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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Injured QBs could return

    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner tries to get away from Oregon States pass rush during Arizonas 17-10 loss to the Beavers Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Heavner was unsuccessful, as OSUs Curtis Coker dragged him to the ground for one of three Beaver sacks.
    Senior quarterback Kris Heavner tries to get away from Oregon State’s pass rush during Arizona’s 17-10 loss to the Beavers Saturday at Arizona Stadium. Heavner was unsuccessful, as OSU’s Curtis Coker dragged him to the ground for one of three Beaver sacks.

    During its upcoming bye week, the Arizona football team can latch onto some good news: Injured quarterbacks Willie Tuitama and Adam Austin may both be available to play Nov. 4 against Washington State.

    Tuitama, who dressed for Saturday’s 17-10 home loss to Oregon State and participated in pre-game warm-ups but not did play, has been sidelined since suffering his second concussion of the season during the Wildcats’ 27-7 defeat at UCLA Oct. 7.

    “”He’s cleared, cleared to work out,”” UA head coach Mike Stoops said of the sophomore after Saturday’s game. “”He’s not cleared for contact.””

    Austin tore the medial collateral ligament in his left knee at Stanford on Oct. 14 and has worn a knee brace since with his team workout apparel during practices and games.

    Stoops said Saturday he expects Austin to be back on the practice field around the start of next week.

    “”If I had to tell you who was going to start right now against Washington State, I couldn’t give you an honest answer,”” he said. “”When we figure that out, we’ll certainly let you know.””

    Next three games no walk in the park

    “”We’ve got to continue to work through it and continue to grow as a group and don’t let go … of each other and don’t let go of the opportunity.””

    – Mike Canales,
    co-offensive coordinator

    The Wildcats entered Arizona Stadium this weekend with a chance at its first .500 record this late in October since 2000.

    They left looking toward November with their hopes for reaching a bowl game dimming further by the week, as the toughest three-game stretch of the season approaches.

    It begins at Washington State, which exceeded its four wins from last year with a 34-23 upset of then-No. 16 Oregon on Saturday, and continues against No. 12 California on Nov. 11 and at the No. 25 Ducks on Nov. 18.

    Stoops said one thing the team must do to have any shot at its first postseason berth since 1998 is get its offensive production up from the depths of the national rankings.

    Arizona (3-5, 1-4 Pacific 10 Conference) averages only 12.1 points per game, 113th among 119 NCAA Division I-A teams, and has scored 10 points or fewer in four of its last five contests, all losses.

    The Wildcats rank 115th in total offense, averaging 245.8 yards per game.

    “”It’s something that we have to take a hard, long look at,”” Stoops said. “”In this (conference), you’ve got to score points, and scoring three, 10 and whatever, it’s just not getting it done.””

    The Wildcats haven’t faced the Cougars (5-3, 3-2) since falling to them 20-19 at home Sept. 25, 2004, when a late fourth-quarter fumble by former UA running back Gilbert Harris turned into a game-winning Cougar touchdown pass a few plays later.

    Arizona hosts the Golden Bears in its annual Homecoming game.

    Cal (7-1, 5-0) has won its last three meetings against the Wildcats by a combined score of 108-14.

    To help reverse that trend, the Wildcats may try to channel their performance from last year’s Homecoming game, a 52-14 win over then-undefeated UCLA.

    “”We have to fix some things against them, because they usually play us pretty good,”” junior cornerback Antoine Cason said of Cal. “”We just have to come in and just handle our business.””

    Oregon (5-2, 3-2) sits in a third-place tie in the Pac-10 with Washington State. It defeated Arizona 28-21 last October in a game better known for Tuitama’s Wildcat debut.

    The Ducks hold a seven-game winning streak over Arizona, having not lost in the series since a 38-3 defeat in Tucson in October 1998.

    “”It’s not exactly easy,”” Cason said of the Wildcats’ upcoming slate. “”The Pac-10, all in all, is very tough. Anybody can get beat, so we have to go out there.””

    Cason said he thinks the team needs to improve its consistency in virtually all areas but mostly in finishing games, as Arizona needs to win three of its last four contests to qualify for a bowl game.

    The Wildcats failed to score after getting a first down on the Beavers’ 2-yard line late in the second quarter Saturday, and quarterback Kris Heavner threw two fourth-quarter interceptions as Arizona tried to tie the score.

    “”We’ve got to continue to work through it and continue to grow as a group and don’t let go, don’t let go of each other and don’t let go of the opportunity,”” said UA co-offensive coordinator Mike Canales. “”We’ve got another Saturday to play, and that’s an opportunity to look forward to.””

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