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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats handle hapless Huskies

    UA tight end Rob Gronkowski celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of a 48-14 Arizona win Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats improved to 4-1 on the season and are 2-0 in Pacific 10 Conference play.
    UA tight end Rob Gronkowski celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter of a 48-14 Arizona win Saturday night at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats improved to 4-1 on the season and are 2-0 in Pacific 10 Conference play.

    The Arizona football team used favorable field position early on to spark its offense as it cruised to a 48-14 win over Washington Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

    The Wildcats’ first three possessions started in the Huskies’ territory, helping them score 17 first-quarter points. It was a cushion an undermanned Washington team (0-5, 0-3 Pacific 10 Conference) led by backup quarterback Ronnie Fouch couldn’t recover from.

    Mike Thomas continued to have a hot hand for Arizona (4-1, 2-0) on special teams. He fielded a punt at the UW 48-yard line, cut to his left, and galloped down the sideline and jumped over a fallen Husky defender at the goaline for a score. The touchdown put Arizona on top 24-7 halfway through the second quarter and made it apparent that the Wildcats weren’t done scoring for the night.

    UA tight end Rob Gronkowski definitely made his presence felt by the Washington secondary. He caught five balls for 103 yards overall, including three touchdown grabs of 37, 9 and 8 yards, respectively.

    “”I’m not surprised he’s playing this well,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”He is a very competitive player who works hard. He adds to our offense, which allows us to do different things. He is a difficult matchup.””

    The Wildcats’ offense was nearly unstoppable, as it racked up 449 total yards – 256 on the ground and 193 through the air. Senior quarterback Willie Tuitama had an efficient night as he finished 17-of-21 for 193 yards and the three touchdown tosses to Gronkowski.

    Tuitama completed 14 consecutive passes at one point before an incompletion with just more than five minutes left in the third quarter on his last series leading the Wildcats’ offensive onslaught.

    Backup quarterback Matt Scott then got into the action and led the team to a touchdown on his first series. The Arizona score pushed the Huskies’ deficit to 41 points just before the end of the third quarter.

    The Wildcat defense continued its strong play as well. The defensive unit limited the Huskies to 63 yards rushing and 181 passing yards for the contest. Arizona forced two turnovers – a Devin Ross interception and Sterling Lewis fumble recovery – and had the Huskies on their heels for the majority of the game.

    “”We couldn’t get anything going offensively,”” said Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham. “”We started out in a hole with bad field positions and then some untimely turnovers. We just couldn’t recover after such a bad start.””

    Arizona was clicking so well that a huge number of backups got some playing time – reserve kicker Alex Zendejas got into the game in the third quarter – and several Wildcats also achieved career marks on the night.

    The punt return was Thomas’ first return for a touchdown. Kicker Jason Bondzio nailed a career-high 49-yard field goal in the third quarter that would have been good from at least 60 yards. Gronkowski’s three scores were the most in his two-year career and running back Nic Grigsby scored his eighth touchdown of the season – six more than all of last season – to go along with his 113 yards on the ground.

    “”We are playing really well. That’s why we are where we are,”” Stoops said. “”We played a complete game on offense, defense and special teams. We are very efficient and balanced.””

    Check out Monday’s print version of the Wildcat for more coverage of the game.

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