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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Another howler

    UA redshirt freshman wideout David Roberts, left, and senior quarterback Willie Tuitama wait out a defensive stand late in the fourth quarter before falling short on the last offensive drive of the game, loosing to the Lobos 36-28 in Albuquerque, NM. Arizona has lost its last three games against teams from the Mountain West Conference.
    UA redshirt freshman wideout David Roberts, left, and senior quarterback Willie Tuitama wait out a defensive stand late in the fourth quarter before falling short on the last offensive drive of the game, loosing to the Lobos 36-28 in Albuquerque, NM. Arizona has lost its last three games against teams from the Mountain West Conference.

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – On a day which saw several Pacific 10 Conference teams struggle, the Arizona football team followed suit in a 36-28 loss to New Mexico.

    Already a touchdown ahead early in the first quarter, the Arizona football team appeared en route to another easy victory.

    Cornerback Marquis Hundley just picked off New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie at the Wildcat’s own 31 yard line ending a potential scoring drive for the Lobos.

    But then a mistake by Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama drained the Wildcats’ momentum and allowed the Lobos to sneak back into the game.

    The senior threw a screen pass too short and New Mexico nose tackle Brett Kennedy picked off the attempt and returned the ball to the Arizona 11.

    Three plays later, the Lobos took advantage of the miscue with a 24-yard field goal.

    “”(Tuitama) played as bad as I’ve seen him play,”” said offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. “”I thought he was extremely prepared coming into (Saturday), but he just didn’t play very well. I don’t really have an explanation for it.””

    New Mexico fed off of the newfound momentum on the its following drive as the Lobos used some trickeration to take the lead away from the Wildcats.

    Porterie tossed the ball out right to New Mexico tailback Rodney Ferguson who then threw back across the field to Porterie. The Lobo quarterback then followed a wall of blockers into the end zone for a 25-yard score which put Arizona behind for the first time of the season. The Wildcats would not regain the lead.

    Arizona struggled to respond as running back Nic Grigsby could not find much daylight in the Lobo defensive line. The sophomore finished the first half with a meager 34 yards on nine carries and ended the game with 74 yards on 18 carries.

    The sluggish performance only accentuated the disappointing night for Arizona offensively.

    “”We didn’t come out and play the way we needed to by any means,”” Tuitama said. “”We have to be ready to play every week and we simply weren’t tonight.””

    Turnovers also plagued Arizona throughout the night as the Lobos scored 20 points off the Wildcats’ five miscues.

    On the first offensive play of the second half, Grigsby coughed up the ball near the Wildcats’ 30 yard line. Lobo cornerback Glover Quin returned the ball to the 10, leading to a scoring run by Ferguson on the following play.

    Turnovers haunted Arizona once again three possessions later when Tuitama lost his second fumble of the game leading to a 42-yard field goal for New Mexico. The conversion gave the Lobos a comfortable 12-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

    Eight minutes later, with Arizona down 12, another Tuitama pass found silver and red-this time, all but sealing a Lobo victory.

    “”You’re not going to win any games turning the ball over like that,”” said UA head coach Mike Stoops. “”Willie wasn’t as sharp as he has been and (the Lobos) can do a lot of stuff like (forcing turnovers) to you. (New Mexico) just played harder than we did (Saturday).””

    Defensively, Arizona found its struggles as well. Despite holding Porterie to 89 yards passing, Ferguson ran wild, collecting 167 yards on 26 carries along with two touchdowns.

    “”It was just a bunch of mental errors and a bunch of missed plays,”” said defensive end Ricky Elmore. “”They didn’t beat us, we beat ourselves and when things get going badly, we just need to learn how to overcome it.””

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