College football: No. 22 Arizona, No. 3 Oregon to clash in battle of hyper-drive offenses
Eugene, Ore. • Much has been made this week about how new Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez pioneered the up-tempo, no-huddle offense, and how Oregon coach Chip Kelly has taken the concept and run with it, so to speak.
So while most eyes are unblinkingly watching the two hyper-drive offenses, it may be the defenses that determine the outcome when the No. 22 Wildcats visit the No. 3 Ducks on Saturday night at Autzen Stadium.
"Everybody's got their work cut out for them," Oregon safety Brian Jackson said.
There are plenty of numbers both defenses are no doubt pondering right now.
Arizona is averaging 46.3 points per games, or 12th in the nation, compared to Oregon's 54 points, fifth nationally. The Wildcats average 604.7 yards in total offense per game, fourth nationally, while the Ducks average 596.3 yards for seventh.
The Wildcats lead the nation with 108 first downs through three games, while Oregon is sixth with 89.
"They are always exciting to watch on TV because of the type of offense they run, but their team can be beat," Arizona cornerback Jonathan McKnight said. "We just have to play really hard against them."
The Wildcats have introduced a new 3-3-5 defense, which has held their opponents to an average of 382 yards in total offense and 18.3 points.
Arizona opened Rodriguez's tenure with a victory over Toledo before upsetting then-No. 18 Oklahoma State 59-38 in its second game. Last weekend in a 56-0 win over South Carolina State, the Wildcats ran a school-record 102 offensive plays.
Oregon State at No. 19 UCLA • Bruins tailback Johnathan Franklin said he had plenty of fun during the season's first three weeks, becoming the nation's leading rusher while the long-downtrodden UCLA got off to a 3-0 start.
Franklin says the fun is over for the Bruins, starting Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Oregon State is visiting with a run-stopping defense that doesn't care about No. 19 UCLA's perfect beginning, but the Bruins say they're prepared for the grind.
The midday heat in Arroyo Seco is likely to be oppressive when UCLA hosts the Beavers (1-0) in the Pac-12 opener for both schools. The Bruins haven't opened a season with four straight wins since 2005.