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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cardiac ‘Cats collapse

    Cardiac Cats collapse

    SEATTLE – With 2:49 left in Saturday’s game between Arizona and Washington, Wildcats’ head coach Mike Stoops nervously eyed the clock on the scoreboard.

    The Huskies (3-3, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) had just cut Arizona’s lead to five with a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Locker to receiver Kavario Middleton.

    Now all the Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 Pac-10) needed to do was move the ball enough to run out the clock.

    But then the game took a very unexpected turn, a turn that led to a 36-33 Washington victory over Arizona in Seattle.

    Less than a minute after Locker’s touchdown pass, Arizona quarterback Nick Foles dropped back on a run-pass option play and fired a pass to his right in the direction of receiver Delashaun Dean. Low and off the mark, Dean tried to make the catch reaching back. Instead the ball ricocheted off the receiver’s foot and right into the arms of Washington linebacker Mason Foster who returned the interception for the go-ahead score.

    “”It was (the coaching staff’s) fault for leaving the option on,”” head coach Mike Stoops said. “”Nick was doing what he was supposed to do and it just falls on us as coaches for make a tactical error late in the game.””

    After Washington converted on a two-point conversion, Foles and the Arizona offense had over two minutes to engineer a miraculous comeback. The Wildcats moved the ball into Husky territory but were then faced with a fourth and eight. Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant picked off the pass, putting an end to a game loaded with unexpected turns.

    “”I’m disappointed we didn’t win but I’m not disappointed in the way our kids played tonight,”” Stoops said. “”We probably played good enough to win. It just came down to finishing and then that freak play. But that’s just part of college football and the swings of the game.””

    <a href="" _fcksavedurl="" target="_new" title="Highlights: Arizona – Wash.">Video: Highlights: Arizona – Wash.</a>

    Long before kickoff of Saturday night’s showdown between Washington and Arizona, experts predicted a tight contest and to the very end, they were right.

    Arizona grasped the early momentum after safety Robert Golden picked off Washington quarterback Jake Locker on the game’s first possession. The Wildcats then quieted the raucous crowd with an eight-play, 67-yard touchdown drive capped off by a powerful 12-yard run by tailback Greg Nwoko.

    Washington, however, answered back on the ensuing drive as Locker broke free on a third down and seven from his own 44 yard line and scrambled 56 yards for the equalizing score.

    The exchange of scoring drives set the tempo for a game filled with momentum shifts.

    With no clear favorite entering the second half, quarterback Nick Foles and the Wildcats’ offense took advantage of good field position and drove 47 yards down the field in three minutes and four seconds for the score, once again taking the air out of the Husky Stadium crowd.

    This time, however, Washington could not immediately answer, instead struggling to find its rhythm and being forced to punt on their following two possessions. Adding to the Huskies’ frustrations, punter Will Mahan fumbled the snap on the first punt and then shanked the second.

    However, despite the opportunities, Arizona only managed to reach the end zone once more in the second half while being forced to settle for field goals on three separate occasions.

    “”We had every opportunity to not (have the game be as close as it was),”” said offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”For us it comes down to not being able to convert when we needed it and having to kick four field goals on the night. If you can’t do those things you’re not going to win football games.””

    The failure of the Arizona offense to execute in the red zone put the game away and allowed Locker and the potent Washington offense to stage a comeback. With a 29-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter followed by the 25-yarder late in the fourth, the Huskies reinvigorated their crowd, stealing back the momentum for the final time and leaving Arizona to dwell on its missed opportunities.

    “”We’re all pretty shocked and just really disappointed,”” Foles said. “”We had a lot of opportunities throughout the game to capitalize with touchdowns but instead came away with field goals and that is not the way to win games. We just need to learn from this and work hard next week and get ready to be back at home in front of our fans for another big conference game.””



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