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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats look to tame the Bears

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

In a matchup of ranked teams, No. 24 Arizona took on the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A stout defense and pesky special teams helped the Wildcats to a 34-27 upset victory.
Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat In a matchup of ranked teams, No. 24 Arizona took on the No. 9 Iowa Hawkeyes Saturday, Sept. 18, 2010, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A stout defense and pesky special teams helped the Wildcats to a 34-27 upset victory.

With a potentially program-changing win over Iowa in its rearview mirror, the Arizona football team opens Pacific 10 Conference play tomorrow against California as one of the hottest teams in the country — and it’s not about to let the win over the Hawkeyes cloud its vision.

“”That’s when the seniors have to step up and let the younger guys know that’s one game and one win and we still have nine more games to play,”” said senior defensive end Ricky Elmore about not letting the Iowa hype distract from preparation from playing Cal.

Memories are still lingering from Arizona’s loss in Berkeley, Calif., thanks to a fluke play that spelled defeat for the Wildcats last season. In a game where Elmore said “”nothing went right,”” quarterback Nick Foles committed an illegal forward pass that knocked Arizona out of range for a field goal that would’ve given it the lead.

“”It’s something that I’ll always remember,”” said Wildcat quarterback Nick Foles. “”It was a great learning experience for me and everybody who watched it so yeah, I remember it and that’s why I know that this game’s so big. We didn’t play well there and we made some mistakes, I made some mistakes, so it will be a really good test to come out there on Saturday and play them.””

Arizona’s offense will have to show up on Saturday and test the Golden Bears, who before last weekend had only given up single digits to opponents. The Wildcats didn’t execute last year at Cal and that same mistake could cost them at home this year, too.

The Golden Bears — who fell out of the national rankings this week — are coming off a 52-31 loss to Nevada last weekend after thumping future Pac-12 member Colorado the week prior. Led by quarterback Kevin Riley and running back Shane Vereen, the Golden Bear offense is averaging 45 points per game so far this season.

“”They’re tough, they’re going to bounce back,”” said co-defensive coordinator Seth Littrell. “”They’re going to play like their backs are against the wall and we just got to match their intensity, we got our backs against the wall too.””

The focus for the Wildcats, however, will be on themselves. Mistakes are something that Arizona needs to avoid after last weekend’s epic win.

“”That’s really what the focus is on right now, is to make sure we got our focus back and concentrating on the things we need to be concentrating on and getting prepared the way we’ve been preparing the first three weeks,”” said co-offensive coordinator Tim Kish.

Taking advantage of opportunities could be the difference between Arizona’s first-ever trip to the Rose Bowl, or a middle of the Pac finish.

“”I think we’re a year more mature and hopefully this year, when the game’s tight, we’ll build off last week and when the game’s tight, we’ll have to make a drive to go down and score a touchdown or a field goal. I think we’ll be ready for it and more mature to make those plays when they come,”” Littrell said.

Injury report

The Wildcats are light on injuries this week in terms of numbers, but their few injuries are in key spots. H-back Taimi Tutogi is likely out with a strained knee, while wide receiver Juron Criner’s status is questionable with a toe injury. Kick returner Travis Cobb was in a boot all week but is expected to play. California has been hit by the injury bug too and will likely be without its defensive leader Mike Mohamed.

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