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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona football hosts red and blue spring game

Kohichiro Yamada
Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita (11) passes the ball in the team’s Red-Blue Spring Game in Arizona Stadium on April 27.

The Arizona football team hosted the 2024 Red-Blue spring game on Saturday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at Arizona Stadium where the offense was able to dominate and take the overall 21-0 victory.

Wildcat fans had their first official look at the football team led by new head coach Brent Brennan, who joined Arizona in January of this year after leading San Jose State University for seven seasons. Arizona football welcomed new faces as well as returning leaders like Noah Fifita, Rayshon Luke, Treydan Stukes, Dalton Johnson and others that helped propel the Wildcats towards their 10-win season.

The Red-Blue game was structured where the first quarter was a seven against seven matchup leading into the second quarter Offense (blue) against Defense (red). After halftime, the third and fourth quarters continue on with a matchup between Offense and Defense.

Game recap

The opening minutes of the seven against seven matchup began as the offensive team was able to move down the field swiftly. Running back Luke glided down the field, putting the offense in favorable field position. However, not long after, the first interception of the game occurred, made by defensive back Emmanuel Karnley when he caught it on Fifita’s pass. After the seven on seven finished, the first quarter resulted in neither team scoring.

Offense vs. Defense

Moving into the offensive and defensive matchup with only a few catches made by the offense, the defense showed its dominance by making multiple tackles for loss through the first 3 minutes out of halftime. The defense had relentless pressure-forcing sacks and immediate tackling on offensive players, including consistent pressure on quarterback Brayden Dorman whenever he was in the pocket. During the third quarter, the offense showed signs of moving the ball down the field although the defense did not allow consecutive passes to be completed and no points were scored. 

Fifita was asked about how the spring has helped the team suit up for next season. “It’s big time because this is the first time, and kind of the only time, before fall camp we get to be on the field with the coaches, so getting their coaching, seeing their kind of points of view on what they’re looking for in each play, it’s real big in that phase and [so is] kind of the chemistry between the guys,” Fifita said.

The fourth quarter began with an incomplete pass made by Fifita. Moments later the offense redeemed itself with another chain moving completion and then that was followed up by a smooth handoff and run by Luke. Shortly after that run, wide receiver Rex Haynes completed the first touchdown of the night. The score was followed by old reliable kicker Tyler Loop’s extra point attempt, which was good, and the offensive team had their first lead of the game at 7-0.

With under 5 minutes left of regulation, the defense tried to fight back as defensive linemen Nick Fernandez and CJ Flores made a tackle on a defenseless player that resulted in Flores being ejected from the game due to illegal contact. Continuing the game with under 2 minutes left to play, tight end Dorian Thomas made a catch to move the offense into the third down and positioned them into scoring range.

Moments after, wide receiver Brandon Phelps made what seemed to be the last touchdown of the Red-Blue spring game as the offense was able to dominate the defense throughout the fourth quarter leading 14-0. 

After the end of the fourth quarter, 5 more minutes were added to the game so the offense and defense continued play. Minutes into this final quarter, quarterback Cole Tannenbaum made a pass to wide receiver Devin Hyatt as he attempted a touchdown, but was quickly broken up by defensive back Nezayah Stubblefield in the end zone. After the pass break up, Hyatt found another opportunity to make a touchdown and redeemed himself, helping the offense take a 21-0 lead, and ultimately secured their victory against the defense.

During the post-game press conference, head coach Brennan was asked about the past few weeks and what he has been able to get done. “It’s been great. It’s been awesome. Really excited about the process and the development of some of the players. I think the spring game is always such an interesting thing. I thought the guys settled in and it was fun towards the end there where we started to trade a little bit of punches but, the spring game is always a complicated thing for coaches,” Brennan said.

Tight end Roberto Miranda was asked about team culture and the reason that led to his return to the Wildcats. “Yeah, I never thought about leaving. I love Tucson, I love Arizona and I still have a lot of teammates that I’m very close [to] that decided to stay as well, so for me it was never a choice to actually leave. And, just [tight end coach Matt Adkins] as a person, he’s a great coach football-wise but also just as a human being, so being around him I felt super comfortable from day one right off the bat. So I’m still happy with my decision to stay,” Miranda said.

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