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Opponent Offense Preview: Arizona Wildcats

The Wildcats bring a high powered pass attack into Husky Stadium.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Oregon at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Arizona is led by QB Jayden de Laura and a trio of talented wide receivers: Jacob Cowing, Dorian Singer, and Tetairoa McMillan. The 3-3 Wildcats still may not make a bowl game, but those four have completely transformed the face of this team which went 1-11 last season and 0-5 in the 2020 season.

By taking advantage of the transfer portal, Arizona landed the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in de Laura, and arguably the nation’s best returning receiver in Cowing. Combine that with the major recruiting win of McMillan - a top-50 overall recruit last season - and a much improved Dorian Singer, and you get an impressive one year turnaround.

The Players

Jayden de Laura is top-10 in the country in yards (1,874) and touchdowns (15), completing a solid 61% of his passes with a respectable 7.8 yards per attempt. He’s spent most of his career in a run-n-shoot system and it shows in the way he plays. He’s dynamic and improvisational, if not a bit of a gunslinger. While his 15 touchdowns are impressive, 7 interceptions is a few more than you would like. He’s mobile and not afraid to take off running for chunk yardage, either. Quarterback play at Arizona is night and day from last season and with de Laura, they have a fighting chance against anyone.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 08 Oregon at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As great as de Laura has been, he wouldn’t be doing any of it without WR Jacob Cowing. He’s picked up right where he left off at UTEP, currently ranking top-5 in receiving yards (643) and tied for third in receiving touchdowns (7) in the country. He’s not the biggest at 5-11 and 170 pounds but has excellent route running and acceleration to get separation on anyone. He’s a true vertical threat too, but also has play-making ability with the ball in his hands. He’s just one of those receivers that is always open and catches everything.

WR Dorian Singer followed up an 18-catch freshman season with 35 so far this year, for 506 yards; that’s more than Jalen McMillan, and 18 shy of Rome Odunze. He’s 6-1 and 185 pounds and has made a few highlight reel catches already this year, including Arizona’s longest pass of the season for 47 yards. Rounding out the WR group is Tetairoa McMillan, a 6-5 true freshman with 4 touchdowns and 338 yards. He has excellent hands, route running, and body control, more than living up to his blue chip ranking so far. There’s also TE Tanner McLachlan, who is on the field for most plays because of his pass blocking, but also gets a few receptions per game on short and intermediate routes.

In the run game, Arizona is led by junior RB Michael Wiley’s 297 yards and his improved play is the story of the running backs this year. Meanwhile, true freshman Jonah Coleman has been quietly putting together a nice debut season. The 5-9, 225 bowling ball of a back has 45 carries for 217 yards and 2 TDs. Florida State transfer RB D.J. Williams gives Arizona another physical presence with his hard running style. Finally, LT Jordan Morgan deserves a shoutout as a pillar on the offensive line.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 06 Cal at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Scheme

If you hadn’t guessed, this is a pass first system. Like Washington, Arizona generates about 75% of their total yards through the air and pass the football about 60% of the time, one the highest rates in the country. They are not afraid to attack the middle of the field with their RPO and quick pass game. With Jayden de Laura’s strengths as a player, they borrow concepts from the run and shoot offense, a system reliant on both the QB and WR reading defenses in real time and adjusting to what they are seeing as the play unfolds.

The End

Arizona’s pass game is explosive, but they don’t finish enough drives with touchdowns and their play-to-play efficiency is just average. Their run game is less effective than Washington’s but they can absolutely move the ball through the air. This is one of the most improved offenses in college football, with 31 points per game nearly double last year’s output. Turnovers - especially when playing from behind - have plagued this team. Against both Cal and Mississippi State, de Laura forced things and turned the ball over, often times on early downs when you want to stay ahead of the chains. The best defense Washington can play right now is for its offense to get ahead early, and hope that forces de Laura into turnovers.


How many points will Arizona score?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (1 vote)
  • 8%
    (12 votes)
  • 25%
    (36 votes)
  • 32%
    (46 votes)
  • 20%
    (29 votes)
  • 12%
    42 or more
    (18 votes)
143 votes total Vote Now