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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Wildcats defeat NAU Lumberjacks 41-10

The Arizona Wildcats football team couldn’t have asked for a better 2011 debut from quarterback Nick Foles. The senior threw for five touchdowns and 412 yards in the Wildcats’ 41-10 rout of NAU on Saturday at Arizona Stadium.

“I was just reading the defense, I wasn’t really picking and choosing,” Foles said. “Once I get the ball in my guys hands, or just throw it up to Juron (Criner) every now and then it works out. I though that everybody did a really good job.”

The game also marked a milestone for Criner, who broke 2,000 yards receiving on his career after a 44-yard completion at the end of the second quarter.

He finished the game with 151 yards and a touchdown on only six receptions.

“Every time I throw the ball, I expect it to be completed with anybody,” Foles said. “But (with Juron) I throw it up there and I’m just ready to run down the field. Sometimes he makes some miraculous plays like he did tonight.”

The Wildcats came out white-hot at the start. A quick three and out forced by the Arizona defense lead to a three-play, 54-yard touchdown drive, anchored by Criner, that took only 47 seconds off of the clock.

Another solid defensive stand set the Wildcats up in good field position for their second touchdown, coming off of an eight-yard scamper by half back Taimi Tutogi.

After taking the 14-0 lead, a combination of defensive miscues and lack of focus let NAU quarterback Cary Grossart complete 16 consecutive passes. NAU was able to cut down the Arizona lead to 14-10.

“The second quarter was disappointing, our inability to get off the field,” Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said. “They controlled the ball almost the whole second half. They went on a long drive.”

Momentum was clearly on the side of the Lumberjacks as both teams headed into the locker rooms at the half.

“Our coverage just wasn’t what it needed to be,” Stoops said. “I thought that they had a very effective plan.”

The readjusted Wildcat defensive game plan took action in the third quarter. Senior cornerback Trevin Wade intercepting a pass on NAU’s second offensive play of the half — a sign of his refocused attitude.

“It’s a new year, what’s happened is gone forever,” Stoops said. “(Wade) is out to redeem himself.”

His redemption came immediately, and the Lumberjacks continued to avoid Wade for the rest of the night.

“(The coaches) told me that they were (staying away) but I was always ready,” Wade said. “You have to be ready at all times or you’ll get beat, and you have to take what you can.”

Arizona continues its season Thursday with a nationally televised showdown with No. 9 Oklahoma State.

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