KERRY SAYS: Arizona's defense not as bad as advertised


Tsunamis are easier to predict that Saturday's Oregon State-Arizona matchup at Reser Stadium.

Will Oregon State, which made progress in its 35-20 loss at Arizona State last Saturday, break through into the winning column?

Or will Arizona, behind the Ben Roethlisberger-like presence of senior quarterback Nick Foles, riddle the Oregon State defense through the air en route to victory?

The one thing that seems certain is it won't be a 10-7 score.

Arizona's defense hasn't held up well against a murderer's row schedule that has included Stanford, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Southern Cal.

But the Wildcats aren't as bad on that side of the ball as advertised. I'm sure they'll do what they can to put plenty of heat on OSU's freshman QB, Sean Mannion, to force a few interceptions.

Arizona's run defense has been porous (211 yards per game), but the Beavers haven't shown much inclination to try to run on anybody since Malcolm Agnew departed via hamstring injury after the Sacramento State game.

That will change Saturday. No matter whether Terron Ward or Jovan Stevenson or Jordan Jenkins is in at tailback, the Beavers will try to establish a ground attack. The goal would be for Mannion to throw the ball 40 times instead of 66.

The Wildcats will try to run, too. OSU's defensive front seven will be a key in this one. The Beavers, who put some pressure on Arizona State's Brock Osweiler a week ago, must even amp it up a notch against Foles.

This should be a nip-and-tuck affair, but I'm not quite convinced the Beavers will be able to get it done.

THE PICK: Arizona 31, Oregon State 27.