Arizona, Colorado look for Pac-12 breakthrough

Arizona is focusing on improving its rushing defense ahead of the Wildcats’ Pac-12 home opener against winless Colorado on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.The Wildcats (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) gave up 354 rushing yards in a 49-31 loss at Cal last week and allowed 283 in a win over FCS North Dakota State a week earlier. Arizona ranks 125th out of 131 teams nationally against the run.”Tackling would always be the starting point,” said Arizona coach Jedd Fisch, vowing an increased emphasis on fundamentals in drills this week. “It’s that first tackle that (they’re) breaking through. I think the other part of it is that we weren’t necessarily in our gaps.”It’s debatable as to whether the Buffaloes (0-4, 0-1) can take advantage. They haven’t scored more than 17 points in a game and have lost all four matchups by at least 25 points. They are averaging just 102.8 rushing yards a game and will be starting a true freshman quarterback, Owen McCown, for the second time.In a 45-17 loss to UCLA, the Buffaloes managed just 51 yards on 34 rushing attempts. McCown completed 26 of 42 for 258 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice, although one of the UCLA recoveries was negated by penalty.”I felt like he had an OK performance, close to a solid performance,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “Did he make some mistakes? Yes, a couple big turnovers that led to some scoring opportunities for UCLA. But his overall body of work was pretty solid.”