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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Combined effort seals victory

Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Alan Walsh
Alan Walsh / Arizona Daily Wildcat

As fans straggled into Arizona Stadium during the opening minutes of Saturday’s Homecoming game, the No. 18 Arizona football team was busy putting Washington State away.

Before most fans even had the chance to set down their belongings, Arizona return man Travis Cobb took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats the early lead.

Three minutes later, Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Pacific 10 Conference) again found the end zone and gave the Wildcats the last score they would need as they went on to overpower the visiting Cougars (1-8, 0-6 Pac-10) by a score of 48-7. The game gave Arizona its bowl-qualifying sixth win and with Oregon’s loss to Stanford, put Arizona within a half-game of the Pac-10 lead.

“”Everyone was having a good game (Saturday),”” said defensive end Ricky Elmore. “”We played a good game offensively, defensively and on special teams. We haven’t done that this year so it felt really good seeing that.””

Despite the dominance exhibited on the scoreboard, no single Arizona player finished the day with stand-out numbers. In a game in which backup players saw significant playing time, the combined effort of the team was apparent.

Starting quarterback Nick Foles finished the day with a low-key 136 yards with 12 completions and a single touchdown pass. With usual starting running back Nic Grigbsy sitting out with a shoulder injury, backup Nick Booth saw the majority of the carries, with 18 for 88 yards, but also shared time with sophomore Keola Antolin and freshman Taimi Tutogi, who added 63 and 50 yards, respectively, in addition to a touchdown run each.

Backup quarterback Matt Scott also saw significant playing time and finished the day as Arizona’s leading rusher with 91 yards off 10 attempts while also adding 41 yards through the air.

“”I was really excited to see some of those other guys getting to play,”” Foles said. “”Those guys put in a lot of work during the week and then sometimes they don’t get to go out there. So they got out there (Saturday) and they had a good game.””

Defensively, Arizona dominated the Cougars’ front line and sacked WSU quarterbacks five times in addition to forcing a pair of fumbles. On the Cougars’ first three possessions of the game, the Wildcats’ defense forced them into three-and-outs. When WSU finally began moving the ball midway through the second quarter, Arizona’s defense stalled the Cougars inside the red zone and linebacker Xavier Kelley forced WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel to fumble.

It was the fourth quarter before the Cougars were inside the Arizona 40-yard line again.

“”(The game) was a lot of fun,”” Kelley said. “”We had guys in the right positions making the right plays, that’s always fun.

“”(WSU) is a good football team. They just have some stuff they’re trying to work out,”” he added.

The Cougars managed to avoid the shutout with a 64-yard touchdown pass with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter.

But for Arizona, the score mattered little. The Wildcats simply moved down the field and ran out the clock to put an end to a day in which they saw success from a variety of players on both sides of the ball.

Even though there were no stars for the Wildcats on Saturday, the team as a whole dominated the Cougars and are now sitting high in the Pac-10.

“”(A Pac-10 title) is what we play for and that’s always what we’re striving for,”” said defensive coordinator Mark Stoops. “”We always believe we can win. We absolutely know each and every week that we go out there we have a chance to win.””

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