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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona upsets Hawkeyes in statement game

    Arizona’s ESPN-featured, Saturday-night matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes was a chance for more than just an upset victory and surge up the rankings. 

    The contest in front of a sold out crowd at Arizona Stadium was an opportunity for the Wildcats to prove that Arizona football has arrived as a program, and they did exactly that with a 34-27 upset victory over the No. 9 Hawkeyes. 

    “”It just shows that Arizona can play football,”” said junior quarterback Nick Foles. “”I think there’s been a lot said about Arizona, especially after the bowl game. (This win) just shows what type of team we have.””

    After a dominant first half in which Arizona led 27-7, the Wildcats found themselves knotted up at 27 with 8:12 left in the game. The Hawkeyes were an extra point away from taking the lead and deflating an Arizona team that nearly gave away the game thanks to 12 penalties — the most for the Wildats since 2005. 

    But Arizona blocked the extra point, avoiding a deficit for the first time all night. Arizona and Foles responded to the adversity, driving 72 yards and hitting William “”Bug”” Wright — who fumbled the punt that set up Iowa’s game-tying touchdown — for a four-yard score on third and goal with just under four minutes on the clock. 

    “”The plays that were made in that game were pretty special, and that was a special play”” head coach Mike Stoops said. “”You’ve got to make them against Iowa if you want to beat them. We made the play that we needed to make.””

    Iowa had a chance to answer, down seven with just under four minutes to play. But the Wildcats blew up Iowa’s offensive line to the tune of four straight sacks — two from redshirt freshman Justin Washington and one each from senior defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore — to put the game out of reach. 

    “”i thought our defensive linemen played outstanding,”” said co-defensive coordinator Tim Kish. 

    Arizona was in control for the majority of the contest, riding a blocked punt, an 85-yard pick-six by cornerback Trevin Wade and a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from receiver Travis Cobb into halftime. 

    The Hawkeyes’ offense and quarterback Ricky Stanzi finally gained some traction in the second half, but it was too little too late, and Arizona’s defense took charge when it mattered most. 

    Iowa, known as a smasmouth, run-first squad, was limited to only 29 yards rushing by the Wildcats’ swarming defense. The Arizona defense set the tone, and Foles did the rest of the work, going 28-for-39 for 303 yards, two scores and an interception.

    “”Nick just came out and does what special players do and made all the throws down the stretch,”” Stoops said.

    After a handful of costly penalties and a pair of turnovers, Stoops’ squad nearly handed the game away in what would have been a devastating loss. But they responded accordingly and knocked off one of the nation’s best teams in a statement win. 

    “”I don’t know if anybody realizes how good that team is,”” Stoops said. “”We certainly do. Our kids did and they respected them in a lot of ways. They’ll be back and who knows, maybe we’ll have a chance to play them again.””

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