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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats rally to drop Cardinal

Just when it appeared as if all was lost, the Arizona football team found the big play it needed during a 43-38 come-from-behind win against Stanford Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

With the Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) down by two points late in the fourth quarter, junior running back Nic Grigsby took a handoff on a 3rd-and-17 play, weaved his way through the Stanford defense and scampered 57 yards for the go-ahead score.

“”I was due for a play, I haven’t made a big play in a long time,”” Grigsby said. “”I was dreading going in, my shoulder’s killing me, but I said, ‘Hey Coach, we need to win

this game. We don’t lose at home.'””

And the Wildcats held true to that against the Cardinal. Even though the UA defense gave up 584 yards of offense on the night, it came up with a critical 4th-down stop with less than a minute to play to seal the win. But an ugly win is one Arizona players and coaches will gladly take.

“”I’m excited and really proud of our guys,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”That was a tough game against a very good and very well coached football team in Stanford. They present unique challenges with those running backs,”” he added. “”You have to commit a lot of guys to the run and that kept us off balance all night.””

Early on it looked like Stanford (4-3, 3-2 Pac-10) would literally force its way to a victory as the Cardinal rode powerful senior running back Toby Gerhart and big plays on special teams to a 28-20 halftime lead. But an Arizona score seconds before the intermission seemed to buoy the Wildcats’ spirits and that gave them the momentum. Nine plays and 64 yards into the third quarter, the Wildcats tacked on a field goal and cut the Stanford lead to five, setting the stage for a back-and-forth ending to the game.

What was billed as a low-scoring, physical game ended up being more of a finesse-style offensive extravaganza. The teams combined for 81 points and 1,137 yards of offense, and each team’s quarterback threw for more than 400 yards.

“”I’d rather play bad and win than play good and lose — believe me,”” Stoops said. “”We’ve done that many times where we play well and the ball bounces a certain way and we don’t win. But the ball bounced our way tonight and we made the plays we needed to in order to win the game.””

UA quarterback Nick Foles finished the night 40-of-51 for 415 yards and three scores while Stanford’s Andrew Luck completed 21-of-35 passes for 423 yards and three scores with one interception. But despite the results from the UA passing game, Arizona turned to the run when the game was on the line.

Before the final two UA rushing plays of the night, the team gained 38 yards on 12 tries. The final two run plays combined for 100 yards and the final two scores of the game. Considering the manner in which Arizona beat Stanford coming on the heals of the last-second loss to Washington, the Wildcats showed their resolve by winning on a night when they didn’t play their best.

“”It just shows what the character of our team is,”” Foles said. “”You have a heart-breaker and a lot of teams can just go down the drain after that, but the guys all week stuck with it and in practice did a great job. We went into this game confident because we knew that we had our chances of winning last week, and we knew we were going to come out this week and do it.””

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