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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Folk’s 48-yarder lifts Arizona

    Game on the line, clock ticking down. Nick Folk had been there nearly two years before against Wisconsin in the driving rain.

    Only this time, there was one major difference. He was the hero.

    Folk nailed a 48-yard field goal, his third of the game, to lift Arizona 16-13 over Brigham Young in front of a packed house – and student section – Saturday night.

    “”It was no big deal, I just went out there and kicked,”” said a nonchalant Folk. “”It stayed right and I kind of leaned with it, and it kinda snuck in there, so I was playing with a little bit of fire, but it went in.””

    Added UA head coach Mike Stoops: “”Nick Folk, I believe he’s the best kicker in America… The distance wasn’t going to be a factor.””

    The game-winner – keyed by holder Kyle McQuown, who got a wild snap to his chest down in time for Folk to drive the kick – came just 5:22 after BYU’s Jared McLaughlin knotted the game at 13 with a 31-yard field goal of his own.

    “”As soon as we got the ball back, I started kicking in the net a few times to get my mind right and everything,”” Folk said.

    As Arizona got the ball back with 4:42 to play, sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama went to work, completing all four of his five passes for 32 yards during a 13-play, 44-yard drive spanning 5:13 to get the Wildcats down to the BYU 31 and set up Folk’s kick.

    Tuitama finished the game with 186 yards on 13-of-39 passing, including a touchdown to receiver Anthony Johnson with 6:52 to play in the third quarter that gave Arizona the lead at 13-10.

    Running back Chris Henry had a highlight-reel run midway through the third quarter to key the score.

    Taking a handoff to the right side, Henry spun off a tackler to his left, cut toward the middle where he found some room – and a few blockers – dashing a career-high 54 yards down the right sideline before he was finally tripped up by the last man between him and the endzone, BYU defensive back Ben Criddle.

    “”There was nothing on the front side, and everything broke down,”” Henry said. “”As I was doing it, I was like, ‘Oh, I hope this works,’ and it ended up working out.””

    Tuitama and Johnson hooked up seven plays later on a 2-yard slant route.

    But that touchdown – Arizona’s only of the game – was it for offensive output in the second half until the teams exchanged field goals late in the fourth quarter.

    Though BYU quarterback John Beck finished 28-for-37 for 289 yards and a score, the Wildcat defense kept the high-powered Cougar offense at bay for much of the game, starting in the first half when BYU gained only 149 total yards and the lone touchdown.

    And the Wildcat defense, which forced two turnovers – both fumbles – in the game, got started early.

    On BYU’s first play from scrimmage, Beck hit tight-end Jonny Harline on a 13-yard strike, but UA linebacker Spencer Larsen was there to meet him, causing the ball to pop loose. Safety Michael Johnson fell on it, giving Arizona the ball on the Cougar 33.

    Four plays later, Folk hit his first field goal of the season, a 33-yarder, to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game.

    BYU would answer later in the quarter, with Beck floating a 5-yard pass to tight end Daniel Coats in the corner of the end zone for a 7-3 lead.

    Folk’s second kick of the game came from 22 yards a drive later, after the Arizona offense marched 70 yards down the field on 10 plays.

    Neither running game could get going in the first half, with BYU’s Curtis Brown leading all rushers with eight yards on five carries. The Cougars were held to minus 17 rushing yards as a team.

    “”They showed a lot of things we hadn’t seen from them,”” Tuitama said of the BYU defense. “”It was tough for us to run in the first half. This is something to learn off of and it’s better to learn off a win than a loss.””

    It’s something Folk knows all too well after missing the 47-yard attempt against Wisconsin.

    “”It’s been almost two years since that game,”” Folk said, “”and I’ve learned a lot from that.””

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