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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Run out of Luck

Stanford running bac k Anthony Wilkerson (32) runs away from Arizona's Derek Earls (40) in the first quarter at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, on Saturday, November 6, 2010. Stanford turned Arizona aside, 42-17. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)
Nhat V. Meyer
Stanford running bac k Anthony Wilkerson (32) runs away from Arizona's Derek Earls (40) in the first quarter at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, California, on Saturday, November 6, 2010. Stanford turned Arizona aside, 42-17. (Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/MCT)

STANFORD, Calif. — On the first play of the fourth quarter, the Arizona Wildcats were faced with a fourth-and-four at Stanford’s 5-yard line. Quarterback Nick Foles’ pass was deflected and hit the ground, well short of intended receiver Juron Criner.

That’s the kind of night the then-No. 15 Wildcats had in their 42-17 loss to No. 13 Stanford.

“”(We) didn’t execute real well overall,”” said co-offensive coordinator Seth Littrell. “”It obviously showed on the scoreboard. Dropping balls, quarterback getting hit, not making great decisions there a couple of times. When you do that against a good football team it’s going to magnify a little bit and show even more.””

The return of quarterback Nick Foles from a right kneecap dislocation was highly anticipated, but turned out to be highly disappointing. Foles finished with 248 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

The offense lacked rhythm in the first half of the game, stalling on nearly every drive, thanks to dropped balls and penalties. Missed opportunities were the theme of the night for Arizona (7-2, 4-2 Pacific 10 Conference), who had three drives stall inside the red zone early in the game.

“”You’ve got to finish drives, and that’s what we really didn’t do well tonight,”” Littrell said. “”I thought we moved the ball well inside the 20s (yard lines) but couldn’t finish the drives.””

Arizona threatened to score at the end of the first half, but an intentional grounding penalty pushed the Wildcats out of field goal range and forced a punt.

The Wildcats didn’t cross the goal line until late in the third quarter, and when they began to mount a comeback, the defense could not hold off the Stanford offense.

Even when the offense showed some life in the second half, the defense had no answers for Stanford.

“”To see the offense get going and then us come out, let them drive down the field and score, it’s extremely frustrating because it needs to be a team effort against teams like this, against teams of this caliber,”” said linebacker Paul Vassallo. “”We didn’t hold up our end tonight.””

On the contrary, Stanford (8-1, 5-1 Pac-10) quarterback Andrew Luck could do no wrong. In a performance that Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh called “”Peyton

Manning-like,”” the redshirt sophomore completed 23-of-32 passes and threw for two touchdowns.

“”He’s just a great player. He’s very, very good,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. “”I don’t think there’s any question about his status, his demeanor, his poise, his accuracy, he’s a very polished player for this young.””

The nation’s 10th ranked defense — which allowed an average 287 yards per game coming into the matchup with the Cardinal — let Stanford gain 510 yards, with most of them coming rather easily.

Running back Stepfan Taylor recorded four touchdowns, all short running plays from within the 5-yard line.

Arizona was the stingiest defense in the Pac-10 before the game, but gave up six touchdowns.

“”It’s disappointing because we know we’re way better than what we displayed on the field,”” said cornerback Robert Golden.

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