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Cats Pounce on Middle Tennessee
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 09/12/1999
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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP, Sept. 11) -- Dennis Northcutt set Arizona's career receiving record and scored on an 80-yard punt return before a first-quarter injury slowed him, and the Wildcats beat Middle Tennessee 34-19 Saturday night for their second straight win.

Arizona (2-1), which fell from No. 4 preseason ranking to No. 19 after a 34-point humiliation at Penn State and a come-from-behind win at Texas Christian, needed an opponent like the Blue Raiders (0-2). Middle Tennessee was beaten 40-7 by Southern Mississippi last week in its first Division I-A game.

The Wildcats, a 43{-point favorite, outgained Middle Tennessee 329 yards to 128 through three quarters, with Trung Canidate running for 102 yards on 16 carries in the first half for his first 100-yard game of the season.

But the Blue Raiders outgained Arizona 180-71 in the fourth quarter, scoring three times.

Middle Tennessee avoided a shutout when Jamison Palmer swept left end on a 39-yard run with 10:31 left, Wes Counts scored on a 1-yard keeper with 5:08 remaining, and Counts finished up with a 15-yard scoring strike to Hansford Johnson as time expired.

Jim Wendler and Lance Briggs scored on 1-yard runs for Arizona, and Ortege Jenkins, playing the entire game because alternate quarterback Keith Smith had a sore ankle, was 16-of-23 for 118 yards and one touchdown.

Jenkins scored on an 8-yard run that sent the Wildcats to a 20-0 halftime lead and threw a 26-yard scoring strike to Marvin Brown on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 34-0.

Canidate carried eight times for 57 yards on Arizona's opening possession, capped by Wendler's plunge.

Northcutt made his first catch of the game and 154th of his career two minutes after the kickoff. It broke a tie with T Bell, who played from 1972-75.

Northcutt also reached the end zone the first two times he fielded punts, but a 71-yard return was nullified by a roughing penalty. On the next Raiders punt, Northcutt made it 14-0 with 2:46 left in the first quarter when he fielded the ball on his 20-yard line and returned it along the sideline.

Jenkins gained 12 yards on one quarterback draw during an 11-play, 74-yard scoring drive late in the second quarter, and capped it with his sprint up the middle with 3:06 left.

Northcutt missed the second quarter after taking a blow to the abdomen on his third punt return with 1:03 left in the first. He re-entered the game in the third quarter and stayed in, but coach Dick Tomey kept Canidate on the bench.

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