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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wildcat offense improves in victory over NAU

    The Arizona football team came into Saturday’s game against Northern Arizona with one major goal in mind: run an effective offense.

    Four hundred and ninety-two yards of total offense later, its safe to say the Wildcats made a significant stride.

    “”It was like they actually did the offense they practiced all spring and all summer, and it was about time,”” said cornerback Antoine Cason after the Wildcats defeated NAU 45-24 in front of 52,638 fans at Arizona Stadium Saturday night. “”This is the first game with that offense, so we can just go from there.””

    “”This is what we better expect from now. … It better happen like this now,”” Cason added.

    The offensive scheme was less conservative than at last weekend’s loss to Brigham Young. The play selection was more diverse, filled with screens, reverses, and passes down field.

    Quarterback Willie Tuitama finished the game 23-for-44 with 283 yards and a career-high five touchdown passes – one shy of the school record – all to different receivers.

    The Wildcats came out looking to make a statement offensively, as Tuitama orchestrated a 10-play, 69-yard scoring drive on Arizona’s first possession, capped off by a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mike Thomas.

    “”I thought it was a solid game by the offense, defense, and special teams tonight,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”(NAU is) very well coached, but we were methodical all night in how we moved the ball, and were able to put some points on the board.””

    But it was Cason- a defensive player- who provided the spark for Arizona.

    With the Wildcats up 7-0 early in the second quarter, Cason returned his second career punt 70 yards for Arizona, making various impressive cuts to spring himself from the Lumberjack defenders.

    “”That was the biggest play of the day,”” Stoops said. “”He showed explosiveness and some nice moves. I hope now people won’t question his quickness.””

    Though the Wildcats took a 14-3 advantage into halftime, the majority of the scoring hadn’t even occurred.

    It took Arizona 53 seconds into the second half for Arizona to strike again, as Tuitama connected with Terrell Turner 34-yard touchdown.

    The Wildcats would put up 24 points in the third quarter, putting the game essentially out of reach for NAU.

    “”The second half we came out relaxed and just went out there and played and had fun,”” Tuitama said.

    Added Thomas: “”We were out there working hard in practice this week. This game was about putting that all together. It’s good to come out and put a show on for the home fans. We needed to win for the tougher games later in the season.””

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