-110)
Under 79 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Arizona vs. Oregon Pick:
Last season the Wildcats rolled Oregon 42-16 in Tucson, to derail their PAC-12 and BCS Championship hopes. Arizona and Oregon both feature fast-paced spread offenses Oregon allowed Arizona to run wild last season, with 304 yards on the ground and an 11 for 16 conversion rate on 3rd downs. The Oregon offense was bogged down last season by a knee injury to Mariota, this season their offensive line has lost two starters to injury and allowed 7 sacks in their narrow win over Washington State. Oregon also has issues defending the pass, and they rank 119th nationally with 315.3 YPG allowed through the air. Connor Cook from Michigan St. and Connor Halliday from Washington St. both carved up the Ducks secondary, and Solomon should have similar success here. Arizona ranks 7th in the nation in passing offense with 365.8 YPG through the air, they will be able to throw the ball against this Oregon defense. Arizona’s defense is also weak against the pass with 295.3 YPG allowed (113th nationally), so there should be ample opportunity for both highly productive QBs to have success here.
It is tempting to take the OVER given that both offenses have been so prolific and the defenses have both had some issues, but the total has climbed too high to make it a sensible play even with these teams. Oregon should be looking to avenge their loss last season, but Arizona will not be intimated by them and should make a game of this. The safer play here is to take Arizona with their recent history of success against Oregon and the Ducks having trouble defending the pass. There should be no shortage of points in this game but the play is to take Arizona here.