Arizona plays Oklahoma State tonight on ESPN, starting at 5 p.m. Tucson time. Here are some notes and other items to help get you ready:
Matchups to watch
3. PK Jaime Salazar vs. himself — The junior college transfer struggled in his opening game as the starting place-kicker. In fact, the whole place-kicking operation was a mess. Arizona likely will need loads of touchdowns tonight — not field goals — but everything helps, and Salazar needs to convert what opportunities he has, if only to establish some confidence going forward.
2. Arizona offensive line vs. Oklahoma State pass rush — Redshirt freshman OTs Mickey Baucus and Fabbians Ebbele will be making their first road starts. Each had a false start penalty in the first quarter against NAU last week, and now will be dealing with a loud and hostile crowd at Boone Pickens Stadium. Baucus and Ebbele will be trying to slow down DEs Richetti Jones and Jamie Blatnick, who combined for eight tackles, including two sacks against Arizona in the Alamo Bowl last year.
1. CB Shaquille Richardson vs. OSU WR Justin Blackmon — It won’t be just Richardson, as the whole secondary has to take responsibility, but it was Richardson who took the brunt of the blame when NAU completed 16 consecutive passes last week. The Cats are expected to tighten up coverage and try to take away safe, short throws, but that could expose Richardson one-on-one vs. OSU star WR Justin Blackmon. Blackmon, according to ESPN.com, has 12 catches of 20-plus yards since the start of the 2010 season, most in the nation.
–Arizona WR Juron Criner (undisclosed illness) is out. Redshirt freshman Austin Hill, who caught a 24-yard touchdown pass last week, is listed as his backup, but UA could mix and match its outside receivers in a number of ways. Others who need to make big plays on the outside are Gino Crump and Dan Buckner.
–Arizona RB Daniel Jenkins is out because of an ankle injury suffered in the team’s final scrimmage. That means further opportunities for true freshman Ka’Deem Carey behind starter Keola Antolin.
–Arizona QB Bryson Beirne is expected to be available tonight. He suffered a knee sprain in a scrimmage on Aug. 13 and missed last week’s opener. Arizona likely will turn to Beirne if QB Nick Foles is out for a short period of time, as the Cats try to redshirt QB Matt Scott.
Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young told the Tulsa World that he has “tremendous” respect for Arizona coach Mike Stoops, who previously served as an assistant at Kansas State and Oklahoma.
“When he was at Kansas State as a coach, we used to copy things that he did,” Young said. “We would watch Kansas State film and OU film when he was there. …
“We went out and visited Arizona when I was at Kansas because of their scheme and their reputation as defensive coaches. … Everything he does is very sound and right on the cutting edge.”
Several Arizona assistants have experience with games at Oklahoma State, including secondary coach Ryan Walters, a former safety at Colorado. What is unique about playing there?
“Just all the orange. It’s like Halloween sometimes,” he said.
Rece Davis will be the play-by-play announcer on ESPN tonight. Craig James and Jesse Palmer will be analysts in the booth, with Jenn Brown serving as the sideline reporter. … Oklahoma State had 666 yards of total offense last week against Louisiana, which is Arizona’s opponent to conclude the regular-season. … Another matchup to watch: Arizona DE C.J. Parish vs. Oklahoma State RT Levy Adcock, who earned All-Big 12 honors last season.