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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Dogs bite Wildcats

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Deafening cheers erupted from Husky Stadium late Saturday night. The crowd appeared to be in motion as the majority of the 61,621 fans in attendance bounced up and down hysterically.

The setting was a stark contrast to Arizona’s (3-2, 1-1 Pacific 10 Conference) sideline, which sat motionless — eyes fixed, jaws dropped, breath seized — in their 36-33 loss on Saturday.

Washington linebacker Jason Foster had just completed the Huskies’ (3-3, 2-1 Pac-10) comeback from a 13-point deficit by intercepting Arizona quarterback Nick Foles on an unbelievable play. Foles’ pass came within an inch of hitting grass and being called incomplete, but in its path was the cleat of receiver Delashaun Dean which redirected the ball into Foster’s hands and eventually the Huskies’ end zone.

“”I don’t know how to explain (the interception),”” Foles said. “”I just threw the ball low and it took a crazy bounce that turned out to be a lucky break for (Washington).””

The raucous crowd continued its intense celebration as quarterback Jake Locker connected with receiver Jermaine Kearse for the two-point conversion, bumping Washington’s lead to 36-33.

But with more than two minutes remaining, the stunned Arizona sideline would need to refocus and try constructing a miracle of its own.

With the crowd’s volume reaching new heights and temperatures dipping low enough to make the players’ breath visible, Foles and his offense stepped onto center stage.

“”The second (Washington) made that (go-ahead) touchdown we were just getting ready to make that two-minute drive,”” said receiver David Roberts, who finished the night with a career-high 12 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. “”That’s all you can do, just play until you hear that whistle. We really thought we could make (the comeback) happen.””

The Arizona offense, like it had all night, began steadily moving the ball down the field. Foles completed his first four passes of the drive, picking up a pair of first downs and moving into Washington territory with just more than a minute to go.

But then the offense stalled. Two incompletions and a sack later, the Wildcats were faced with a fourth down and eight from the Huskies’ 43-yard line.

Foles failed to loft a pass to receiver Terrell Turner, and instead found Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant who sealed the win.

As the Huskies gathered in front of their students after time expired and began their thunderous celebration, Arizona slowly trudged across the field and quietly disappeared into the deep locker room tunnel.

During interviews, players spoke with devastation in their voices from having a win snatched out of their grasp.

“”We felt that we had the game won,”” said Arizona cornerback Corey Hall. “”But when we needed to make some stops on defense, we didn’t make it, and then we made some loose penalties there at the end.

“”We felt like we lost that game ourselves,”” he added. “”We could have done a lot better at the end in both our decision making and how we played.””

But while players searched for answers, the Arizona coaching staff noted its main concern: How was the game close enough for such an improbable play to make or break a victory?

Following a back-and-forth battle for momentum throughout the first half, Arizona had grasped the game’s energy firmly in the second half with a score and a three-and-out on its first offensive and defensive possession, respectively.

Washington even gave the Wildcats the ball deep within its own territory on multiple occasions in the second half, but despite five trips to the red zone, Arizona could only break the goal line twice, finishing the night with three touchdowns, four field goals and one opportunity left unfulfilled at the one yard line.

Ultimately, coaches pointed at this as the reason why the Wildcats, who thought they had it won, were quiet Saturday night.

“”We had every opportunity to not be in that situation,”” said offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”Not converting on fourth-and-one and having to kick four field goals is always frustrating, because you should always to do more than that.

“”You just can’t win games if you can’t convert and we found that out.””

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