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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA vs. the rest of the Pac

2009

California:  

Without former running back Jahvid Best, the Golden Bears still managed to hold an 18-16 lead with 4:46 left in the fourth. In the closing minutes of the game, quarterback Nick Foles was able to drive the Wildcats down to the Bears’ 25 yard line and were in position to set up a field goal for the lead with less than two minutes remaining. In one of the strangest plays of the season, he threw a pass that was batted down by a Cal defender and dropped back into Foles’ hands. Instead of letting it drop, Foles threw the ball again and was flagged for an illegal forward pass, knocking the Wildcats out of field goal position. Arizona lost at California 24-16.

 

Oregon State:

The beginning of the Pacific 10 Conference season for the Arizona Wildcats was also the first start for Nick Foles. The now-junior went 25 of 34 for 254 yards and three touchdowns. The win showed Arizona is a resilient team. Despite the loss of running backs Nic Grigsby to a shoulder injury and Keola Antolin to  a leg injury, Arizona was still able to pull off the win at home, knocking off the Beavers 35-32.

 

Washington State:

Arizona, ranked for the first time since 2000, scored early and often against the Cougars, beginning with the opening kick off when Travis Cobb took it to the house for a 95-yard score to get Arizona started. The Wildcats scored on each of its first seven possessions and racked up a total 471 yards of offense in the game while soundly defeating Washington State 48-7.

 

Washington:

Arizona’s game at Washington would prove to be the first of many crazy Pac-10 games for the Wildcats. Arizona built a 33-21 lead with 4:33 seconds left in the game, but it would quickly unravel. A (still) highly-disputed bounce off the foot of former wide receiver Delashaun Dean went right into the hands of Washington’s Mason Foster who ran it back for a pick six. The interception put the Huskies ahead 36-33 with 2:37 left in the game.    

 

 

UCLA:

Arizona survived five turnovers in its game against the Bruins, defeating UCLA 27-13. The game against the Bruins was Foles’ first poor performance of the season with three interceptions. Arizona’s offense wasn’t the only one struggling. The Bruins tried three different quarterbacks in the contest, and had to rely heavily on their defense to keep them in the game — all of the Bruins points came from Arizona turnovers.

 

Stanford:

Arizona and Stanford left their defenses on the buses in this back-and-forth shootout that saw both teams combine for over 1,000 yards of offense. The Wildcats played catch-up, rallying from 15 points down. Foles was again impressive, throwing for more than 400 yards and three scores. But it was Grigsby  who sealed the deal for Arizona on a 57-yard rush for a score to give the Wildcats a 43-38 edge with less than three minutes to go in the game. Stanford then drove down the field but a fourth down pass from Andrew Luck was batted down in the end zone by Trevin Wade.

 

USC:

Head coach Mike Stoops had never beaten USC in his six seasons at Arizona and this battle in Los Angeles wasn’t any easier. That changed when Foles hit receiver Juron Criner at the end of the fourth quarter on a long game-winning touchdown pass. Criner dove into the end zone to punctuate one of the biggest wins in program history. The win gave the Wildcats their best regular season in 10 years. Arizona finished second in the Pac-10 and gave it a rematch of the 1998 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl with Nebraska.

 

Oregon:  

The biggest game of the season saw Tucson’s first-ever ESPN College GameDay visit, and the contest did not disappoint. Arizona took a 24-14 lead into the fourth quarter and what happened next still leaves a bitter taste in the Wildcats’ mouths. This matchup, marked with intensity on both sides, saw an unexpected factor when the ZonaZoo rushed the field with 3:11 remaining in the game. Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli hit Ed Dickson in the end zone with just six seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime. Masoli would be the hero for the Ducks when he rushed for a 1-yard score in the second overtime to give the Ducks the 44-41 victory.

 

ASU:

Looking to rebound against its in-state rival, Arizona took a Thanksgiving visit to Tempe to play the Sun Devils. A last minute field goal gave the Wildcats their first consecutive season win over ASU since 1997-1998. ASU’s Kyle Wilson muffed a punt to set up Arizona at the Sun Devils’ 22-yard line, which was recovered by Mike Turner. Zendejas’ game winner put the Wildcats up 20-17 and helped Arizona rebound after two straight heartbreaking conference losses.

 

— Nicole Dimtsios

 

 

2010

vs. California

As Arizona defensive end Ricky Elmore said Tuesday, “”Nothing went right,”” during last year’s loss. But 2010 is different. The Wildcats are 3-0, Nic Grigsby is healthy this time around, the Wildcats will be at home and Cal is fresh off of a 52-31 loss to Nevada. Golden Bears running back Shane Vereen is following 2009 with a monster start – 108 rushing yards per game, six touchdowns – and freshman Keenan Allen is one of the top freshman wideouts in the country. But Arizona’s defense has been stellar stopping the run, and the Wildcats offense should explode against a ho-hum Bears defense.

 

vs. Oregon State

The Beavers are loaded in 2010, and the brother duo of Jacquizz and James Rodgers is even better than 2009. Quarterback Ryan Katz has been decent in his first season as a full-time starter, and the Beavers almost upset then-No. 6 TCU in their season opener. The outcome of this game will depend on the mental state of Oregon State following its matchup against No. 3 Boise State this weekend.

 

at Washington State

There really isn’t much to say about this game. Washington State is bad, really bad. It took a one-point victory over Montana State to snap a 10-game losing streak dating back to last season. The Cougars figure to be 1-5 by the time Arizona comes to Pullman, Wash., on Oct. 16 and this is the one game the Wildcats could win at half speed.   

 

vs. Washington

For the amount of hype surrounding the Huskies heading into 2010, Washington and quarterback Jake Locker have been quite the disappointment thus far. It remains to be seen if the Huskies can pull it together by the time they head to Tucson, but a 23-17 loss to BYU and a 56-21 loss at the hands of Nebraska certainly wasn’t an ideal start. Arizona has a chance to avenge 2009’s heartbreaking loss, and so far its looking like that will be the case.  

 

 

at UCLA

UCLA is once again a Pac-10 bottom-feeder this year, despite a 31-13 victory over the injury-riddled then-No. 23 Houston last weekend. The Bruins always have the talent, but they just haven’t been able to put it together. Sophomore running back Jonathan Franklin had a breakout game against Houston but the Bruins lack a passing attack. Arizona is still superior and figures to march into the Rose Bowl and handle UCLA.

 

at Stanford

Depending on how the season plays out up until this point, Arizona’s trip to Palo Alto, Calif., may have Rose Bowl game implications. Stanford has been extremely impressive through three games against mediocre opponents, but the nation will learn a lot about the Andrew Luck-led Cardinal in the next three weeks. Stanford will take on Notre Dame and Oregon followed by USC. Arizona will be tested on the road. The game marks the beginning of a tough stretch for the Wildcats that could be the difference between them being a good team and a great team.

 

vs. USC

This matchup against the Trojans is part II of Arizona’s treacherous three-game stretch. USC has been underwhelming thus far despite a 3-0 record. The Matt Barkley-led Trojans almost lost to Hawaii in their season opener and looked sluggish in a 32-21 win over Minnesota. The Wildcats will have a lot more to play for than a Trojan team that’s banned from the postseason, and that lack of motivation has showed on the field thus far for USC. Lane Kiffin’s squad has a chance to play spoiler in Tucson, however.

 

at. Oregon

Considering the Ducks’ top-5 status this season, and Arizona’s implosion at home last season, this contest in Eugene, Ore., is the Wildcats’ biggest game of the year. But it will be no easy task to stand toe-to-toe against a Ducks team that’s been nearly flawless thus far in 2010, outscoring opponents 189-13. Quarterback Darron Thomas has Oregon fans forgetting about Jeremiah Masoli, and LaMicheal James has been an absolute beast thus far. He’s averaging a ridiculous 12 yards per carry in two games with three touchdowns. Arizona needs to stop the run and contain the Ducks’ super-offense on the road if it hopes to upset one of the nation’s hottest teams.

 

vs. ASU

ASU was an extra point away from tying the then-No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers last weekend and has exceeded expectations through three weeks. The Sun Devils have an impressive defense, but lack an offensive attack although first-time starter quarterback Steven Threet has been above-average through three games. But Arizona is a far better team than the Sun Devils in 2010, and won’t overlook them in a rivalry game that will close out the Wildcats’ potentially special 2010.

 

— Mike Schmitz

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