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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Squad moves on after UO loss

Arizona football’s loss to Oregon was perhaps the most difficult loss to swallow of the season considering that a UA win would give it a good chance to reach the Rose Bowl for the first time ever. Despite the defeat there is still plenty to play for.

“”We can finish anywhere from second to sixth (in the Pacific 10 Conference),”” head coach Mike Stoops said during his weekly press conference on Monday. “”There’s a significant difference (between finishing 4-5 or 6-3), we’re always trying to improve our position and get better as a program.””

While the Rose Bowl dreams are dashed, there’s still hope for the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl — generally reserved for the team that finishes second in the Pac-10 — if the Wildcats can win out and Oregon defeats Oregon State.

Other bowl scenarios include the Brut Sun Bowl, the Emerald Bowl, the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl and the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

“”We certainly feel like we’re a much better program than we were a year ago. Sometimes the record reflects that and sometimes, maybe not so much,”” Stoops said. “”I think our players have worked extremely hard all season. I don’t look for that to change and I look for them to put the same effort and attitude into these last two weeks.

“”We’re close,”” Stoops added. “”We just need to keep getting better, that’s all we can do.””

Stoops addresses cheerleader incident

Word of the incident with the Oregon cheerleader reached the coaches. Katelynn Johnson was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital after being hit in the head by a water bottle that was thrown from the stands.

“”I checked on the young lady that was struck with the bottle and talked to (Oregon Athletic Director and former head coach Mike) Belotti and all the information was good,”” Stoops said. “”It was disturbing, when you think about it that could seriously hurt somebody — kill somebody actually. That’s concerning and it’s unfortunate, and it’s something that we’ll continue to look at security-wise.””

Criner stepping up

Stoops was relentless with his praise of Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, but the Duck signal caller wasn’t the only player on the field to give a remarkable individual performance.

Arizona wide receiver Juron Criner had a career day, hauling in five balls for 93 yards and three scores.

“”Juron’s played well. He’s a big, physical guy that can run and he needs to be a playmaker for us,”” Stoops said of the sophomore. “”He’s capable of that and I think you’re starting to see his evolution and his maturity as a player. He’s still a young player, and I think he’ll continue to improve.””

Criner’s 71-yard catch-and-run was the biggest play of his promising career and would have been the defining play of the game had Arizona held on for the win.

“”I don’t think there’s any question (that it was the play of his career),”” Stoops said. “”A guy that big, to be able to split those guys, it showed his strength and speed to finish.””

Injury report

Running back Nic Grigsby was in the starting lineup against Oregon but was again hampered by a shoulder injury. Stoops said that it’s unlikely the junior will play against Arizona State this weekend.

Keola Antolin, his backup, provided a burst against the Ducks but then had to leave the game due to lingering effects from a stinger he suffered against California the week before. Stoops said Antolin’s availability will be determined later in the week.

Sophomore wide receiver David Douglas suffered a deep thigh bruise in the Oregon game and was seen on the sideline on crutches during the second half.

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