By Jason Elmquist
TUCSON – The Oklahoma State University defense will have possibly its tallest task of the non-conference schedule with today's opponent.
The University of Arizona, under first-year coach Rich Rodriguez, put over 600 yards of offense in its season opener last week and will look to repeat it's performance against the Cowboys.
"This will be a good challenge for us. In watching the tape it's what we would expect from Coach Rodriguez's team," OSU coach Mike Gundy said. "Their offense put up around 624 yards last Saturday night. Their quarterback threw for 360 and rushed for about 85. They had a tailback that rushed for about 150."
While the Cowboys played the Wildcats just a year ago at Boone Pickens Stadium —which OSU won 37-14 — Oklahoma State won't be able to take a whole lot from that game film with Arizona under leadership.
"They're doing a little bit of a run game. There are some passing things that are a little bit different," OSU linebacker Caleb Lavey said. "We have to watch some of the old Rich Rodriguez Michigan tapes to see some of the similarities and some of the stuff that's rolled over."
And the Cowboys already have an idea of what to expect with a Rodrgiuez-led team — a lot of running.
"It's assignment football. You have to have every guy doing his job and knowing what he's got to do because that'll get you," Lavey said. "When someone blows an assignment, that's where the big gains are. Arizona is a good team, and they've got some good players.
"They've got a really good system with the way they run the ball and the way they pass the ball. We've seen a lot of that through the Big 12, and hopefully, we can hit this week hard."
While Rodriguez's offenses have been notorious with the rushing attack, his Wildcat squad had a pension to throw a little more in the opener against Toledo. Starting quarterback Matt Scott went 30 for 46 with 387 yards passing with two touchdowns and an interception in Week 1.
"Scott is an operator. He's got a great arm," OSU co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. "People saw how explosive they were (in the opener). They had over 600 yards, but probably could have had 800 if you include the ones that got called back. ... If you give him a chance to pull it, he'll pull it."