Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Wildcats Play Host to No. 22-ranked Trojans
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 04, 1999
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The Game: The Arizona Wildcats (3-2, 1-1 in the Pacific-10 Conference) returns to action after an open date with a key Pac-10 game at home against the No. 22-ranked Southern California Trojans (3-1, 1-1) at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. Kickoff in 56,500-seat Arizona Stadium is set for 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised live regionally by ABC-TV with Keith Jackson, Bob Griese and Todd Harris describing the play. A crowd of more than 52,000 is expected.

Some Game Themes: ...Will Arizona's bye week help the Wildcats? It didn't help USC's previous opponent... USC enjoys a lopsided margin in the series and has a three-game winning streak vs. the Cats... Two teams with identical league marks, and each needs a victory to stay in the hunt for the title... USC is looking to win its 20th game in the Arizona series... A year ago Arizona was given a boost by a spectacular Ortege Jenkins' play; in UA's last game this season it was given a jolt by a game-winning play by the "other" QB, Keith Smith... USC's rated defense against Arizona's sharply improving (400 ypg) offense... Arizona's struggling defense against some of the game's best perimeter players...

The Series: Arizona trails in the USC, 19-4, and has not beaten the Trojans since a 38-7 victory in Tucson in 1993. UA has one other victory in Arizona Stadium, in 1991, and has beaten USC twice in Los Angeles. The Trojans won the last game, a 14-7 victory in the Coliseum in 1996.

The Coaches: Arizona--Dick Tomey (DePauw '64) is in his 13th year at Arizona (87-54-4) and 23rd overall (150-100-7). He is the winningest coach at both Arizona and Hawaii. Tomey is 3-8 lifetime vs. USC including one loss while at Hawaii. Southern California-Paul Hackett (UC-Davis '69) is in his second year at USC (11-6) and fifth overall (24-26-1). It will be Hackett's first game as a head coach vs. Arizona, though he was a member of two USC staffs which beat UA in 1979 and 1980.

Last Outing: Arizona used its two-minute offense to drive 80 yards in eight plays for a touchdown as timed expired to beat Washington State, 30-24, and gain a Pac-10 road victory in Pullman (Sept. 25). Keith Smith's 42-yard pass against a 20-mph wind on a "home-run" play nestled into the hands of freshman WR Bobby Wade, one of a half-dozen players in the corner of the endzone. WSU had tied the score at 24-24 with four minutes remaining and both teams had short-lived drives before Arizona took possession at its own 20 with 1:56 on the clock. Smith ran twice for 11 yards and completed three of four passes for 28 yards before the Cats lined up for the final play with five ticks left. Arizona ran 93 offensive plays in the game, using 38 minutes of possession, and posted 500 yards -- 249 rushing, 251 passing. The kicking game played a key role in the contest. UA punter Chris Palic's running rugby punt -- with his "off" left foot and against the wind -- went 44 yards to bail UA out of a 4th-and-21 hole at its own 9 yard-line and force WSU to start its last drive from inside its territory. UA's Mark McDonald missed four field goals, a UA "record." Dennis Northcutt's 68-yard punt return earlier set up UA's first go-ahead score. Northcutt checked in with another 200-yard all-purpose game (5-107 rec, 3-86 PR, 1-15 rush). Trung Canidate had a career-high 34 carries for 158 yards and three touchdowns. Smith had his best rushing total (54 yards) of the year. UA held WSU to 54 offensive plays, though the Cougs did gain 5.9 yards per pop. Arizona's 60 rushes was its most since the '93 Cats ran 80 times against Oregon. The 93 offensive plays is No. 2 in UA history behind 98 against Utah in 1974.

More on the Match Up; USC Notes...

The teams renew the rivalry after two years of the Pac-10's annual "miss" scheduling... USC's starting quarterback, Carson Palmer, suffered a broken collarbone in the Trojans' loss at Oregon Sept. 25 and is out indefinitely, but junior Mike Van Raaphorst stepped in and completed 20 of 36 passes for 227 yards in the game -- all career highs. He started eight games in 1998 and has solid experience... The Cats face another superb all-purpose threat, only this time there are several -- tailback Chad Morton and wide receiver R. Jay Soward, among others. Those two and UA's Dennis Northcutt and Trung Canidate will put potential long plays on the field at all times. Soward's list of long pass receptions rivals Canidate's chart of long runs. Soward returned a punt 85 yards for a score agains the Beavs on Saturday... USC linebacker Zeke Moreno scored two defensive TDs against OSU - a 17-yard fumble return and a 71-yard interception return... It's the Trojans' 1,001st game, dating to 1888. Arizona celebrates its football centennial in official ceremonies Oct. 16... UA quarterback Keith Smith ran for 97 yards on 14 carries against USC in 1996... USC's No. 2 tailback, Sultan McCullough, won the Pac-10 200-meter crown as a freshman last year...As usual, the Trojans can showcase an All-Pac-10 offensive lineman, senior tackle Travis Claridge... Arizona has more than 40 Californians on its roster including a good group from the Southland... The Trojans lead the country in a coach's dream - turnover margin. USC has recovered 10 fumbles and intercepted 7 passes, while suffering 7 combined turnovers... USC is in the top 25 nationally in most defensive categories...

Arizona Coach Dick Tomey:

Tomey, a member of the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees, has led Arizona to 19 victories in its last 22 games. A 1998 national Coach of the Year finalist of the Football Writer's Association of America and Football News, Dick Tomey led Arizona to its best record in history, competing the year 12-1 and ranked No. 4 in the polls. UA became only the fourth team in 83 seasons of Pac-10 football to win 12 games. Beyond that, a more important honor was receiving a University of Arizona Provost's Award for outstanding accomplishment in teaching. He is the first coach in Arizona history to receive the honor, which are garnered by a special few and always in the interest of academic and personal excellence. Tomey is the dean of Pac-10 coaches and has seen 25 head coaches paraded at the other conference schools during his tenure. In his 13th year in Tucson he carries an 87-54-4 record and in his 23rd year overall he is 150-100-7. He has a 57-21-2 slate at Arizona Stadium and a 30-32-2 road record. His Pac-10 record is 55-40-4, making him No. 9 on the all-time list of winningest Pac-10 coaches by conference victories. He is the winningest coach at both Arizona and Hawaii, making him only the third coach in history to achieve the mark at two schools (Bear Bryant at Alabama and Kentucky, George Welsh at Virginia and Navy). Tomey's 7-1 league mark in 1998 and his 6-2 slates in 1993 and 1994 are Arizona's top three Pac-10 season records. Under Tomey, Arizona players have won six major national awards - the 1990 Thorpe Award (Darryll Lewis), the 1993 Outland Trophy/FWAA Bronko Nagurski/UPI Lineman of the Year (Rob Waldrop), the 1994 Lou Groza Award (Steve McLaughlin) and the 1998 Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year (Chris McAlister). Under his guidance the Wildcats were ranked in the polls for 20 consecutive periods until this week.

Winningest Pac-10 Coaches (league victories only):

6. John Robinson (USC, 1976-82, 1993-97) 63-43-10
7. Larry Smith (UA 1980-86, USC 1987-92) 63-34-4
8. Rich Brooks (Oregon 1977-94) 56-79-2
9. Dick Tomey (Arizona 1987-) 55-40-4

Cats in the Polls

Preseason rankings don't mean much, huh? UA entered the season ranked No. 4 by Associated Press and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The Cats dropped from the polls Sept. 20, ending from the list after 20 consecutive ranking periods. This year's opening ranking was the Cats' second highest. The 1983 team was No. 3 in both polls in the first week of September. Arizona's two final top 10 rankings from 1993-1998 are the most for any Pac-10 team.



















Injury Report:

Arizona should be in good shape for the USC game. A number of players were banged around at WSU (Idris Haroon-ankle, Anthony Banks-ankle, Steven Grace-ankle), but not overly so. Starting wide receiver Brad Brennan aggravated a hamstring injury against Stanford and is a candidate for a medical hardship season, with limited play in only two games. He had missed the TCU and MT games. Backup WR Malosi Leonard had orthoscopic knee surgery Sept. 3 and missed TCU/MT but returned for the SU game. Juco transfer OL Kevin Barry had surgery Sept. 15 on his right foot and will redshirt. Redshirt freshman cornerback David Hinton had shoulder surgery Aug. 26 and will miss the season. Lost starts due to injury: (11): (FS Rafell Jones at TCU/MT; WR Brad Brennan at TCU/MT; SS Greg Payne at PSU; FB Jim Wendler at TCU; QB Keith Smith vs. MT; CB Leland Gayles vs. MT/SU; DT Keoni Fraser vs. MT; DT Idris Haroon vs. MT.

Red-Zone Offense and Defense: Arizona's improvement in this area would dramatically improve scoring and scoring defense. For example, had the Cats scored a TD every time, it would have an average of 13 more points per game. At WSU, Arizona lost two of five red-zone scoring chances with missed field goals. (WSU made good with two touchdowns on its two penetrations.) UA lost two red-zone scoring chances among its three ventures inside Stanford's 20 yard-line. (Stanford was 6-for-6 with 5 touchdowns and a field goal). UA scored three TD on three trips inside Middle Tennessee's 20 yard-line. (MT was 2-for-3 with 2 TD). Arizona scored from outside the red zone four times at TCU and was successful on its lone trip inside the 20. (TCU was 2-for-2 with touchdowns on both possessions). At Penn State the Cats had three possessions inside the Lions' 20 yard-line and came up with one touchdown. (On PSU's four red zone possessions it came away with a field goal and two touchdowns).

Arizona in the Red Zone: 17 trips, 11 TD; 1st-and-Goal: 10 (8 TD)
Opponents in the Zone: 17 trips, 13 TD / 2 FG;1st-and-Goal: 8 (6 TD, 1 FG)

Sudden-Change Possessions...

Arizona did not create a turnover against either Washington State or Stanford, but UA defensive end Austin Uku stripped a Cougar ball carrier to cause a safety. UA did not turn the ball over against the Cougs, its second error-free game of the year (MTSU). The Cardinal scored 14 points after two of its three interceptions against the Wildcats. UA blocked a field goal but had the play negated by penalty and the Cardinal made the ensuing FG try. Arizona scored a touchdown after recovering a fumble vs. Middle Tennessee -- the lone turnover in the game. The Cats had a disastrous ratio at TCU, allowing 21 turnover points including two safeties. The Cats had three lost fumbles and suffered an interception, leading to 17 points by TCU. UA did score a TD after recovering the Horns' fumble. UA managed the only turnover points in the game at Penn State -- its lone touchdown came following a mid-field fumble recovery. However, the Nittany Lions blocked a punt on the first play of the second quarter to get superb field position at the UA 16 yard-line and subsequently kicked a field goal.

1999 Turnovers: Arizona 8, Opponents 5
1999 Miscue points: Arizona 23, Opponents 38 (Includes turnover-, safeties, blocked kicks- possessions

Dennis Delivers

WR Dennis Northcutt has caught a pass in 35 consecutive games dating to the Oregon State game in his 1996 freshman season. That's a school record and not far off the Pacific-10 Conference mark of 37 set by John Jackson of Southern California from 1986-89... He notched 208 all-purpose yards against WSU, his third 200+ game of the year. He had

242 all-purpose yards against Stanford in a decent individual duel with SU standout Troy Walters (208)... Dennis had an 80-yard punt return for a score against MTSU and had another one of 71 yards negated by penalty. Northcutt's 314 all-purpose yards at TCU (257 receiving, 13 rushing, 44 returns) is the third best in UA history and gave him 21 yards every time he touched the ball. (More on Northcutt's weekly exploits can be checked at the Biletnikoff Award web site (

Blocked Kicks

Arizona blocked a field goal (Joe Tafoya) and a PAT kick (J.J. Joppru) against Middle Tennessee. Joppru had a FG block against Stanford negated by a penalty. Last year, Arizona blocked eight kicks including two against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. Including bowl games, since 1990 Arizona has blocked 33 punts, field goals or PAT tries. Penn State blocked an Arizona punt earlier this year, giving it field position at the UA 16 yard-line to set up a field goal a few moments later.

A Few Notes

....Arizona's use of two quarterbacks has been duly noted. After five games the passing attempts for each guy is almost identical -- 77 for Ortege Jenkins and 71 for Smith. Jenkins has done a good job in improving his percentage, to a team-best .649 after last year's final mark of .493. Smith's current .634 percentage is in line with his career mark of .608. With seven games remaining, OJ is on a reasonable pace to match his Pac-10 freshman record of 19 touchdown throws. He has seven in half of five games...

...Trung Canidate's average per carry - 5.3 yards - is ahead of his pace last year when he finished with a 7.3 mark to lead the nation. After his first five games in 1998 Canidate had 337 rushing yards and was averaging 4.5 yards per tote. This year he has 470 yards...

...As has been the trend, UA linebacker Marcus Bell leads the team in tackles (42), considerably ahead of the next guy, whip linebacker DaShon Polk (25)...

...UA's quarterbacks and offensive linemen have allowed the Cats' signal caller to be sacked 18 times, compared to 21 last year and 25 the year before. Coaches have credited (or dis-) the QBs themselves on a number of occasions for simply not getting rid of the ball... Meantime, Arizona has only eight sacks on the defensive side...

...Defensive end Austin Uku was the Arizona player who stripped the ball from a rusher at WSU, causing the safety which helped Arizona get back on track in the third quarter. Game statisticians credited tackle Idris Haroon with the play. Haroon has been involved in UA's last two such scores, however. His hit a year ago at California caused a fumble which Cal recovered in its own endzone...

...Freshman WR Bobby Wade not only caught the game-winning pass against WSU in UA's last game, but had his best career day, with 5 balls for 100 yards...

...Freshman walk-on kicker Chris Gray of Irvine, Calif.,was a roster addition two weeks ago and saw his first collegiate action as the kickoff specialist against Stanford...

...Coach Dick Tomey benched two starters for team discipline reasons against Washington State -- linebacker Scooter Sprotte and free safety Rafell Jones. A couple of injuries forced Sprotte to see action on a second-half kickoff... They're expected back for the USC contest...

...UA opponents' average rushing yardage - 196 yards - seems like a misprint for many who remember Desert Swarm of the early to mid-'90s. The Cats have allowed three games of more than 200 yards, led by Penn State's 262. Most compelling is the average of 5.1 yards per carry that the UA's run defense has allowed so far this year. In all its games, Arizona has allowed opponents 100 yards rushing -- and two individual century-mark outings. Chafie Fields carried three times and popped for 110 yards at Penn State, while LaDainian Tomlinson carried the ball 28 times for 170 yards at Texas Christian...

...Sophomore tight end Brandon Manumaleuna has 11 receptions for 136 yards and a touchdown (his career first, vs. Middle Tennessee), plus another catch for a two-point conversion. Last year the Cats' leading tight end, Mike Lucky, had 11 receptions for 142 yards...

...Scooter Sprotte started at fullback and at inside linebacker at Texas Christian. That gives him three different starts -- he started at strong safety at Penn State. He also has returned punts and been a deep man on kickoff returns, among other special-teams duty...

...The two safeties TCU recorded against Arizona - tackling RB Sprotte on the game's second play and later sacking QB Ortege Jenkins early in the third quarter - is believed to be an opponents record...

20 nationally in the category... Smith had a rough day with two interceptions in nine attempts vs. Stanford -- his first interception since the ASU game last year... Smith's passing at a 72 percent clip, while Jenkins has shown solid improvement in the young season with a 64 percent completion percentage... Smith set a school record (minimum 20 attempts) by posting an .810 completion percentage mark against Penn State (17-21), besting a Tom Tunnicliffe performance (21-27, .780) against Pacific in 1982...

. Middle Tennessee had some fourth-quarter success to total 128 net team rushing yards.

...H-back/fullback Jim Wendler, who was awarded a medical-hardship final year of eligibility after a series of appeals to the NCAA (based on an illness he had during his first year at the Air Force Academy), ran the ball three times for 19 yards and had the first reception (22 yards) of his career at Penn State. He missed the TCU game with a rib injury. Wendler has 15 career rushes for 60 yards - and three touchdowns...

... One reason for the UA running game's somewhat modest start this year is the loss of five guys who played a huge role: guard Yusuf Scott, tackle Edwin Mulitalo, tight end Mike Lucky and backs Paul Shields and Kelvin Eafon. All but Eafon survived final NFL cuts...

... Arizona has played a number of new people in its games. Among them: Juniors-DE Austin Uku (1 start), LB Antonio Pierce (1 start), WR Marvin Brown; Sophomores-CB Anthony Banks (1 start); Redshirt Freshmen-OG Aaron Higginbotham, FS Jarvie Worcester (2 starts), OT Darren Safranek, DB Chidi Daniel, ST Scott McKee, TE James Hugo, WR Mike Hairgrove, DT Robert Ramsey; Freshmen-WR Bobby Wade (1 start), TB Leo Mills, DT Young Thompson, RB Lance Briggs, KOS Chris Gray. Mills carried the ball 9 times and led the Cats with 54 rushing yards at PSU. Pierce led the team with 11 tackles at Penn State. Uku had two tackles for loss (1 sack) and a fumble recovery vs. the Nittany Lions. Wade caught his first TD pass at TCU.

Dennis the Menace

* Wide Receiver Dennis Northcutt - A Biletnikoff Award an All-American candidate, this senior who began his career as a running back and defensive back, is Arizona's all-time reception leader with 171 catches which breaks the previous record of 153 that was held by "T" Bell (1972-75)... That is No. 8 in Pac-10 history... He needs just 51 more yards to become the UA's all-time receiving yardage leader... He currently is No. 2 with 2,459 yards, trailing only "T" Bell, who had 2,509 yards from 1972-75 (the total in No. 10 in Pac-10 history)... In the past four games, he has caught 28 passes for 572 yards and five touchdowns... Overall on the year, he has a 36 receptions for 629 yards and five touchdowns (125.8 ypg)... He has caught a pass in a school record 35 consecutive games, dating back to the Oregon State game in 1996... The Pac-10 record is 37 straight games held by John Jackson of USC from 1986-89... He also has a punt return for a TD this year -- an 80-yarder against Middle Tennessee... That is tied for the ninth-longest punt return in school history and it's the longest punt return at the UA since 1980... Only moments earlier, he had a 71-yard punt return for a score called back because Arizona was flagged for roughing the punter... One of the top all-purpose men in the country as well, he averages 202.4 all purpose yards per game... On the UA career all-purpose yardage list, he ranks No. 5 with 4,165 yards... In the Washington State win, he had 208 all-purpose yards (107 receiving, 86 in punts and 15 rushing yards)... Northcutt had a career-game against TCU, catching 10 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns... The yardage total was the second best in Arizona history and tied for sixth on the Pac-10's single game charts... Included in the three scores were receptions of 38, 59 and 30 yards -- the latter of which was the game-winner with 2:10 left to go... On the night, he had 314 all purpose yards and was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week for the performance... Hauled in a game-high eight passes for 86 yards at Penn State... In his career, he has 21 receiving touchdowns (also has one rushing TD and one punt return for a TD) to go with 2,459 receiving yards... His 922 receiving yards last season are No. 4 on the single season chart and his 63 receptions are No. 2... He caught 58 passes as a sophomore, a total that is No. 4 on the single season list... Was the Pac-10's all-purpose yardage leader last season with 1,647 yards... He returned 38 punts for 437 yards and 11 kickoffs for 219 yards... As a redshirt freshman in 1996, he had two interceptions against Illinois, which was one pick short of a freshman record... Took one of the interceptions back for a 63-yard touchdown... That season also saw him go on to haul in a touchdown reception at California, making him the first Arizona player to score both an offensive and defensive touchdown in the same year since 1975.

A Canidate For Fall Seasons

* Running Back Trung Canidate - A preseason Doak Walker Award candidate, this speedster has three 100-yard games in a row this season, upping his career 100-yard games to 11... He enters the USC game on the heels of a season-best 158 yards against Washington State... He carried the ball a career-high 34 times and tied a career-best with three touchdowns... His second of 1999 came in the Stanford game, as he rushed for 123 yards on 14 carries... That output was aided by a season-long 73-yard carry... On the year, he has carried the ball 88 times for 470 yards (94 ypg)... Last season, he led the nation in rushing yards per attempt, averaging a whopping 7.3 yards per carry and this year he is at 5.7 ypc... Became just the third 1,000-yard rusher in the 83-year history of Pacific-10 Conference football to average more than seven yards per carry... Against Middle Tennessee State, he had his first 100-yard game of the season -- and ninth of his career... Ran for 102 yards on 16 carries (6.4 ypc)... His 18 career touchdown runs have averaged 43.4 yards per carry... Before the Washington State game this season when he scored on runs of 4, 2 and 1 yards, his TD average was at 51.7 ypc...Ran for a UA record 288 yards on just 18 carries (16.0 ypc) in last year's regular season finale against Arizona State... After missing last season's opener at Hawaii, he still managed to finish as the Pac-10's rushing champion with 1,220 yards... He is the fourth all-time leading rusher in school history with 2,765 yards and needs 332 yards to surpass Hubie Oliver (1977-80), who is No. 3 at 3,096... Ontiwaun Carter (1991-94) is the school's all-time leading rusher with 3,501 career rushing yards and is 736 yards ahead of Canidate... First career touchdown was as a redshirt freshman when he blocked a punt and recovered it for a score against Washington State.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

* Linebacker Marcus Bell - A Butkus Award candidate, he led the Pac-10 Conference in tackles last year after racking up 139 hits... This season, he has a team-high 42 tackles and leads the team with five tackles for a loss and 23 solo hits... His game-high 13 tackles against Stanford tied for the third-highest single game total of his career... Team high-nine tackles against TCU and eight versus Middle Tennessee... Only had six tackles against Penn State, as his time in the second half was limited after injuring his left ankle (he missed the entire fourth quarter)... His tackle total last season was the most for an Arizona defender during the Dick Tomey-era, surpassing the 136 tackles All-American safety Chuck Cecil had in 1987... Had 83 solo stops and was a first team All-Pac-10 selection... Broke up six passes, forced two fumbles and led the team in tackles for a loss with 14... Had a double-digit tackle output in nine of the UA's 13 games... Had 21 tackles in a game twice last season - against Washington and Arizona State... His 139 tackles in 1998 were twice as many as Arizona's second-leading tackler (59)... A two-time Pac-10 Conference Player of the Week selection (Washington and Iowa games)... An extremely hard worker, UA head coach Dick Tomey calls him the best inside linebacker he has coached...Started every game but one over the last two seasons (at WSU as a sophomore)... Has 322 total tackles in his career (213 solos/109 assists)... Football News 1999 preseason All-America first team.

The "K" in the O

* Quarterback Keith Smith - The senior part of the Arizona two-headed quarterback rotation with Ortege Jenkins, Keith Smith entered the season after setting Arizona completion records in two of the past three years... He looks like he is on target to do it again this season, as he is 45-of-71 (63.4%)... He has thrown for 572 yards and three touchdowns... He will be the Arizona quarterback who you see on the highlight reels this time around after his 42-yard "Hail Mary" pass on the last play of the game at Washington State was caught by freshman Bobby Wade, giving the Cats a 30-24 win -- it was named the Compaq Collegiate Play of the Week... He finished the day 12-of-25 for 190 yards and one TD to go with 54 rushing yards on 13 carries... He sat out the Middle Tennessee win after re-aggravating an ankle sprain against TCU -- he injured the ankle during the second half of the season opener at Penn State, but practiced the entire following week and started against the Horned Frogs... In the TCU win, he was 12-of-16 for 174 and two touchdowns, including the gamewinner -- a 30-yarder to Dennis Northcutt with 2:10 left in the contest... Against Penn State, he started and was on target throughout the day, completing 17-of-21 passes for 128 yards... He completed his first nine passes in a row... Against Stanford, he was 4-of-9 for 80 yards, as Jenkins got the start and the majority of the work... He completed a school-best 68.5% of his passes last season (113-of-165) and during his sophomore campaign, he completed passes 60.6% of the time (117-of-193)... His pass efficiency rating of 174.17 last year is also a school record - and if he would have had just 15 more attempts, that would have been the nation's No. 2 mark... He is the UA's No. 3 career leader for total offense (5,588 yards) and No. 5 for passing yards (4,641)... A second team All-Pac-10 pick last year... Pin-point passer and elusive rusher as well... Has rushed for 947 yards in his career and scored 13 touchdowns on the ground... Offensive MVP of the 1998 Holiday Bowl, as he completed 11-of-19 passes for 147 yards and one TD, while rushing for 25 yards.

Big Play O.J.

* Quarterback Ortege Jenkins - Arizona's other quarterback in the UA two-man rotation, he has started the past three games in a row... On the year, he is 50-of-77 for 646 yards and seven touchdowns... He was the man in the TCU win after guiding the Cats out of a 25-7 third quarter deficit... He engineered three quick scoring drives that resulted in 21 points in six plays, giving Arizona a 28-25 lead in the middle of the third stanza... In the game, he completed 5-of-9 passes -- three of which were for touchdowns and finished with 163 yards... He also saw time at receiver and caught two passes, while his improvisational skills on the ground helped Arizona keep the chains moving... In the game-winning final drive, he was used as a wide receiver to keep the TCU defense from double-teaming Dennis Northcutt, who in turn, ended up catching the game-winning pass... At Washington State, he started before giving way to Keith Smith... On the day he was 6-of-8 for 61 yards and was in the three-receiver set that went up for the ball on the last second "Hail Mary" completion that won the game... He jumped for it, but it went through his arms and into Bobby Wade's for the game winner... He played the majority of the Middle Tennessee game (Keith Smith was held out due to an injury), before giving way to third-stringer Jason Johnson late in the game... Jenkins went 16-of-23 for 118 yards and one touchdown and ran the ball four times for 21 yards, scoring on an 8-yard run that put Arizona up 20-0... Against Stanford, he was 15-of-23 for 200 yards and three touchdowns... O.J. directed Arizona on its only scoring drive of the Penn State game and ended up completing 8-of-14 passes for 104 yards... He also carried the ball 11 times (but his rushing total was only 16 yards because of sacks)... Threw for 1,011 yards last year and five touchdowns, but was probably best remembered around the nation for his leap and flip into the endzone over three defenders to beat Washington with four seconds left in the game... Top game of 1998 was against UCLA, when he passed for 260 yards and one touchdown... The starting QB in three games last season, while starting another at slot receiver... Worked on his game in the offseason with former Arizona offensive coordinator Homer Smith... Spent 13 days in Smith's hometown of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and worked on the mechanics and techniques that Smith helped develop during Jenkins' first year as the Arizona quarterback (1997)... That season, he began the year as a wide receiver and No. 3 quarterback, but injuries to both Keith Smith and Brady Batten gave him the starting QB nod... Went on to pass for 1,669 yards and 19 touchdowns that season... The 19 touchdowns are the second-best single season total in UA history and a Pac-10 freshman record... Has 31 touchdown passes in 27 career games and has been intercepted just 12 times in 462 career attempts... Thirteen of his 31 career TD strikes have been 26 yards or longer... In his first career start, he completed 17-of-25 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns against San Diego State... Rallied the team from a 21-0 deficit for a 31-28 win... Played on the Arizona basketball team during its 1997-98 Elite Eight campaign.

Arizona's Polk Hero

* Linebacker DaShon Polk - Along with Marcus Bell, this senior LB is also on the Butkus Award watch list...Has 25 tackles this season and five for a loss... Had a game-high three tackles for a loss in the TCU win and accounted for seven tackles on the evening... Was in on six tackles versus Middle Tennessee State... His time against Penn State was limited after missing a portion of the game due to dehydration (he had three tackles)... The flex linebacker in the UA's Double-Eagle flex defensive scheme, he has a tremendous physical presence with great speed on the outside... In the UA's scheme, it is his job to funnel the action to the core of the defense... A second team All-Pac-10 pick last year as a junior, 23% of his tackles were for a loss... Had 56 tackles overall, 13 of which were for a loss... Had 4.5 sacks... Has started the last 29 games in a row and 134 career tackles.

Anchors Away

* Offensive Linemen Manuia Savea & Bruce Wiggins - Savea, the senior offensive right tackle, and Wiggins, the junior center, are the two anchors of the Arizona offensive line... Two of the major players in last year's dominating line, Savea, Wiggins and their mates helped the Wildcats average 444.9 yards of total offense per game, which was a school record and the 18th best mark in the land for 1998... This season, they have helped Trung Canidate get three consecutive 100-yard rushing days as the Cats go into the USC battle... In the WSU win, they help Arizona run for 279 yards and were on the field for 93 plays, while helping establish a time of possession margin of 38:26-to-21:34...The Middle Tennessee game saw the Arizona gameplan focus on establishing the run, and they did just that, running for a season-high 265 yards on 46 carries... The offensive line did not give up any sacks as well... The Cats rushing total of 113 yards against Stanford could have been higher, if not for the minus-63 yards quarterback Ortege Jenkins suffered, mostly on six sacks... They helped open holes for the Pac-10's leading rusher in 1998, Trung Canidate, who averaged 110.9 yards per game and the nation's best 7.3 yards per carry average... Head coach Dick Tomey heaped a ton of praise on this duo in fall drills and they will be looked to for upper class leadership throughout 1999 to make up for the loss of a some of key parts of the blocking from 1998 who are all playing in the NFL this year -- guard Yusuf Scott (Arizona Cardinals), tackle Edwin Mulitalo (Baltimore Ravens), tight end Mike Lucky (Dallas Cowboys) -- and blocking back Paul Shields, was released from the Indianapolis Colts in mid September, picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles for their practice squad, then re-acquired by the Colts.

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