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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Comeback ‘Cats

When all the craziness was over, the Arizona football team came out on top.

Just a week after losing due to some big plays late in the game against Washington, the Wildcats (4-2, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) made some big plays of their own to come from behind and beat Stanford 43-38 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

Junior running back Nic Grigsby burned the Cardinal in a blitz as he weaved his way 57 yards down the left sideline for a score with 2:57 left in the game to put the Wildcats ahead. Then the onus was on the UA defense to come up with a stop to win the game.

After giving up more than 400 passing yards, Arizona hunkered down. Cornerback Trevin Wade swatted down a pass in the end zone and helped the Wildcats scratch out a win.

“”Sometimes there’s no magical answers — you either make the plays or they do,”” said UA defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. “”I’ll take credit for us not playing well and them out-coaching us early in that game.

“”I’ll put that on myself not doing a good enough job of putting us in positions to be successful,”” he added. “”Sometimes it just comes down to not making a play. Our guys finally started making some plays later.””

The Arizona offense was making plays all night long, mostly via Nick Foles and his passing game. In his third career start, Foles completed 40 of 51 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He didn’t turn the ball over and was never sacked.

“”He has great poise and decision-making and coolness,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops of Foles. “”He just presents a presence for us. I think the other team feels that presence and that’s an important factor.””

And if the other team feels his presence, his own teammates are seemingly an extension of it. With senior wide receiver Delashaun Dean out because of a leg injury, other Wildcat receivers needed to step up in his absence.

Sophomore Juron Criner hauled in a career-high 12 passes for 152 yards; senior Terrell Turner had nine grabs for 101 yards and one score; and sophomore David Douglas caught seven passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

On a night when the UA defense didn’t play well, the offense kept the team in the game and won it in the end. To prove just how pleased he was with the end result, Mark Stoops showed the Wildcat offensive players and coaches some love.

“”I hugged every one of them, I kissed them all. I’ve been waiting my whole life to win a game like that,”” Mark Stoops said with a broad smile. “”I’m not proud of the (defensive) effort, but I’m proud of the stops at the end and I’m just happy the offense did a nice job of scoring some points.””

But it was the way the team scored the points that was most impressive. Foles efficiently drove the offense down the field almost at will in the second half. And while the majority of the damage was done through the air, the ground game made the killer blows. Redshirt freshman Greg Nwoko busted a 43-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter, setting the stage for Grigsby’s dramatic game winner.

Arizona probably should have lost, and would have if Stanford converted the 4th-and-short play deep in UA territory with five minutes left in the game. But the Wildcats didn’t pay attention to what was supposed to happen, and they didn’t panic. They took baby steps that set up their big plays to cap the comeback.

“”We stress one play at a time,”” Foles said. “”If you think about the big picture, as a quarterback, you’re probably going to force a big one and try to make a big play, and that’s where interceptions happen, that’s where incomplete passes happen.

“”I just looked at the defense and took what they gave me,”” he added, “”and we did a great job.””

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