Arizona and No. 9 Oklahoma State will open the second week of college football tonight at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Both teams enter tonight's contest at 1-0. Arizona got 412 yards passing and five touchdown passes from QB Nick Foles in a 41-10 win over Northern Arizona last weekend. The Pokes are looking to hold their Top 10 ranking. They rolled up 61 points in a 27-point victory over visiting Louisiana-Lafayette last week.
The QB matchup
Both Foles and OSU senior signal-caller Brandon Weeden are looking for continued success in the second week of the season. Foles obviously had a productive game against NAU, but Weeden was almost equally as impressive in his opening game, completing 24-of-39 passes for 388 yards and three scores. Undoubtedly this matchup of senior QBs is going to have a lot of hype surrounding the game and influence which team will win. Weeden is definitely the elder here, in terms of age, as he will turn 28 in October. He is maybe most notable remembered for being traded in a package for Kevin Brown to the Yankees back in 2002.
The Pokes have weapons on offense at the skill positions. Justin Blackmon, maybe the best receiver in college football, caught eight passes for nearly 150 yards in the opener, but didn't score. Junior Tracy Moore joins Blackmon as another quality receiver for Weeden in the offense. The Pokes enter the season with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who replaced now West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen. His job will be made easier with this Oklahoma State club. RB Joseph Randle, a true sophomore, scored twice and rushed for over 125 yards last week. Arizona gave up just 80 yards rushing last week to NAU, so the ground game will be critical for Oklahoma State tonight. Weeden surely can't throw three interceptions again if the Cowboys win.
The Wildcats have been getting a lot of ho-hum buzz this offseason, having a very young and inexperienced offensive line. Beating up on Northern Arizona was a good practice for tonight's game, where the Oklahoma State defense will be looking to improve upon giving up 20 points to the Ragin Cajuns last week (ULL scored twice in INTs for TDs). They created two turnovers in the win. Wildcat QB Foles is a very accurate passer, hitting 66 percent for his career at Arizona in 24 games. Juron Criner has just been ruled OUT for this game. Without him, the Wildcats, Foles especially, will have to move the ball around and hope to get big plays.
Line: OSU -13.5
Prediction: This line is hovering around two touchdowns for a reason. The Pokes are 17-5 at home in the past three seasons and beat Arizona 36-10 in last year's Alamo Bowl. If Criner plays I think the Wildcats have a chance to cover the number, but I'm still worried about that offensive line. I think the total at 66 is pretty fair considering the two teams combined to score over 100 points last week against far worse competition. However, I'll take a full Oklahoma State team at home to cover the number. Oklahoma State -13.5.