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Arizona's Foles has Beavers' attention

CORVALLIS - Arizona has had its struggles this season, but the Wildcats have one the nation's most potent weapons in quarterback Nick Foles.

The 6-5, 240-pound senior has completed 170 of 236 passes for 1,877 yards and 14 touchdowns with only two interceptions this season. Foles ranks second nationally in completions per game (34), third in passing yardage per game (375.4), fifth in total offense (357.0) and seventh in completion percentage (72.0).

'He is one of the best passers in this league in a long time,' Oregon State coach Mike Riley said of the man who will lead the Wildcats into battle against the Beavers on Saturday. 'He's accurate, has a quick release, great vision, and stays alive (against the pass rush).

'He knows where the checkdowns are. He finds people as he is getting hit. He is very resourceful. He is good at everything. He can reach all parts of the field and has a great touch on the deep ball.'

Foles' first career start was against Oregon State as a sophomore in 2009, completing 25 of 34 passes for 254 yards and three TDs with no interceptions in a 37-32 victory.

Last week in a 48-41 loss at Southern Cal, Foles connected on 41 of 53 passes for 425 yards and four TDs, but Trojan QB Matt Barkley threw for a school-record 468 yards and four scores.

OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker has great respect for Foles, who stands to be a first-round selection in next April's NFL draft.

'From a pure throwing standpoint, this kid is the best quarterback we've faced by far,' Banker said. 'He scrambles to keep the play extended, does a good job with keeping his eyes downfield and avoids the rush.

'As often as they pass, two interceptions is pretty amazing. And the number of times he has been sacked (13) isn't bad.'