Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Football Notes - Ohio State Game
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 04, 2000
Related Links
  • Notes in PDF Format
  • Coach Tomey's Pregame Quotes
  • Updated Depth Chart

    Game Tickets:

    Season tickets, ranging from $36 under the family plan to $102 regular public -- or higher for priority seating plans -- will remain on sale until Sept. 8. Single-game tickets range from $7 to $41 depending on location and purchase plan. McKale Center Ticket Office hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Game-day tickets are sold at the Stadium's southeast side from 10 a.m. until halftime. Call 621-CATS or 1-800-452-CATS. Arizona Football On TV A number of games have been preselected for television under the Pac-10's ABC/FOX Sports Net contracts. The Ohio State game is a FOX Sports Net national cablecast. Other games may be selected, and UA partner FOX Sports Net (Arizona) may cablecast (or broadcast in affiliation with KWBA-58 in Southern Arizona) other games. Arizona Football On Radio: KNST Radio (790 AM) is the flagship station for the Wildcat sports network. Brian Jeffries and Les Josephson call the play. Affiliates include KFYI-Phoenix, KDAP-Douglas, KVNA-Flagstaff, KJAA-Globe, KWRQ-Safford, KTAN-Sierra Vista/Bisbee, KINO-Winslow, KNOT-Prescott/Chino Valley, KVWM-Showlow, KBLU-Yuma, KTOX-Needles, Calif., and KRLV in Las Vegas, Nev. Airtime: 40 minutes prior. TEAMLINE (1-800-846-4700) carries KNST=s broadcast via telephone. Yahoobroadcast carries KNST=s signal via the Internet.

    Dick Tomey Shows:

    Dick Tomey's weekly radio show, with host Brian Jeffries, airs Tuesdays at 7:05 p.m. on KNST Radio. Tomey's weekly television show, with Brian Jeffries, is shown Wednesdays on KTTU-TV-18 at 9:30 p.m.

    Coach Dick Tomey Weekly Media Events:

    Head coach Dick Tomey meets weekly with media in McKale 106 to preview games (Tuesdays at 1 p.m.) and in his office to review games Sundays (TBA). Tomey is available in his office at mid days (520-621-4917) and also briefly after most practices. Tomey meets Wednesdays with any interested parties at 12 noon in the McKale Room of McKale Center for a Brown Bag Lunch. Information by FAX/Internet: SID Fax Number: 520-621-2681. Pivotal Communications (770-558-6000) for media on-demand fax services, or releases via the Internet at

    Arizona Welcomes No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes

    The Game:

    The Arizona Wildcats (1-0, 0-0 in the Pacific-10 Conference) play host to the No. 18-ranked (AP; No. 16 ESPN/USA Today) Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0, 0-0 in the Big Ten) in an intersectional match-up at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, in 56,002-seat Arizona Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:15 p.m. before an expected sellout crowd and a national cable audience on FOX Sports Net. Steve Physioc, Tom Ramsey and Lisa Malosky will describe the play for FSN.

    Some Game Themes:

    ... Two teams that were at the top of the game in 1998 (12-1 Arizona, 11-1 Ohio State), but sat home during bowl season after 6-6 marks in 1999 and are looking for more respect One of two Pac-10-Big Ten games this week (Oregon at Wisconsin) and the third of the season The return game for UA's 1997 trip to Ohio Stadium when OSU clipped UA, 26-20 OSU's first trip to Tucson A game pitting what appears to be very tough defensesWill UA's offense snap out of its opening-game funk? Will OSU's power game work against an apparent re-born UA swarming defense? Dick Tomey's Cats beat the last ranked team they played (No. 22 USC, 31-24, last October)OSU's John Cooper returns to Arizona Stadium for the first time since his 1986 Arizona State team beat UA, 34-17

    The Series:

    Ohio State leads the series 2-1 and won the last meeting, 26-20, in Columbus in 1997. OSU won, 38-14, in Columbus in 1991. UA won in Columbus, 14-7, in 1967. Arizona is 13-17 vs. Big Ten teams. OSU is 46-22-2 vs. the Pac-10.

    The Coaches:

    Arizona--Dick Tomey (DePauw '64) is in his 14th year at Arizona (91-58-4) and 24th overall (154-104-7). He is the winningest coach at both Arizona and Hawaii. He is 0-2 against OSU. Ohio StateBJohn Cooper (Iowa State '62) is in his 13th year at Columbus (104-39-4) and 24th overall (186-79-6). Cooper is 2-2-1 against Arizona, with the two losses and tie coming as Arizona State's head coach in 1985-87.

    Last Week: at Utah -- Wildcats 17, Utes 3

    Arizona went to Utah and did what football teams do most of the time when they win - win the turnover battle, keep penalties to a minimum, perform on special teams and win the critical situations in the fourth quarter. The Cats balanced an off day on offense - only 146 yards - with a defensive effort that made Utah predictable (51 passes), and UA splurged on two sack-fumbles in the third quarter. UA scored on a fumble return by Adrian Koch then took the good field position on the next fumble to drive 29 plays for another TD. Later, a modest 54-yard drive put UA in position for a Sean Keel 43-yard field goal (his career best) to cap the scoring. Arizona did not turn the ball over, was penalized only six times for 40 yards and was not frustrated by its rope-a-dope offense. QB Ortege Jenkins completed only three of 15 passes for 11 yards and the Cats managed 135 rushing yards. Leo Mills (4.6 ypc) and Larry Croom (5.4 ypc) made the best of their carries and Croom scored the lone offensive TD on a nifty bump-out 13-yard run. UA linebacker Lance Briggs had 16 tackles, end Joe Tafoya led a six-sack effort with two. Punter Chris Palic stuck three of his 10 punts inside the 20. A fine note was the Cats' five takeaways - three fumbles and two interceptions. That puts UA tied for No. 1 nationally in turnover margin - with Ohio State and Virginia.

    Buckeyes Bits...

    One wonders how important turnovers might be in the Arizona-OSU gameThe Cats had five take-aways Saturday. Meantime Ohio State intercepted four passes and recovered two fumbles in its decisive 43-10 victory over Fresno State at Ohio Stadium Saturday. The Buckeyes lost a fumble and thereby share, with Arizona and Virginia, the nation's best turnover margin at 5.0 OSU scored four times on its take-aways, with a Mike Doss fumble recovery in the end zone, a David Mitchell 34-yard fumble return, a Mitchell 51-yard interception return and a Matt Wilhelm 25-yard INT return. . The two TDs by Mitchell, a cornerback, tie him for 18th nationally in scoring The four defensive touchdowns was a school record Lest anyone think the Buckeyes' opener was a defense-only deal, they rushed for 223 yards and added 166 passing including a 44-yard scoring pass from nominal third-string QB Scott McMullen to Ricky Bryant. The latter was the first career completion and reception for each guy Starter Steve Bellisari threw for a TD and completed eight of 14 passes for 95 yards Super flanker threat Ken-Yon Rambo caught five passes for 55 yards Ohio State Travel Plans The Buckeyes arrive in Tucson Friday and will quarter at the Tucson Hilton East Hotel. Sports information director Steve Snapp (614-292-6861) will accompany the team and handles media services for football.

    Injury Report:

    Starting left guard Steven Grace missed the Utah game with a left shoulder injury but is probable for Ohio State. Starting WR Brad Brennan missed the Utah game because of hamstring and back problems but is probable for Ohio State. Reserve DE Aaron Huisman missed the Utah game because of the effects of a concussion. He is questionable. Special teams player Scott McKee (hamstring) mised the Utah game and is probable. DE Mike Robertson (groin) missed the Utah trip and is questionable.

    New Arizona Players In Action

    A number of new faces were in action for the first time at Utah. Notable were starters in redshirt freshmen cornerbacks Michael Jolivette and David Hinton, and junior college redshirt offensive guard Kevin Barry. Also, key backups or special teams players hit the scene in redshirt freshman free safety Clay Hardt, junior college corner Jermaine Chatman, redshirt freshman OLB Joe Siofele, redshirt freshmen receivers Andrae Thurman and Gary Love; and true freshmen running back Clarence Farmer.

    A Guy Name Joe

    Senior defensive end Joe Tafoya returned to his natural position this year after spending some time as an interior tackle in 1999. In the opener he had two sacks and two tackles for loss among eight hits, knocked down a fourth-down pass on 4th-and-goal at the 2 yard-line, and one sack caused a fumble which UA retuned for a score. It was a nice piece of work. Tafoya was the Cats' sacks leader in 1999 with 10 and the co-leader with 14 tackles for loss in a second-team All-Pac-10 effort.

    It's the Real Thing

    On Aug. 16, with about 15 minutes left in UA's training camp at Cochise College, senior whip linebacker Adrian Koch, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament tear in his right knee. It appeared that the football career of the U.S. Marine veteran was over. Seventeen days later: Koch is a game captain at Utah, makes his first career start, notches four tackles and punctuates the game with a fumble recovery and 10-yard scoring return on the fourth play of the second half to put UA on the scoreboard and in the lead at 7-3. The ligament tear turned out to be relatively minor damage to an old injury, and Koch's able to play in a brace. "When Adrian scored, I flashed back to that moment at camp when he was crying on the sidelines That turnaround is the sort of thing that makes the world go around," Dick Tomey said afterward.

    A Bit of a Squeeze for O.J.

    UA quarterback Ortege Jenkins was a 1997 Pac-10 freshman record holder (19 TD throws), a 1998 big-play icon (somersault TD at Washington) and a 1999 thrower with 61 percent accuracy and a 144.72 efficiency rating. UA is last in the nation (102) in Division I-A passing efficiency this week after a 3-for-15 evening for 11 yards in Rice-Eccles Stadium. Don't count on the trend continuing. "I measure quarterbacks in terms of victories, and O.J. helped us get there," Dick Tomey said. "The good thing is he knows we can still win if he has a bad day."


    Sophomore inside linebacker Lance Briggs wasted no time in emphasizing his move from fullback to his natural linebacker spot was a no-brainer. Against Utah, Briggs had five tackles on the Utes' first nine plays from scrimmage, and finished with a game-high 16 tackles including one for a loss. He was all over the field whacking people. On 14 running plays he had solo or assisted tackles, the Utes netted 40 yards.

    Secondary Steps Up

    Some conjecture about battles for starting spots might have been put to rest against Utah, especially in the secondary. New corners Michael Jolivette and David Hinton and safety Brandon Nash acquitted themselves well in coverage and run support, joining the elder in the secondary, sophomore free safety Jarvie Worcester. (Worcester had seven starts in 1999.) Ute receiver Cliff Russell did catch 10 balls for 141 yards, but teammate Steve Smith was held to a couple of catches and neither helped put points on the board. Utah threw the ball 51 times, a number Arizona's defensive coaches will take most any day. Nash broke up three passes, made six tackles and had a pick; Hinton had two PBU, seven tackles and an interception; Jolivette knocked down a pass and recorded eight tackles; and Worcester had three tackles and a deflection in the endzone. SS Zaharius Johnson, CB Anthony Banks and FS Clay Hardt contributed five hits.

    Pressure Cooker

    No secondary thrives without help up front, and Arizona appears to have some renewed strength in the trenches. The Cats notched six sacks for minus-63 yards, including two caused fumbles that UA turned into points. Another stopped a fourth-down try with the game still in doubt with 10 minutes remaining. In all, UA recorded 15 tackles for losses of 74 yards. Joining Joe Tafoya (2) in sacks were whip linebackers Joe Siofele and Austin Uku, strong safety Brandon Nash and senior end Idris Haroon. One of Tafoya's hits caused the fumble which Adrian Koch scooped and scored, and the Haroon sack caused a fumble Keoni Fraser recovered for UA. The Cats' rush defense held Utah to 60 net yards, with linemen and linebackers credited with 50 tackles or assits. UA rates 20th nationally in rushing defense.

    Blocked Kicks

    Although not initially credited, game films show specialist Peter Hansen got his sixth career place-kick block against Utah on the Utes' final field goal try. Erect a 10-foot wall in front of a kicker and see what he thinks: Hansen is 6-foot-8, was a letterman on Arizona's basketball team last year, and has an outstanding vertical leap. Last year Hansen had three of the six kicks Arizona blocked. The Cats had 14 in the 1998-99 and appear to be in tune for 2000. Others on the squad who have blocked kicks are DE Joe Tafoya and SS Brandon Nash. Arizona had 37 blocks in the last decade and puts strong emphasis on the effort. Arizona's last blocked punt was Nash's effort vs. Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.

    Saving Grace

    Arizona held out starter and second-team All-Pac-10 offensive guard Steven Grace from the opener because of a shoulder injury. He's expected back this week. Soph Aaron Higginbotham, a contender for the starting role on the right side, played in Grace's spot on the left and did a good job. With Grace's return and the potential return of wide receiver Brad Brennan - plus a good week of practice - Arizona hopes to improve on its error-free but quite modest offensive output (146 yards) in Salt Lake City.

    Sky King And Rugby

    UA punter Chris Palic was part of UA's kicking game success at Utah, and had plenty of action. He booted a career-high 10 punts that the Utes returned for only 12 yards, putting the Cats' net figure at 36.6. The net figure was outstanding considering a number of them were 'sky' punts, there were no touchbacks and three ended up inside the 20 yard-line, plus two were 'running rugby' style to thwart returns. One of the latter was mishandled and recovered by UA. Palic, a member of the 2000 American Football Coaches Good Works Team for outstanding athletic, scholarship and community service, helped keep Utah's nifty Steve Smith a non factor. Then, too, UA kickoff specialist Chris Gray and UA's coverage unit helped keep Utes' star Patrick Dyson in check.

    Even Keel

    Sophomore Sean Keel stepped up and booted a 44-yard field goal on his first try of the year at Utah, cause for considerable optimism after UA's 6-19 season in that regard in 1999. Keel, however, now has made six of nine career attempts. The Utah kick was the longest of his career.

    Red Zone Offense and Defense:

    Arizona scored a TD in two red zone (inside opponents' 20 yard-line) penetrations at Utah, and the unsuccessful foray was a fourth-down rush in a clock-eat mode at 1:43 remaining. On the other side, UA was superb and turned back Utah four times in its visits to the Cats' 16, 11, 2 and 19 yard-lines. The 1st-and-goal defensive stand at the 2 yard-line in the early fourth quarter underscored Arizona's off-season emphasis on smacking people.
    Arizona in the Red Zone: 2 trips, 1 TD, 0 FG 1st-and-Goal: 0 (0 TD) 50% scoring, 50% TD
    Opponents in the Zone: 4 trips, 0 TD, 0 FG 1st-and-Goal: 1 (0 TD) 0% scoring
    UA had another 4th-quarter RZ defensive stop on fourth down along with the 1st-and-goal effort. Redshirt freshman OLB Joe Siofele came up with a 12-yard sack to give the ball back to the offense after Utah reached the 19. On the goal-line stand, the Cats stuffed two running plays (assisted tackles by Lance Briggs/Young Thompson and by Keoni Fraser/Brandon Nash), nearly intercepted a pass in the endzone (Jarvie Worcester) and knocked down a pass in the backfield (Joe Tafoya).

    Sudden-Change Possessions:

    Arizona opened the 2000 year with one of its best efforts in years in terms of ball handling, creating turnovers and taking advantange of sudden change. UA fumbled the ball (Ortege Jenkins) only once, but recovered. Meantime, the Cats recovered third-quarter fumbles after jarring sacks by Joe Tafoya and Idris Haroon, with whip linebacker Adrian Koch putting points up on a scoop-and-score effort following the first, and the Cats' Sean Keel kicking a 44-yard field goal after the second. Those helped score 14 turnover points in a close-fought game. Later, an interception by corner David Hinton thwarted a drive into Arizona territory with 5 minutes left. A few minutes later, punter Chris Palic's rugby punt was misplayed by the Ute returner and UA recovered to take more time off the clock. With less than a minute remaining, strong safety Brandon Nash intercepted a second Utah pass to effectively end the game. 2000 Turnovers: Arizona 0, Opponents 5 2000 Miscue points: Arizona 14, Opponents 0 (Includes turnover-, blocked/botched kicks-possessions)

    Cats On the Web

    Arizona football information and information on all University of Arizona athletic programs is available online through a World Wide Web site developed in cooperation with the Total College Sports Network (TCSN) of Raleigh, N.C. ( The Arizona URL is KNST Radio=s' broadcasts of Arizona games are netcast on the Internet, reachable through ( or Additionally, all of Arizona=s home games and select road games can be tracked live at the UA web site through TCSN's ATotalCast@ programming features.
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