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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    No postseason – again – for football

    Eben Britton
    Eben Britton

    It’s once again “”wait till next year”” for the Arizona football team.

    Arizona’s streak of seasons without a postseason berth officially extended to eight yesterday when Middle Tennessee State (7-5) accepted the second bid for the Dec. 27 Motor City Bowl.

    “”We had our chance, and I think we let it slip away with ASU,”” said cornerback Antoine Cason, citing the Wildcats’ 28-14 season-ending loss to the Sun Devils. “”It was hard for us to swallow. After that, we couldn’t control (going to a bowl game), and like I always say, you can’t stress over something you can’t control.””

    The Red Raiders’ selection rendered irrelevant the Wildcats’ means of qualifying for the Detroit bowl game entering the weekend.

    If 3-8 Louisiana-Monroe and 0-11 Florida-International had won Saturday, and Middle Tennessee State was chosen for another bowl, Arizona could have headed to the Motor City by having its resume chosen over those of a slew of 6-6 teams nationwide.

    Instead, Troy defeated Florida International to move to 7-5, and the Red Raiders, idle Saturday, were picked to meet Central Michigan.

    The Wildcats finished at 6-6, matching their combined win total from head coach Mike Stoops’ first two seasons.

    They earned their most victories since a 6-6 season in 1999, which also ended without a bowl-game berth because of a season-ending loss to ASU.

    Arizona won three straight games in November, including two victories over national top-25 teams at the time, before the loss against the Sun Devils effectively knocked the Wildcats from the postseason.

    “”We finished strong, we have to be happy about that,”” Cason said. “”But we lost our last game. That was hard for us, but the bowl game thing was out of our hands.

    “”Now, we have to get ready for next year.””

    Freshman lineman Britton earns more season accolades

    Redshirt freshman right tackle Eben Britton was named to the Freshman All-America second team and The Sporting News’ Freshman All-Pacific 10 Conference team on Friday.

    The honors built on the praise given already this year to Britton (6-foot-6, 280 pounds), who started 12 games this season on a young, oft-beleaguered line.

    The Burbank, Calif., native was named an honorable mention pick on the All-Pac-10 team roster released Nov. 27, and UA coaches called him the team’s most consistent lineman.

    He was one of three redshirt freshmen to get significant time on the Wildcats’ line, joining center Blake Kerley and left guard Daniel Borg.

    “”It’s great of him to come in and start every game for us and be a physical presence on the line,”” said kicker Nick Folk. “”He played really well all year. You could see the transformation in him from the beginning of the year.””

    Said Cason: “”He worked hard, and he plays hard, and that’s all you can ask for from a player. I’m happy for him. … That’s something for him to keep building on and building on.””

    Arizona Stadium attendance excellent on average this season

    The 57,895 people who witnessed ASU’s win over Arizona pushed the venue’s per-game attendance in 2006 to 55,798, the second-best mark in program history.

    An average crowd of 56,562 attended in 1994, when the Wildcats went 8-4.

    “”It’s great for all our fans to keep coming out and supporting us,”” Folk said. “”Back-to-back 3-8 seasons, and (fans are) still coming out and supporting us this year.””

    Arizona’s Sept. 23 home game against then-No. 3 USC brought in 58,801, the fourth-highest attendance in school history, and the crowd of 58,450 that attended the Sept. 2 season opener against Brigham Young ranked 10th all-time.

    The Wildcats had a total season attendance of 390,589 in seven games, which beat the previous record of 387,737 set in 1988 with eight games.

    “”Most of the games (this season) we were in it, and (fans) stayed most of the time,”” Folk said. “”Last year, we’d go down, and they’d go off and do their own things. The BYU game was big for us and the Cal game (a 24-20 win on Nov. 11), they were into it.

    “”They did a lot of good things for us while they were here.””

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