Arizona vs. Colorado: Wildcats look to become bowl eligible without Matt Scott

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

After suffering an embarrassing loss last week, the 'Cats have a chance to right the ship against lowly Colorado.

Arizona had a chance to put themselves in the driver's seat last weekend against UCLA. They ended up losing by more than 50 points.

Now, with the one-win Colorado Buffaloes coming to town for Homecoming, UA has a chance to pick up their sixth win of the year, which guarantees bowl eligibility.

The biggest story for the Wildcats is the health of senior quarterback Matt Scott. He suffered a concussion against UCLA after likely suffering a concussion against USC, and he's been deemed doubtful for Saturday. B.J. Denker, a junior who transferred in this past summer, will be the starter.

It's a scary proposition for coach Rich Rodriguez, but Arizona really doesn't have any other options. Richard Morrison played some quarterback in high school and will serve as Denker's backup, although he'd likely just be in there to hand the ball off and occasionally run it himself. If these two go down, we might just see a tailback take the direct snap for the remainder of the game.

Fortunately for UA, the Buffaloes have been awful this season. They rank 124th in the nation in total defense, and they surrender an average of 46.2 points to their opponents each week. Their lone win was by one point over Washington State.

If Scott was playing, this game would be over by halftime. Now things have a chance to get interesting in Tucson.

Here are three keys to watch for:

Denker's ability to run the offense:

Denker has yet to play any meaningful snaps this season. He's appeared in three blowouts and has a knack for losing the football while on the run. He won't necessarily have to win the game for Arizona, but he cannot lose it for them. Look for Denker to spend most of his time handing the ball off to Ka'Deem Carey, Daniel Jenkins and Taimi Tutogi.

Early start:

The game will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Tucson this weekend. I'm not sure I can recall a game at Arizona Stadium being started that early. For a team that's played most of their games at night, the early start could add an interesting dynamic to the matchup.

Defense?

Arizona's defense has given up 102 points the last two weeks. Colorado has given up 118. Given there will be two new quarterbacks on Saturday it seems unlikely we'll be in for another Pac-12 Shootout (TM), but there is a chance for some big plays to be broken off.

If the 'Cats fall behind early again, do they fall apart the way they did against UCLA? Has Colorado already given up on the season? We'll see which defense is the more competent one on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction:

Arizona 28 - Colorado 14

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