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Strong offensive line the key to snapping losing streak this Saturday

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Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Nathan Tilford (33) dives towards the end-zone, in the second quarter of the Arizona-Colorado game on Nov. 2, 2018 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Az. At halftime the Wildcats lead 26-24.

It remains unclear who will be under center for the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday, Dec. 5 but no matter who it is, protecting them will be a top priority. 

“As a group, we’re not always on the same page and that starts with me,” redshirt senior offensive lineman Josh McCauley told Arizona Athletics. “No matter who is on the field, we’re going to step it up, and I think we have the right mindset right now. We’re going to come to work this week, and we’re going to improve. That’s our goal as a unit right now.”

Grant Gunnell left last Saturday’s game on the first play with a shoulder injury and did not return. Head coach Kevin Sumlin declined to announce his official status in Monday’s press conference. 

“We’re going to do the best thing for his career, so we’ll see where he is,” Sumlin said. “It is college football; I don’t have to say it.”

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Colorado has gotten off to a fast start at 3-0 this season, ranking second in the conference in total defense with a strong run game led by sophomore Jarek Broussard who has amassed more than 121 rushing yards in all three of the Buffaloes games. The Wildcats are tied for dead last in the Pac-12 in rushing yards allowed per game (229.0), so it should be expected that Colorado is going to attempt to take control of the game early with the running game. 

The Wildcats have had a number of players opt out for the season over the last week, the most recent being redshirt junior wide receiver Drew Dixon who is coming off his best game of the season in the loss against UCLA where he hauled in three passes for 46 yards. 

"I made a decision that will benefit me in my career," Dixon tweeted. "Ya'll don't know me or live with me day-to-day so you're not gonna get it anyways. Thanks [to those] who do support me and my decisions." 

When Sumlin was asked about a handful of players opting out, he acknowledged that some players have said they were opting out before returning to the team. 

“We’ve had guys that have gone on social media and said that, and then you’ve seen them play the next Saturday,” Sumlin said. “There’s been a lot of reactionary stuff. It’s 2020, right? 

It has not been a pretty stretch for the Wildcats where they have lost 10 games in a row, and this won’t be an easy contest against the Buffaloes who are coming to Tucson, Arizona on a roll. It sounds like Colorado won’t know who will be under center for Arizona until Saturday, but that won’t matter if they can’t protect them. 



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Updated January 26, 2021