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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


“Life goes on for Zendejas, Wildcats”

Mike Christy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Football vs. ASU.
Mike Christy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Football vs. ASU.

The last thing Arizona kicker Alex Zendejas wanted to do the morning after missing two extra points in the Wildcats game against ASU was give a presentation in front of his classmates in his economics class.

But he did anyway.

“”I had a presentation,”” Zendejas said. “”I could have wished I would have scheduled that presentation another day.””

He said his classmates didn’t receive his presentation well, not that their reactions were anything of a surprise for Zendejas.

“”No. Not really,”” he said. “”It comes with the game, right?””

Less than a week after Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman missed two field goals in the Broncos’ 34-31 loss to Nevada — knocking Boise State out of the hunt for the National Championship — a similar situations hit Arizona.

While Zendejas’ misses didn’t have the same implications, Arizona was no where near playing for the chance to get to National Championship, the kicks played magnified role in a rivalry game, one that could have ended the Wildcats’ three-game losing streak to close out the season.

Zendejas isn’t the same caliber kicker as Brotzman, and has had struggles throughout his career, but the reaction both kickers endured was similar. The Arizona junior was subjected to a wide range of emotions after the 30-29 double-overtime loss on Dec. 2 — some positive, but mostly negative.

The jeers started right after the kick missed the uprights. Fans, spectators and even teammates began calling Zendejas out publically and privately. The kicker even got into a spat with a fan in the north end zone while walking off the field.

Zendejas said he was so overwhelmed that he “”tried to stay away from everything.””

“”I try to . . . Can’t say I’m ignoring it, but I don’t know. I try not to pay attention to that,”” Zendejas said.

Nearly a month later, the loss is still eating at the Wildcats players, none more than Zendejas.

He said that he hadn’t talked to Arizona head coach Mike Stoops about the misses After the loss, Stoops said that he questioned going for a two-point conversion in double overtime, rather than giving Zendejas the chance to tie the game at the end of the second-overtime.

“”I wanted to go for two and I should’ve stuck with my gut and I didn’t, and that’s my fault,”” Stoops said after the loss. “”I just had that feeling to go for two.

“”That’s just part of football. We’ve all been on the good side of it, the bad side of it, life goes on.””

But with disappointment comes the chance for recovery.

Twenty-six days after his highly publicized misses, Brotzman trotted on to the field in the second quarter, amid the “”Wide Right”” signs and jeers from the Utah faithful at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Nev. Brotzman and knocked a 29-yard field goal straight through the uprights.

Twenty-seven days later his highly publicized misses, Zendejas will have the chance to run out on the field, take his preparatory steps, and attempt to kick the ball through the uprights once more.

“”Life goes on,”” Zendejas said. “”At the end of the day it’s just a game and you’re going to learn from everything you do.””

While the Valero Alamo Bowl is the Wildcats’ shot at redemption after the embarrassing 33-0 loss at the 2009 Holiday Bowl, the game against Oklahoma State will be Zendejas’ personal chance to atone for his showings earlier in the year.

“”I’m just looking forward to running back out there on the field,”” Zendejas said. “”That’s what I’m going to practice for that’s what I’m going to work for. Just looking forward to it.””

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