By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona football team has had no problem finding motivation, especially this past week.
Wins keep piling up for the No. 11 UA squad, at least in the conference, but several other teams have hung close enough to where the Wildcats have some indication of what they will run into as they begin the second half of their conference schedule.
After beating up Washington 31-20 last Saturday, Oregon has some renewed vigor as it gets set to host the Wildcats at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
"They're playing with tremendous belief that they're going to win and that's the most important thing you can have," UA coach Dick Tomey said. "That's probably more important than talent."
That is what the Ducks have going for them. The win over the Huskies was the program's biggest in years. In their win over Southern Cal, the Ducks were forced to use a backup quarterback. And all of a sudden Oregon has an outside shot at its first Rose Bowl appearance since 1958.
"If we want to stay in this thing and make it interesting for ourselves and everyone else, we must win this weekend," Oregon coach Rich Brooks said.
The Wildcats (6-1 overall, 4-0 in the Pacific 10 Conference) can help themselves in a big way with a win over the Ducks. With USC facing Washington State, one of those teams will get its second conference loss and be virtually eliminated.
Beating upstart Oregon (5-3, 3-1) should be a sizeable task. Danny O'Neil, one of three 3,000-yard passers in the conference last year, leads the team onto the field. Strong-armed and elusive, O'Neil can be a threat comparable to what Arizona saw in Colorado State's Anthoney Hill.
After whipping Division II Portland State and falling to Hawaii and Utah, the Ducks looked dismal at the outset. But with strong conference wins and just a loss to Washington State, they're back in the race. Brooks characterizes his team as downtrodden despite its recent success.
"It's been a chore to mold this team together and we're still not functioning on all cylinders," Brooks said.
The Ducks' win over Washington was paramount. As Tomey compared Oregon to his '92 team, com-ing off a big win over UW seems like a good analogy. But after the UA's win over then-No. 1 Washington, Arizona rebounded by losing three straight.
Losses in past years sting and the Wildcats should know this more than anyone. Before playing the Bruins last Saturday, Arizona was reminded of their 1993 loss. The Ducks must be a little upset at how easily Arizona handled them with the option as Dan White sat down last year in favor of temporary option quarterback Chuck Levy.
"I think they have a lot of motivation," fullback Jason Patterson said. "This is a
way for them to get revenge on us. We have to find our motivation."
Said UA defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff: "We get our guys thinking it's going to be the worst. The worse it gets the better we'll play. We're in for a tough one but we love it."
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