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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Rough day for the Arizona Wildcats vs. WSU

Tyler+Baker+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AUA+freshman+receiver+Nate+Phillips+misses+a+pass+in+the+endzone+against+Washington+State+on+Saturday+at+Arizona+Stadium.++
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat UA freshman receiver Nate Phillips misses a pass in the endzone against Washington State on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

After Arizona football’s 24-17 loss, a huge pile of trash bags was set up near the southwest tunnel of Arizona Stadium, perfectly encapsulating the afternoon.

The game just plain stunk.

The Wildcats (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12 Conference) blew their best chance in November to get to seven wins and secure a bowl. After sleepwalking through a loss to Washington State, Arizona will be a big underdog in its last two games.

Sure, the UA became bowl eligible by beating Cal two weeks ago and getting six wins, but if it loses four in a row to close the season, it won’t be so attractive to bowls anymore.

The game got off to a bad start when its kickoff time, noon, was announced. The Pac-12 Networks picked the matchup of California and Colorado, the two worst teams in the league, over the UA/WSU game, a contest of two potential bowl teams.

Then, just a few minutes before kickoff, ZonaZoo was sparse.

Next came the normally awesome display of a former UA football star waving an Arizona flag with fireworks shooting out and the drum line playing behind him. Since it was a day game, the fireworks were severely limited and just looked goofy.

Then the band did the pregame show but without the tubas, who were lined up under the north goal posts.

Everything seemed off on Saturday, and the game hadn’t even started yet.

When the game did start, ZonaZoo filled in a little more, but not much, and the rest of the stadium was pretty empty. The announced “attendance” of 42,080 was laughable.

The Wildcats took a cue from the listless crowd and looked half asleep, letting Wazzu gain 69 rushing yards in the first quarter, 16.9 more than they were averaging per game before Saturday. After the slow start, the Wildcats returned to form, taking the lead and driving down the field at the end of the first half. The drive stalled, though, and a 40-yard field goal was missed.

Still, it seemed as if order was restored. Ka’Deem Carey had 90 yards at the half and was well on his way to his 13th game in row of getting at least 100 yards rushing, and the Wildcats had the ball to start the second half.

Then the UA opened the half with a three-and-out and fumbled the punt, giving the Cougars the ball at the UA 31 yard line. WSU got a touchdown, and the Wildcats only managed three points in the second half. Carey only gained 42 more yards.

The whole second half, save for the final two possessions, was a bore, even though the coaching match-up was Rich Rodriguez against Mike Leach. On the Cougars’ last possession, though, they broke through and scored a touchdown.

Arizona responded by driving down the field quickly, until it ran into trouble and senior quarterback B.J. Denker was almost sacked on fourth down but escaped multiple Cougars to get a first down.

The script in football is that team always wins after making that play, but soon after, Denker’s last second pass was incomplete.

Really, the only thing that went according to plan was the officials messing up, declaring the end of the third quarter was the end of the first half.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520

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