Coming off bye week, UArizona hits road to face No. 6 Oregon

Coming off bye week, UArizona hits road to face No. 6 Oregon
After a bye week, UArizona is hitting the road to take on the sixth-ranked Oregon Ducks. (Source: Mike Christy)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Wildcats (4-5, 2-4) hit the road to play the No. 6 Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0) in Eugene, Ore. Saturday, Nov. 16.

Kickoff at Autzen Stadium is slated for 8:30 p.m. (Arizona time) with a television broadcast slated for ESPN. The Wildcats enjoyed their third bye week of the season and will be well-rested heading into the road challenge at Oregon. In a 44-15 upset over No. 19 Oregon last season redshirt junior running back J.J. Taylor rushed for 212 yards and two scores.

The Ducks also rested over a bye week after defeating USC 56-24 in Los Angeles. Oregon remains undefeated in Pac-12 Conference play this season, though the Wildcats have come away with a win in three of their last five contests against the Ducks.

Notes

  • The Arizona Wildcats will head to Eugene, Oregon Saturday to take on the sixth-ranked Ducks following their third and final bye of the season.
  • Arizona has beaten Oregon each of the past three matchups where the Wildcats enter unranked and the Ducks enter ranked. The Cats topped No. 19 Oregon 44-15 last year, four years after knocking off the second-ranked Ducks 31-24 in Eugene. Unranked Arizona also beat No. 5 Oregon 42-16 in Tucson in 2013.
  • Arizona faces its first AP Top 25 team of the season in Oregon. The Wildcats are 47-122-1 all-time against AP Top 25 teams and 14-61-1 on the road. The program is also 19-57-1 versus AP Top 10 teams, with its most recent win coming in 2015 versus No. 10 Utah.
  • The Wildcats are one of four programs nationally with a 6,000-yard career passer (Khalil Tate) and a 3,000-yard career rusher (J.J. Taylor). Arizona is joined by Utah, SMU and Vanderbilt. Tate has 6,001 career passing yards, while Taylor has rushed for 3,108 yards.
  • Arizona has had five plays go for 70 or more yards this season. Only Oklahoma State, Alabama, Colorado State and UCF have more.
  • Arizona is 12th in the country and second in the conference in total offense at 495.8 yards per game.
  • Arizona has converted on 11 of 13 (85 percent) fourth-down conversions. The Wildcats rank fourth in the country in fourth down conversion percentage. National leader Appalachian State is at 89 percent.

By The Numbers

  • 12: With his 3,108 rushing yards, J.J. Taylor has the 12th most rushing yards by any active Division I player. He has also moved up to No. 6 on Arizona’s career rushing list and is 56 yards away from passing Mike Bell for fifth all-time.
  • 11: Arizona has had 11 different players catch at least one touchdown pass this season, which is tied with Oregon for the most in the Pac-12.
  • 42: Colin Schooler has 42 career tackles-for-loss, which is tied for fourth-most by an active Division I player. His 37 career solo TFLs are second-most nationally by an active player and the most by a linebacker.
  • 18: The Wildcats have 18 rushing touchdowns in seven games this season. Arizona had 14 rushing scores all of last season.
  • 66.4: True freshman QB Grant Gunnell is completing 66.4 percent of his passes this year. That currently ranks as the fourth-best single-season mark ever by an Arizona QB and would be the best mark ever by an Arizona freshman QB.
  • 34: Junior linebacker Tony Fields II has started all 34 games of his career. He has 262 career tackles and is the 25th player in school history to surpass the 250-tackle mark in his career. Colin Schooler is currently 20th in school history with 286.

GAME THEMES

It’s Arizona vs. Oregon and if past matchups have been any indication, absolutely anything can happen...The last three times the two teams have met with Oregon ranked and Arizona unranked, the Wildcats have walked away winners...Since 2013, Oregon is 16-6 against the rest of the Pac-12 South in regular season games and 1-3 against Arizona...Utah (twice) is the only other Pac-12 South team to knock off Oregon multiple times since 2013...Over the last five matchups, counting the 2014 Pac-12 Championship game, Arizona is 3-2 against Oregon ... The common denominator has been easy to figure out ... In the three wins, the Wildcats surrendered 18.3 points per game ... In the two losses, Arizona gave up 49.5 points per game ... In fact, over the last 12 matchups between Oregon and Arizona, Oregon is 7-0 when scoring more than 40 points per game and 0-5 when scoring less than 40 ... Oregon’s 49-0 win over Arizona in Eugene in 2012 marked the last time the Wildcats have been shut out ... This year, Oregon again enters the matchup as one of the top teams in the country, ranked No. 6 in the most recent AP Top 25 poll ... The Ducks are 8-1 overall, 6-0 in conference and have won eight straight games ... The Ducks rank second in the conference in total defense, allowing 313.4 yards per game and second in scoring defense, surrendering just 15.8 points per game ... The Ducks are also second in rushing defense (100.1 yards allowed per game) and passing defense (213.3 yards allowed per game) ... Arizona’s offense should be up for the task, as the Wildcats are second in the conference in total offense at 495.8 yards per game and second in rushing offense at 196.4 yards per game ... The Wildcats are playing a road game for the third time in their last four games ... Thanks to their trip to Hawai’i and this week’s journey, the Wildcats will travel 11,894 miles this season, which is the most by any Power 5 program ... The next closest is West Virginia at 11,133 miles ... Interestingly, as a league, the Pac-12′s average mileage for a trip is 8,560...The next closest Power 5 Conference is the Big 12 at 5,861 miles ... Senior quarterback Khalil Tate enters this weekend’s matchup with 2,184 rushing yards and 6,001 passing yards ... He one of just two quarterbacks in Pac-12 history to rush for at least 2,000 yards and pass for 5,000 yards, joining former Oregon star Marcus Mariota...Running back J.J. Taylor, who is one of 13 active Division I players with at least 3,000 rushing yards, had 212 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries against Oregon in last year’s win ... In two games against Oregon, he is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and 133.5 yards per game.

LAST MEETING

Arizona jumped out to an early lead over No.19 Oregon and never looked back in a convincing 44-15 win over the Ducks at Arizona Stadium last season...Arizona raced out to a 16-0 lead, thanks to a 22-yard touchdown pass from Khalil Tate to Shawn Poindexter and a trio of Josh Pollack field goals...Oregon closed it to 16-8 with 9:17 left in the first half, but never got any closer... J.J. Taylor scored from one yard out, followed by another touchdown catch from Poindexter and a 27-yard passing touchdown from Tate to Shun Brown ...Brown’s touchdown with 2:49 left in the third, made it 37-8 Arizona, thanks to 21 straight points...Taylor scored again, this time from 19 yards out, with 3:32 left to make it 44-15, which held up to be the final...Oregon had just 270 yards of total offense on 71 plays, while Arizona ran 84 plays for 465 yards...Oregon was held to just 84 rushin gyards, while the Cats pounded out 276 yards on the ground...Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert completed just 24 of 48 passes for 186 yards and was picked off by Scottie Young Jr. ... Khalil Tate threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the win...Brown finished with 10 catches for 96 yards in the win, while both of Poindexter’s catches went for touchdowns...The win over Oregon secured a victory over a ranked team for Arizona, marking six out of the past seven seasons where the Wildcats have beaten a ranked team...Saturday’s game against Oregon will be the first time this season the Cats have faced a ranked team

CHARTING THE CATS

  • Running back J.J. Taylor has 3,108 career rushing yards, which ranks sixth all-time at Arizona. Taylor needs 56 more yards to pass Mike Bell for fifth...Taylor's 546 career carries are the fewest of any player in the top 10. 
  • Quarterback Khalil Tate has passed for 6,001 yards in his career, which ranks sixth-most in program history. He'll need another 16 yards to move into fifth.
  • Tate has rushed for 2,184 yards. He is the 17th player in program history to rush for at least 2,000 yards. With 205 more yards, he would pass Jim Upchurch for 13th all-time at Arizona in rushing yards. 
  • Tate has racked up 8,185 yards of total offense in his career, which currently ranks No. 3 in school history. He is 542 yards behind Willie Tuitama for second all-time in program history. 
  • Tate has passed for 55 touchdowns in his career, which ranks third all-time in program history. Nick Foles and Willie Tuitama share the record with 67 touchdown passes. 
  • Cornerback Jace Whittaker, who utilized his redshirt season last year, has 33 pass breakups, which ranks fourth all-time in program history. He's currently two behind Kelly Malveaux for third all-time. Whittaker had a pair of interceptions in the opener against Hawai'i and then another against NAU. He has seven picks for his career. 
  • Linebacker Colin Schooler enters Saturday's game with Oregon with 42 tackles-for-loss in just 34 games. He is tied with Scooby Wright and Mike Dawson for seventh-most in school history. With 1.5 tackles-for-loss, he would tie current Oregon defensive line coach Joe Salave'a for fifth all-time at Arizona.

ARIZONA VS. TOP 25

The Wildcats will face an AP Top 25 team for the first time this season Saturday at Oregon. The Ducks are ranked No. 6 in the latest poll and Arizona is 3-2 all-time against teams ranked No. 6. All-time, Arizona is 47-122-1 against the AP Top 25 and 19-57-1 against the AP Top 10. As documented above, each of the past three matchups where Arizona has entered unranked and Oregon has entered ranked, the Wildcats have left victorious. Arizona went 1-1 against AP Top 25 teams last year, beating Oregon and losing to No. 8 Washington State. Since the start of the 2014 season, Arizona is 6-12 against AP Top 25 teams. Three of Arizona’s last six Top 10 wins have come against Oregon. Since 2007, Arizona has beaten Oregon three times as a Top 10 team and has also knocked off No. 9 Iowa (2010), No. 10 USC (2012), and No. 10 Utah (2014).

WHAT’S UP, CHUCK?

One of four former Arizona players to be enshrined into NFF College Hall of Fame, Chuck Cecil was named the program’s defensive coordinator late last month. Cecil was a three-time first-team Academic All-America selection and starred for the Cats from 1984 to 1987. He was a consensus All-American in 1987 and a two-time first-team all-conference selection, plus a second-team selection as a sophomore. He was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and holds the Arizona career record with 21 career interceptions. He was a fourth-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1988 and played seven seasons in the NFL. He then coached 15 seasons in the NFL with the Titans and Rams organizations, serving as defensive coordinator for both franchises. Saturday’s game against Oregon will mark Cecil’s second as defensive coordinator. He took over for Marcel Yates prior to the Oregon State game.