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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    First quarter dooms ‘Cats

    Arizona running back Nick Grigsby squeezes through members of the California defensive line to reach the end zone during the Wildcats loss to the Golden Bears on Saturday in Los Angeles. Grigsby accounted for the only touchdown of the first half and the first of the game.
    Arizona running back Nick Grigsby squeezes through members of the California defensive line to reach the end zone during the Wildcats’ loss to the Golden Bears on Saturday in Los Angeles. Grigsby accounted for the only touchdown of the first half and the first of the game.

    BERKELEY, Calif. – Oh, what a difference a season can make.

    Almost a year after the California football team was upset in Tucson on Homecoming, the Golden Bears came out Saturday afternoon as if revenge was in their thoughts, as they routed the Wildcats 45-27 at California Memorial Stadium.

    The Arizona football team (1-3, 0-1 Pacific 10 Conference) showed late signs of life, but it was the first quarter that haunted the Wildcats.

    The No. 6 Golden Bears (4-0, 1-0) scored 28 points in the frame in front of 56,021.

    “”We came out slow and we didn’t execute our defense when we had to, and that’s what happens,”” said linebacker Spencer Larsen.

    Arizona came within 11 points of California with a little more than 13 minutes left to play, but the Golden Bears scored on their next drive to seal the victory.

    UA quarterback Willie Tuitama set single-game school records in both completions (42) and pass attempts (61). He finished the day with 309 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He also had a key first-quarter fumble on a sack deep in Arizona territory, and the Bears’ Tyson Alualu recovered it for a touchdown.

    “”They were doing a good job of keeping some stuff away from us downfield,”” Tuitama said. “”I think they saw the stuff from last week against New Mexico when we had taken a lot of shots. They did a good job of taking away some of the deep stuff for us.””

    The game appeared to be one of defense at the outset.

    California started the game with a three-and-out, and Arizona followed suit.

    Then the Bears scored 21 points on their next three drives and added on another seven with the fumble recovery.

    The Bears had 157 total yards in the first quarter, as the Wildcats committed five penalties for 48 yards.

    Arizona’s defense contained highly-touted wide receiver DeSean Jackson, holding him to only 39 yards on three catches.

    More importantly, it kept him out of the end zone on both offense and special teams. Jackson’s lone return went for a one-yard loss.

    “”We took him out of the game, and they hurt us in a lot of other ways,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”That’s the balance you have to have with a guy like that.””

    True freshman running back Nick Grigsby started for the first time in his college career, getting the team’s first rushing touchdown of the year. Grigsby had 42 yards rushing and 21 receiving.

    Grigsby created the team’s only real rushing threat, as Chris Jennings only had one rush for no gain.

    Tuitama also had his first career rushing touchdown, a one-yard push in the third quarter.

    On the other side of the ball, Justin Forsett carried the team on his legs with 117 yards and two touchdowns. On his second touchdown he took a direct snap in the shotgun formation and scored from three yards out.

    Missed opportunities again told the story for Arizona on offense. The Wildcats moved the ball downfield with ease, but red-zone inefficiency ultimately doomed them.

    Defensively, the team continues to try to find answers after a successful 2006 campaign.

    “”Defensively, I thought we just made some mistakes at some critical times,”” Stoops said. “”We knew it was going to be a tough deal defensively because they stretch you so well in the run game, (against) the quarterback and on the perimeter.””

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