Stanford vs. Arizona prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Cardinal and Wildcats.
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 11:00 p.m. ET
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
TV Broadcast: FS1
Stanford (4-3) definitely has not had the season many thought it would. It started out the with three straight wins, but has since dropped three out of its last four games. The most recent loss came at home to Pac-12 foe Colorado, 10-5, in a contest that more resembled a baseball game.
Arizona’s (2-5) season hasn’t been that great either. After starting out 2-1, the Wildcats have been defeated in their last four games. They’ve fallen to Washington, UCLA, Utah, and most recently, USC. The Trojans beat Arizona, 48-14. The Wildcats allowed 34 points in the first half to USC and never once captured the lead.
The Cardinal has taken the last four meetings with the Wildcats, including last season’s 55-17 final. Stanford leads the all-time series, 15-14. Arizona hasn’t won since 2009 in Tucson, 43-38.
What To Know About Stanford
Christian McCaffrey returned for the Cardinal last weekend and rushed for 92 yards on 21 carries. He also caught two balls for 26 yards but never found the end zone. Meanwhile, quarterback Ryan Burns had a pretty rough night. He completed 16-of-29 passes for 170 yards with three interceptions. Wide receiver Trenton Irwin led the team with seven catches for 88 yards. On Tuesday, though, David Shaw announced Keller Chryst as the starter for this game in place of Burns.
Defensively, Joey Alfieri and Solomon Thomas combined for three sacks and 14 tackles, but Stanford allowed 359 yards of total offense to the Buffaloes. The Cardinal rank No. 41 in total defense, allowing 365.9 yards per game. But it also ranks No. 23 in scoring defense while giving up 20.3 points per game.
What to Know About Arizona
Quarterback Brandon Dawkins looks to be ready to go after clearing concussion protocol. He last played on Oct. 8 against Utah and completed 11-of-20 passes for 243 yards, a touchdown and two picks. He also rushed for 49 yards and a score on 14 carries. That’s what Dawkins does. He can hurt a defense by getting up the field and keeping the chains moving with his legs. Khalil Tate and Matt Morin both filled in for him last time out and combined for 11-of-26 passing for 142 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Tate also rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown, but running back Nick Wilson supplied 47 yards on six carries. The problem, though, is that Wilson will be held out with a knee injury. That means Zach Green will be expected to see an increase in his workload. Green rushed for 46 yards on 14 carries against USC.
Offense: Stanford – The Wildcats have a lot of injuries, and the Cardinal just got McCaffrey back.
Defense: Stanford – Even with Alijah Holder out for the rest of the season, Quenton Meeks plays a huge role in the secondary.
Special Teams: Stanford – McCaffrey in the return game is always a threat.
Coaching: Stanford – David Shaw can do a lot of positive things when his team is healthy, and Rich Rodriguez’s squad is far from that.
Matchup To Watch
Christian McCaffrey vs. Arizona defense
McCaffrey may not be having the Heisman season we thought he’d show out with, but he’s still supremely talented and can take over a game in the blink of an eye. It’ll be up to the Wildcats to swarm to the ball and try to bottle up the star tailback. Arizona needs to force Chryst to make plays with his arm. It has to man the flats in case Stanford tries to get the ball to McCaffrey on the perimeter in the passing game. And it’ll have to get some penetration through the middle of the line while the linebackers force McCaffrey back between the tackles.
Spread: Stanford -5.5
Stanford vs. Arizona Prediction
There are simply too many injuries for Arizona. Dawkins will come back and do some nice things. He’ll throw for 150-plus yards and a touchdown, but the real extent of his work will come in running the football. Dawkins will tote the rock for a couple of scores, and that’s where the scoring will stop for the Wildcats. McCaffrey will catch a touchdown and run for a touchdown, and Burns will be careful with the football. Stanford will take the lead early and maintain a steady offensive flow to take the win.
Stanford vs. Arizona Score Prediction: Stanford 35, Arizona 21