The No. 18 Buckeyes, who pay their first visit to Arizona Stadium Saturday night, roughed up Fresno State 43-10 in their opener by scoring four touchdowns on defense. Cornerback David Mitchell had two _ one off a fumble return and the a 51-yard return with an interception.
Throw in a rollicking offense led by Steve Bellisari, a quarterback who likes to butt heads, and Arizona's philosophy of hitting everyone hard is in for a test.
"Bellisari is a scary guy because he is a capable thrower and an incredible athlete," Arizona coach Dick Tomey said. "He can beat you with his arm and his legs, and his toughness. He looks like a real gritty competitor."
"If we go in and keep a strong tempo, and we get after it, with their type of team defense we can hopefully break them down," said Bellisari, who promised coach John Cooper to tone down his play to avoid injury.
Bellisari, a junior, started the last 10 games last season. He came out of the game against Fresno in the fourth quarter with a bruised hip after running for 52 yards and passing for 95.
Arizona is also 1-0 after beating Utah 17-3 last week.
The Wildcats, whose "Desert Swarm" defense earned a national reputation in the 1990s, were labeled soft a year ago after opening with a 41-7 loss to Penn State. The players look on the meeting with the Buckeyes as a chance for redemption.
"With them being the Big Ten, you have to shut down the run," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "That's what they're known for. They want to run the ball down your throat."
Arizona had one defensive touchdown _ on a 10-yard fumble return by Adrian Koch _ in the victory in Salt Lake City.
Ohio State will try to balance Bellisari's passing with the off-tackle running of Derek Combs and Jamar Martin.
"They have a big offensive line, and a big quarterback," Arizona defensive end Joe Tafoya said. "They have a big fullback. They are not the most experienced line we will face, but they have the size. This is not going to be a finesse game."
On the other hand, Ohio State is looking to stay on course heading into the Big Ten schedule.
"It will be a better barometer for us, but every team that we play is going to be a test for us up until the bowl game," center LeCharles Bentley said.
The Wildcats have their own scrambler in Ortege Jenkins.
Jenkins, looking for a breakthrough season after sharing playing time with Keith Smith for three years, was 3-of-15 for 11 yards against the Utes.
Cooper believes Jenkins will be more of a threat this week.
"They did what they had to do to win the game," said Cooper, who coached
at Arizona State before his move to Columbus in 1988. "Jenkins is a much
better passer than that."