Focus on quarterbacks for Wildcats, Beavers - East Valley Tribune: News

Focus on quarterbacks for Wildcats, Beavers

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Posted: Friday, September 25, 2009 8:54 pm | Updated: 1:49 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

CORVALLIS, Ore.  — Arizona is in the midst of a quarterback controversy and Oregon State could be facing one when the two teams meet Saturday.

Sophomore Nick Foles will make his first start at quarterback for the Wildcats (2-1) in place of Matt Scott. Arizona coach Mike Stoops said he wants to see if the Wildcats get a "better flow" with Foles in the game.

"We just feel that Nick deserves an opportunity to start. Matt has to continually improve and be a playmaker for us at quarterback," Stoops said.

Scott went 4-of-14 for 50 yards and an interception last weekend in a 27-17 loss to Iowa. The Wildcats (2-1) lost 27-17.

Foles, a transfer from Michigan State, has completed 12 of 19 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns in appearances against Northern Arizona and Iowa.

He is more of a traditional dropback passer than Scott, who is the team's second-leading rusher with 170 yards on 23 carries.

Foles broke some of Drew Brees' passing records at Westlake High School in Texas before playing in one game for Michigan State in 2007, attempting eight passes. He sat out last season after transferring.

"I know it's going to be crazy," Foles said of his debut as starter. "Iowa was a tough atmosphere, and I think it's going to be even crazier now that we're in the Pac-10. Mentally, you just have to be confident."

Scott is by no means completely out of the picture for the Wildcats and will likely see playing time.

On Oregon State's side, starter Sean Canfield will likely be scrutinized with last year's starter, Lyle Moevao, waiting in the wings.

Moevao has missed the first three games because he was slow to recover fully from offseason rotator-cuff surgery. Moevao was the team's starter for all but two games last season, when the Beavers went 9-4 and made a run for the Rose Bowl that fizzled late in the season.

Canfield has performed admirably in his place, throwing for three touchdowns and one interception in the first three games for the Beavers (2-1).

Moevao went through his first week of practice last week before the Beavers' 28-18 loss to then-No. 17 Cincinnati. Coach Mike Riley said Moevao would be more involved this week in preparation for Saturday's game at home against Arizona.

Moevao could potentially see playing time against the Wildcats.

But while many eyes will be on the quarterback situation, the game will feature two of the conference's top running backs, Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers and Arizona's Nic Grigsby.

Grigsby is averaging 133.3 yards rushing a game, second in the Pac-10 behind Cal's Jahvid Best. He averages 8.2 yards a carry.

Rodgers, last season's Pac-10 player of the year as a freshman, is averaging 114 yards rushing and 152.7 all-purpose yards. He's run for five touchdowns.

"They're similar," Oregon State linebacker Keaton Kristick said. "He (Grigsby) is an athletic back and he's gained a lot of yards this first couple of games. It's good to start getting to the Pac-10, you've played these guys the past couple of years and you know how they play which will be exciting and I'm looking forward to it."

Arizona leads the series 20-11-1, but the Beavers have won three straight and nine of the last 10.

Last season Justin Kahut made a 24-yard field goal as time ran out to give Oregon State a 19-17 victory in Tucson. It was the Beavers' eighth victory over the season, but Rodgers hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and was out the rest of the way.

Oregon State has lost its last five Pac-10 openers.

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