Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008 | midnight
Record: (7-5, 5-4 PAC-10)
Offense (Nationally): 34th in total offense (401.25 yards per game); 40th in passing offense (237.25 yds/g)); 48th in rushing offense (164 yds/g); 16th in scoring offense (37.1 points per game)
Quarterback: Sr. Willie Tuitama (6-foot-1, 220 lbs.)
Tuitama is ranked 24th in the nation in passing efficiency with a 64.6 percent completion percentage. Tuitama has completed 235-of-364 passes for 2,763 yards, 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Running Backs: So. Nic Grigsby (5-foot-10, 194 lbs.) and Fr. Keola Antolin (5-foot-8, 180 lbs.)
Antolin and Grigsby have created a solid one-two punch for the Wildcats this season with Antolin seeing a lot of playing time for a true freshman. Although Grigsby leads Arizona with 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns on 194 carries, Bishop Gorman graduate Antolin posted 525 yards and 10 touchdowns on 117 carries.
Receivers and Tight Ends: Sr. Mike Thomas (5-foot-8, 195 lbs.), So. Delashaun Dean (6-foot-4, 198 lbs.) and So. Rob Gronkowski (6-foot-6, 260 lbs.)
Tuitama loves to spread the ball around as five different Wildcats have hauled in double-digit receptions this season. Yet the craft Thomas has emerged as Tuitama's favorite target with 70 receptions for 796 yards and four touchdowns. Tight end Gronkowski is a natural in the red zone as he leads the Wildcats with 10 receiving touchdowns on 43 catches.
Offensive Line: Jr. Eben Britton (6-foot-6, 310 lbs.), Jr. Mike Diaz (6-foot-5, 340 lbs.), So. Colin Baxter (6-foot-4, 295 lbs.), Sr. Joe Longacre (6-foot-3, 315 lbs) and Sr. James Tretheway (6-foot-6, 305 lbs.)
Although this offensive line does have some experience under its belt, these linemen are not anything to write home about. The have allowed 2.25 sacks per game, which is 85th out of 119 Division I teams.
Defense (Nationally): 20th in total defense, 14th in pass defense, 42nd in rush defense and 36th in scoring defense
Defensive backs: Jr. Cam Nelson (6-foot-1, 200 lbs.), Jr. Devin Ross (5-foot-11, 170 lbs.), Sr. Nate Ness (6-foot-1, 190 lbs.), Sr. Marquis Hundley (6-foot-0, 175 lbs.)
Arizona's defensive backs are some of the toughest in the nation and have really been the backbone of the team all season. This veteran squad ranks 14th in the nation and third in the Pac-10 in pass defense, allowing just 169.75 passing yards per game. Arizona has picked off 15 passes this year with redshirt freshman Trevin Wade leading the way with four interceptions.
Linebackers: Sr. Adrian McCovy (6-ffot-3, 225 lbs.), Jr. Corey Hall (5-foot-10, 190 lbs.), Sr. Ronnie Palmer (6—fot-3, 245 lbs.), and Jr. Xavier Kelley (5-foot-11, 215 lbs.)
Palmer leads the linebacking corps with 77 total tackles, including 11 tackles for a loss. But the Wildcats will have to face BYU without junior Sterling Lewis who is third on the team with 59 tackles. Lewis was arrested for DUI last week and will not be allowed to make the trip to Las Vegas.
Defensive line: So. Brooks Reed (6-foot-3, 260 lbs.), Jr. Earl Mitchell (6-foot-2, 285 lbs.), Jr. Donald Horton (6-foot-0, 280 lbs.), Sp. Ricky Elmore (6-foot-5, 260 lbs.)
The Wildcats typically always rush four men on the defensive front, which could prove to be a tough challenge for the Cougars Saturday. Reed leads the team with seven sacks, while Elmore has four of his own.
Steve Silver can be reached at 948-7822 or [email protected].