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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Wildcats, sans Tuitama, fall in L.A.”

    PASADENA, Calif. – With three and a half minutes left in the first half at the Rose Bowl last night, Willie Tuitama rose gingerly from a sideline bench and wobbled to the Arizona football team’s training room, disoriented and disheveled minutes after suffering his second concussion of the season.

    With his team down 7-0, the day of the Wildcats’ sophomore quarterback was done. For all intents and purposes, so was that of Arizona.

    The Bruins overcame the early loss of their starting quarterback to hold the Wildcats scoreless over the final 38 minutes and win 27-7 in front of a crowd of 65,644.

    “”‘We’re not quite good enough,’ is where we’re at with this team,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. “”At times, we do some good things, but it’s just nowhere near consistent enough to win in this conference at this time.””

    While the Wildcats’ third straight Pacific 10 Conference loss further put Arizona’s postseason hopes into question, the bigger mystery after the game was the status of Tuitama, who took a blow to the head from UCLA defensive end Bruce Davis at the 12:34 mark in the second quarter.

    During the first drive of Arizona’s 45-3 loss at Louisiana State on Sept. 9, Tuitama received a concussion after a helmet-to-helmet hit by end Tyson Jackson.

    Stoops and many players questioned said Tuitama seemed fine, but didn’t elaborate. Arizona offensive coordinator Mike Canales also claimed to know little about his condition, only that he was taken to a local-area hospital.

    “”I really don’t know more than that,”” he said.

    Redshirt senior quarterback Adam Austin said he spoke to Tuitama at halftime and guessed that if he was hospitalized, it was for precautionary reasons.

    “”He said, ‘Just go out there and let’s win the game.’ That’s what he told me. … He was talking fine,”” Austin said.

    Stoops said he wasn’t sure if Tuitama had been taken to a hospital and or if he would start at Stanford on Saturday. To do so, he would have to return to practice by mid-week.

    “”We’ll see how Willie is,”” Stoops said. “”It depends on when Willie’s out, how much he’s out.””

    By early in the second quarter, both the Bruins and the Wildcats were relying on their backup signal-callers to move them down the field.

    Redshirt sophomore Patrick Cowan entered with 6:47 left in the first quarter after Ben Olson suffered a sprained left knee.

    Despite never have thrown a pass in his career, Cowan finished 20-of-29 for 201 yards and two touchdowns, flustering the Wildcats with bootlegs and general elusiveness in the backfield.

    “”We made him look a lot better than we needed to,”” said linebacker Spencer Larsen, who led the Wildcats with eight tackles. “”But he’s a good athlete, definitely. He’s got some nerves to come in and play like that, in his first opportunity.””

    After forging a 14-7 lead going into halftime, UCLA kept the ball for 12 minutes of the third quarter, all on two drives that ended in a pair of Justin Medlock field goals.

    Arizona got back into UCLA’s red zone with four and a half minutes left in the game down 20-7, only for Austin to throw an interception to cornerback Alterraun Verner that the true freshmen returned 89 yards for a touchdown.

    “”We’re just waiting for it to click for us,”” Austin said, “”and it just hasn’t happened for us yet.””

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