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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Too little, too late”

    PROVO, Utah – It wasn’t the high-octane offense that the Arizona football team dreamed about.

    But Mike Stoops promised things will be better next week.

    “”It’s just one game,”” Stoops said, after his team was dismantled 20-7 by Brigham Young before a sellout crowd of 64,585 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

    “”We all have great expectations, but it takes time. This system is foolproof, believe me. It’s a good system. Our kids identify with it. We just have to clean up some things.””

    A year after the Wildcats gained 253 yards of total offense and 16 points against the BYU defense, it mustered up 255 yards, but only seven points as the Cougars avenged a season-opening loss from last season.

    Most of those yards came on passes by Willie Tuitama, who went 26-for-36 with 216 yards. Tuitama connected with fullback Earl Mitchell for a seven-yard touchdown with 53 seconds remaining in the game.

    “”We kind of put ourselves in the hole in the first half and we had our defense on the field way too much,”” Tuitama said. “”We just didn’t do the things we needed to do to move the ball down the field.””

    Stoops anticipated there would be several kinks to work out early on against a live defense, but he admitted he was disappointed about how little his team was able to do offensively.

    “”We just couldn’t get into the kind of rhythm,”” Stoops said. “”We just weren’t quite in sync, and against a quality team like BYU, you can’t make those kinds of mistakes, but it’s a young, inexperienced offense.””

    With new offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes at the helm, the offense was supposed to involve more passing, more yards and more looks for wide receivers.

    Seven different receivers had catches for the Wildcats, but Arizona simply could not execute when it came down to making big plays.

    In the first half Arizona accumulated only 41 yards (19 rush, 22 pass) and one first down.

    “”There are no excuses,”” running back Chris Jennings said, who has 14 rushes for 42 yards. He added that he was surprised how well the Cougar defense played, “”The main thing today was execution, and they out-executed us by far.””

    After his second touchdown of the day, Cougars running back Harvey Unga had tallied 194 yards of total offense. At that point, Arizona had only 177 total yards.

    Last season the Cougars finished 10th in the country in points allowed at 14.7 per game.

    “”They just came out here and kicked our ass pretty much,”” said Antoine Cason. “”That’s what it boils down to.””

    The Wildcats’ longest play of the game came on a 34-yard pass to Delashaun Dean. Tuitama fumbled the snap, recovered, scrambled to the edge of the sideline and threw it to a covered Dean, who did a basketball-like move and grabbed the football away from Cougars cornerback Quinn Gooch.

    Tuitama had a scare at the start of the fourth quarter when he had the wind knocked out of him after he was tackled in the end zone following a 14-yard completion to Mike Thomas.

    Tuitama left the game for two plays and was replaced by backup Kris Heavner, but came back to continue the drive.

    In Heavner’s two plays, he went 2-for-2 with seven yards.

    “”It’s real tough,”” Spencer Larsen said. “”That’s a tough team to beat right there. They’re very sound, very assignment-oriented.

    “”The times they moved the ball, it wasn’t because of them, it was just mental errors or things that we did, things that we didn’t do. There’s a lot of room for improvement.””

    BYU quarterback Max Hall had a solid collegiate debut, going 26-for-39 with 288 yards and two touchdowns.

    His biggest play came on a pass to Unga. Arizona linebacker Ronnie Palmer thought he had tackled Unga, but officials didn’t rule Unga down by contact after his knee never actually hit the ground.

    Unga turned it into a 48-yard play, but the Cougars failed to score.

    New punt returner Cason also had a small scare when he fumbled a punt and it was recovered by BYU within the 5-yard line. Officials ruled an illegal formation on the Cougars and the play was reset.

    “”I was just pleased to see us run some plays and get things going at the end of the game to build off of,”” Stoops said. “”Coming into this environment against a very, very good football team, I’m disappointed that we didn’t execute a little bit better. I thought we were a little bit farther along.””

    Late hits

    For the second consecutive year, BYU lost a fumble in the opening drive against Arizona. … In BYU’s last two games, they have held two different Pac-10 opponents scoreless in six of the last eight quarters and held them under 10 points in both games.

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