Arizona, led by QB Jayden de Laura, faces Northern Arizona to kick off coach Jedd Fisch's 3rd season

FILE - Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch speaks at the NCAA college football Pac-12 media day Friday, July 21, 2023, in Las Vegas. Arizona opens their season at home against Northern Arizona on Sept. 2.(AP Photo/Lucas Peltier)

Northern Arizona (0-0) at Arizona (0-0), Saturday, 10 p.m. ET (Pac-12 Network)

Line: No line.

Series Record: Arizona leads 15-2.


Arizona coach Jedd Fisch has raised expectations, winning five games last year after going 1-11 in his first season. The Wildcats are loaded offensively, led by quarterback Jayden de Laura and receiver Jacob Cowing, and are expecting to be better on the defensive side of the ball. They might also have a bit of redemption on their minds. The last time the Lumberjacks were in Tucson, they pulled off one of the biggest wins in program history, beating Arizona 21-19 in 2021. The Wildcats only have a handful of players still on its roster from that day, but avoiding another slipup against the FCS school will be on their minds.


NAU's defense against Arizona's offense. The Wildcats had one of the nation's best passing offenses in de Laura's first season after transferring from Washington State and return nearly all their playmakers. That will put the undersized Lumberjacks at a bit of a disadvantage. NAU does return seven defensive starters and coach Chris Ball added some help through the transfer portal, but the Lumberjacks are coming off a season in which they allowed nearly 30 points per game.


Northern Arizona: RB Draycen Hall. NAU has some questions at quarterback after RJ Martinez transferred and might rely heavily on Hall. He started just four games last season, but ran for 546 yards and two touchdowns. Hall could be a key to keeping Arizona's explosive offense off the field.

Arizona State: Jayden de Laura. What a first season in the desert for the dual-threat quarterback. De Laura had the third-most passing yards in Arizona history with 3,685 and had 25 touchdowns. The big key: cutting down on turnovers. He threw 13 interceptions last season.


NAU's win at Arizona two years ago was its first against a Pac-12 opponent, but the Lumberjacks are 1-18 against the conference since 2000. ... Arizona is 15-1 against FCS opponents the past 20 seasons, the only loss coming against NAU. ... NAU DL Eloi Kwete was second in the Big Sky with seven sacks last season. ... Arizona tailbacks had no fumbles in 263 carries last season.


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