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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Cats knocked around by Stanford

    Junior safety Cam Nelson (20) and senior free safety Nate Ness react to a 24-23 last-minute loss against Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Saturday. The loss, which is Arizonas second consecutive one-point loss to Stanford, drops the Wildcats to 4-2 and 2-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference.
    Junior safety Cam Nelson (20) and senior free safety Nate Ness react to a 24-23 last-minute loss against Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., on Saturday. The loss, which is Arizona’s second consecutive one-point loss to Stanford, drops the Wildcats to 4-2 and 2-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference.

    PALO ALTO, Calif. – For the second consecutive year, the Arizona football team (4-2, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) lost to Stanford (4-3, 3-1) by one point, this time in a 24-23 defeat.

    Despite a statistically good showing from the Arizona offense, the unit struggled to find the end zone that proved to be the difference in the game.

    Three times the Wildcats were forced to settle for a field goal inside the Cardinal’s 10-yard line. Twice Arizona wide outs couldn’t haul in touchdowns in the back of the end zone – sophomore Delashaun Dean bobbled the ball on one play and senior Mike Thomas was ruled out of bounds on the other.

    “”I’m very disappointed that we couldn’t finish better than that,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”We just didn’t play good enough to win when you really look at everything that went on today, whether it was offense, defense, special teams, really we got beat pretty good in all three phases.””

    Arizona took a six-point lead with just less than six minutes left in the game on a 23-yard field goal, but that wasn’t enough. Third-string quarterback Alex Loukas – who entered the game because starter Tavita Pritchard suffered an apparent concussion in the first half and back-up Jason Forcier was ineffective – led Stanford on an 11-play, 60-yard game-winning drive with 25 seconds left in the game.

    Junior running back Toby Gerhart paved the way for the Cardinal offense all day as he gained 117 yards on 24 bruising carries to go along with his lone touchdown in the waning moments of the game.

    Gerhart did leave the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, but back-up tailback Anthony Kimble had 110 yards on 10 carries for the game. Overall, Stanford gained 286 yards on the ground against Arizona compared to the Wildcats’ 77 yards rushing.

    “”They fought for everything,”” said UA sophomore defensive end Ricky Elmore. “”We knew coming in this guy (Gerhart) was a truck. He’s gonna fall forward, he’s gonna earn every yard. … We expected that and we just weren’t ready.””

    The Wildcat offense, normally led by quarterback Willie Tuitama or wide receiver Mike Thomas, looked to junior wide out Terrell Turner when a big play was needed. He had career-highs in catches and yards with his 10 catch, 175-yard effort. But the zero touchdowns was the most telling statistic. Only one member of the Wildcats’ offense got into the end zone when freshman running back Nic Grigsby scored from 25-yards out midway through the second quarter.

    Arizona’s defense did what it could to keep the team in the game by forcing two fumbles and intercepting two passes – one of which was returned 75 yards for a touchdown by senior safety Nate Ness – but a slew of mental errors proved too costly for Arizona to overcome.

    “”We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make,”” said senior linebacker Ronnie Palmer. “”We had guys there to make the plays, we just sometimes over ran it, over pursued, and it hurt us.””

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