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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats dominate The Citadel

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona Wildcats take on The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson Ariz. The Wildcats rolled the Bulldogs 52-6 to earn their second win of the season.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats take on The Citadel Bulldogs Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson Ariz. The Wildcats rolled the Bulldogs 52-6 to earn their second win of the season.

With a showdown against Iowa looming just a week away, it would have been understandable for the No. 24 Arizona Wildcats’ football team to overlook a smaller FCS opponent in The Citadel for their season home opener.

The Wildcats, however, used a combination of stout defense and a sharp offense to subdue the Bulldogs (1-1) 52-6 on Saturday.

“”We’ve never let that happen. We’re not good enough to do that, not to respect opponents,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. “”And that’s really what I talked about this week is respecting preparation in what you do.””

Arizona’s defense certainly did not take The Citadel lightly and showed up big against the triple-option offense, allowing only 171 yards of total offense. The Wildcats had little trouble with the Bulldogs’ attack led by freshman quarterback Matt Thompson, who was 2-for-7 for 12 on passing attempts and rushed for minus nine yards on the night.

“”It was exactly what we thought it was going to be — we practiced the same plays that they ran so it was no biggie,”” said senior defensive end Brooks Reed.

The Arizona defense surrendered its first points of the season, giving up a field goal to the Citadel in the third quarter with 6:55 remaining on the clock. The pair of field goals in the game from Bulldog kicker Sam Keeler are the only points the Wildcat defense has give up all season.

“”We just played really well. We really wanted to come in and be disciplined and for the most part we did that,”” linebacker Jake Fischer said. “”Overall we held them out of the end zone so that’s really all you can ask for.””

The Wildcats have kept opponents out of the end zone for two games this season, something Arizona coaches and players take pride in.  

In contrast, Arizona gained almost 500 yards of total offense, 275 through the air and 214 on the ground.

“”We ran the ball pretty good. We actually wanted to run,”” said senior running back Nic Grigsby, who had 115 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the game. “”Coach said at halftime we’re going to come out and run the ball, we’re going to be ready to go.  And that’s all it is.””

“”Coach told us, he said ‘look we’re going to come out and pound the ball and get guys reps’,”” Grigsby added. “”A lot of guys got reps. We start running the ball and rolling.””

Four Arizona running backs saw action and accounted for five of Arizona’s seven touchdowns.

Quarterback Nick Foles, who played into the third quarter before being relieved by Matt Scott and then Bryson Beirne, hit William “”Bug”” Wright in the back of the end zone with a touchdown in the second quarter.

“”Going into the game, we knew (The) Citadel wasn’t on our level but we just focused on doing what we needed to do as a team getting better, just tempo, getting down timing and things like that,”” Wright said.

Arizona continued to spread the ball down the field against The Citadel and the Foles-to-Criner connection sliced up the Bulldogs secondary. Juron Criner finished with two catches for 60 yards, including a 44-yard pass that Foles wove in between coverage to prime the Wildcats for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Like last week, Arizona shared the load on the receiving end. Nine Arizona receivers caught passes this week, up two from last week against Toledo.

The offense will have a much tougher task next weekend when the Hawkeyes make their anticipated visit to Arizona Stadium. Foles said the success built from Toledo and The Citadel will help the offense as it goes into its final non-conference game against Iowa.

“”We’re going to have to go this week and we’re just going to have to continue to build on it,”” Foles said. “”Every win, every game gets bigger and bigger and bigger.””

 

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