Nov. 7, 2011
Arizona (2-7, 1-6 Pac-12) @ Colorado (1-9, 0-6 Pac-12)
Arizona Football Weekly Release (PDF)
Coach Kish Weekly News Conference (Video)
Date: Nov. 12 Time: 12:30 p.m. (MST)
Location: Boulder, Colo., (Folsom Field -- 53,613)
Television Broadcast: Fox College Sports Pacific
TV Commentators: Steve Physioc (pxp), Yogi Roth (analyst), Desmond Purnell (sideline)
UA Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tucson
UA Radio Broadcasters: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 139, XM 196 (Colorado radio broadcast)
Arizona-Colorado Series History
All-Time Series: Colorado leads, 12-1
First Meeting: Nov. 26, 1931 (Colorado 27, Arizona 7 at Tucson)
Last Meeting: Sept. 27, 1986 (Arizona 24, Colorado 21 at Boulder)
Streak: Arizona won last meeting, Colorado won previous 12 games
Some Game Themes
A couple of teams whose performances depend on inner-core values and pride, with little else on the line... Teams with youth-dotted lineups in search of some momentum for the future... One side plugs along in the always challenging first-year of new system, while other side awaits the unknowns of a first-year coach next year ... Someone sheds a weight after this one as the Cats work for their first road victory of the year on their penultimate trip, while the Buffaloes look for a first-ever Pac-12 victory... Some low-rated team rushing squads (UA 112th, CU 114th) with individuals on both sides who can do it when helped... Quarterbacks Nick Foles and Tyler Hansen go to work against pass efficiency defenses rated near the bottom of the FBS heap... Each team has allowed more than 400 yards per game and about 35 points, so a defensive struggle might not be suggested... For Arizona, Foles sees if he can continue to fling the rock at a single season and career record clip... With bowl eligibility out of the equation, which squad will dig down deeper to find some purpose? On Arizona's sideline, the motivation for younger players is impressing a soon-to-be new coach on film, while the senior members conclude some outstanding careers both statistical and otherwise ... UA visits Boulder for the first time since 1986 when Larry Smith's Wildcats earned a narrow 24-21 victory...
Arizona accumulated 457 yards but most of it was between the 20s as the Cats dropped a Pac-12 Homecoming tilt to Utah, 34-31. UA ventured twice into the red zone and came away empty-handed. The first came on the opening drive when it reached the Utes 15 yard-line and subsequently tried a fake field goal that didn't work. The second came in the fourth quarter when a 1st-and-goal at the Utah 1 turned into a nightmare when Conroy Black stepped in front of a Nick Foles pass and took it back to midfield with UA trailing 27-14. The Utes cashed in on that drive and put the game away. Way earlier, a Greg Bird block of a UA punt at Arizona's 25 yard-line set Utah up for a six-yard scoring drive; and a first of the two interceptions off Foles inside UA's half of the field set up a 30-yard scoring drive. Utah, to its credit, made the most of 332 yards in total offense by protecting the ball (no turnovers to UA's three) and taking advantage of four red-zone trips with four scores. Another partially blocked punt by Bird hurt UA's field position and in the end the Cats played a lot of the game on their end of the field. Foles threw for 326 yards and two scores by David Douglas, who had a career-high 10 catches for a career-high 156 yards. Three UA backs totaled 137 yards led by sophomore Daniel Jenkins' best-ever 57 markers (6 carries) and a score of 29 yards as time wound down. The Cats had 28 first downs, 6.1 yards per play, a season-low (tying) three penalties and converted eight of 14 third downs, but special teams' play and three turnovers spoiled any chances at momentum. The victory was Utah's first-ever Pac-12 road win.
Arizona - Tim Kish (Otterbein '76), interim head coach (1-2)... This is Kish's first assignment as a head coach. The 36-year veteran of the college ranks has coached at Pac-12, Big Ten (Illinois, Northwestern), the Ohio prep ranks, Mid-American Conference schools (Ball State, Bowling Green State, Ohio) and a service academy (Army). He has been on Mike Stoops' Arizona staff as linebackers coach each of the latter's eight years in Tucson, the last two as co- or defensive coordinator. Kish played college ball as a DB at Otterbein, and later earned a master's degree from Bowling Green. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1976. He has been on the defensive side of the ball all but one year in his college career, the 1982 season as QBs coach at Ball State. He and his wife, Angela, have two daughters and a son. His eldest, Megan, is a student at Ohio State. Colorado - John Embree (Colorado '88), first year at CU (1-9) and first year overall. A four-year Colorado letterman tight end (1983-86), Embree began coaching as a colunteer under Bill McCartney at CU in 1991. He was a 10-year assistant at Colorado, a three-year assistant at UCLA, and coached four seasons in the NFL at Kansas City and Washington. His coaching background has been on both sides of the ball.
Coaching Faces in the Crowd
Colorado assistant head coach and QB mentor Rip Scherer was an assistant at Arizona under Dick Tomey in 1989 and 1990 after serving a year as recruiting coordinator for the Cats before becoming OC for those two seasons... CU's other coordinator, Greg Brown, was a co-coordinator for Mike Stoops at Arizona in 2010... CU wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy served as Arizona's running backs coach under John Mackovic in 2001... CU defensive line coach Mike Tuiasosopo was a fixture in the same capacity for Mike Stoops' first seven seasons in Tucson from 2004-10 before moving with Brown to join Embree's first staff... UA secondary coach Ryan Walters played four years at Colorado (2005-08) before following a mentor, Brown, to Tucson and serving as a defensive graduate assistant last season before assuming a full-time role last spring...
Youth Be Served
Arizona has trotted out 23 regular contributors who are either true freshmen (10) or redshirt freshmen (13) this season, including five different true freshmen that have started on UA's defense. The Cats have used DT Sani Fuimaono (started), LBs Rob Hankins and Hank Hobson (each with starts), DBs Tramayne Bondurant (three starts) and Cortez Johnson (mostly on special teams, one start) on defense. Other key true freshmen contributors include RB Ka'Deem Carey, DE Reggie Gilbert, TE Michael Cooper, WR Trevor Ermisch (special teams) and Josh Elias (snapper). Arizona also has played 13 redshirt freshmen -- OT Mickey Baucus (starter), OT Fabbians Ebelle (starter), DT Aiulua Fanene, safety/nickel back Jourdon Grandon (formation starts), defensive back Blake Brady (special teams) receiver Austin Hill (has started), OG Carter Lees (has started), DE Dan Pettinato, WR Tyler Slavin, OT Trent Spurgeon, DT Kirifi Taula (has started), and receiver Garic Wharton (KOR starts.).
Keep An Eye On...
- Juron Criner is one touchdown reception shy of tying Theopolis "T" Bell's school record of 30 scores set from 1972-74.
- Nick Foles is 284 passing yards shy of matching Willie Tuitama's (9,221 from 2005-08) school record for career passing yards.
- Foles is six passing touchdowns shy of matching Tuitama's school record of 67 career TDs.
- Foles needs 28 more pass attempts to tie Tuitama's school record of 1,276 in a career.
- Foles is 83 yards shy of equaling Tuitama's career record of 8,727 yards of total offense.
- Foles needs 67 passing yards to match Jason Johnson's 3,327 passing yards in 2002 for second-most in single season history. Tuitama holds the most with 3,683 in 2007.
- Foles' next passing touchdown will tie Tuitama's mark of 23 in 2008 for second-most in a single season. Tuitama has the single season record with 28 in 2007.
- Foles is two completions short of tying his own 2010 mark of 286 completions in a season, which is second-most. Tuitama had a school-record 327 in 2007.
- Foles is 13 pass attempts short of matching his own 2010 mark of 426 throws in a season, which is second-most. Tuitama had a school-record 524 in 2007.
- Keola Antolin (24) is one rushing touchdown short of tying Trung Canidate for No. 4 all-time in school history. Antolin is three TDs short of matching Ronald Veal's No. 3 mark of 27.
- Antolin needs 111 more rushing yards to surpass Jim Upchurch (1972-74) for No. 9 on the all-time rushing chart.
- David Douglas is four receptions short of matchin Jon Horton's 136 catches for the No. 6 spot on the all-time charts.
- Juron Criner is 12 points shy of tying for No. 9 on school's all-time scoring list.
- Trevin Wade is one interception shy of matching three players with 13 interceptions for the No. 7 spot on the school charts. - Wade needs two more pass breakups to match Chris McAlister and Kelvin Hunter for No. 9 in school history (27 career PBUs).
Taking a Long Drive
Arizona has made six scoring drives off opponent turnovers, with two of those instant-points on pick-six returns. The others -- a 1-play 18-yard drive, a 6-play 59-yard drive, an 8-play 63-yard drive, and a 5-play 59-yard drive took more time after the sudden change. It's clear the Cats haven't received many gifts. In fact, the average on the 40 Arizona scoring drives (not take-backs) this year is 8 plays and 67 yards. That's one reason UA is above 4,100 yards in total offense. When clicking, Arizona has put together solid sustained drives.
Arizona has played four of the top six pass defenses (yardage) in the Pac-12 and leads the league by more than 70 yards per game, 369.6. So it figures the Wildcats will get their passing yards. Turning the moving ability into points will be Arizona's quest in its final fourth of the year. The Cats have passed for more than 400 yards twice (NAU/USC) and 380 yards three times. The UA's 319 yards against UCLA came with 254 yards rushing and helped UA to its lone Pac-12 victory, so perhaps trying to run the ball against the league's 12th-rated rushing defense might be the plan. Too, the Buffaloes won't shy from trying the same thing against Arizona's 10th-rated rushing defense. Nick Folescould own a couple more Arizona passing records when 2011 is over, but he and the Cats would trade them for some Ws.
Staring at the Stats
With three games to play Arizona has more first downs (235) than it had in any year from 2000 to 2006 in the transition years of Dick Tomey/John Mackovic/Mike Stoops. Stoops' club last year set the school record with 308 and 23.6 per game. This year's team is averaging 26.1. The 17.2 passing first downs per game would blow away the record of 12.2 set by Willie Tuitama and the 2007 Wildcats... A couple of statistical-program anomalies, once fixed, put Arizona's team net punting at 34.1 yards per kick although the NCAA report this week shows a 37.4 figure. (Blocked punts at OSU and against Utah initially exited the stat program used by the NCAA as non-punts.) The altered figure drops UA from the reported 44th in net punting to around No. 100 and should be reflected in next week's numbers. Arizona has allowed opponents to record a net punting figure of 42.1 yards, which would rate No. 3 in the nation if it was a team's net kicking... Seven missed red zone opportunities (27-for-34) this year have cost Arizona a perfect-world 49 points -- which would give UA the same total score as opponents (313) and possibly computer to something other than a 2-7 record...Arizona is in danger of recording its lowest defensive sacks total in its Pac-10/12 history. Mike Stoops' 6-6 Arizona club checked out with 15, while the current squad has less than one per game, 8. On the other side of the ball the young offensive line has given up 16 which project to a solid overall total considering the unit entered the year with one career start across the five positions... After starting the year with 11 penalties in each of the first two games the Cats have had nine total in the last two games. UA's first five games saw 43 flags against the Wildcats and the last four have seen 23... Arizona's bowl streak (2008-10) saw it score 33, 19 and 20 rushing touchdowns, respectively. The 2011 club has 11 rushing TDs...
Senior running back Keola Antolin, No. 10 on UA's career chart with 2,279 yards, can move up a notch with another 110 yards. He has 449 yards on 91 attempts to match his career average of 4.9 yards per tote. He had 600-plus yards each of the last two seasons to lead the club and appears on track to do it for a third season, accomplished previously (since 1958) by only Hubert Oliver (1978-80), David Adams (1984-86), Ontiwaun Carter (1991-94), Trung Canidate (1997-99) and Mike Bell (2002-05). Bell was the only Arizona rusher ever to lead the team four years. Freshman Ka'Deem Carey (71-304, 4.3) and soph Daniel Jenkins (24-129, 5.4) are getting a piece of Antolin's pie of late.
At 2-7 the Wildcats need some focus and verve to wrap up the year in decent fashion. Why not? Winning out would mean 5-7, no worse than 11 other Arizona overall records in the 33 years of Pac-10 play. Losing out would match the program's low-water mark of 2-10 by the 2003 club coached by John Mackovic through 1-4 and Mike Hankwitz 1-6 down the stretch. Winning another game would place UA around Mike Stoops' first two teams (3-8) in 2004-05. Nothing's easy and games at 1-9 Colorado, at (current 6-3) Arizona State and a home finale against (current 8-2) Louisiana-Lafayette all pose their challenges. A team Arizona beat by 36 points is currently tied for the Pac-12 South lead so don't write anything down before it's over.
Just Kick It
In what's noted as "scientifically rigorous conferments," UA senior kicker John Bonano has receved attention from the College Football Performance Awards (collegefootballperformanceawards.com) for his 2011 kicking. He was Kickoff Specialist of the Week for his NAU work and honable mention for the Utah, Oregon and Oregon State games. He also earned honorable mention Placekicker Performer of the Week for his kicking at Washington. The organization notes it "eliminates the politics and biases that vitiate balloting-based awards" and uses some objectivity and science to determine which players increase the overall effectiveness of their teams. Bonano evidently is doing some good stuff.
Not to be lost amid the frustration and disappointment of last week's Homecoming loss to Utah was a career performance by senior wide receiver David Douglas. A native of McKinney, Texas, Douglas hauled in career highs for receptions (10) and yards (156). His two receiving touchdowns were the first two of the season, tied a single-game career high and boosted his career tally to nine scores. The 10 receptions moved Douglas up to No. 7 in school history with 132 career catches. He has 1,406 career receiving yards, which puts him within reach of catch Syndric Steptoe, whose 1,584 receiving yards rank No. 13 in program history on the all-time charts.
A bright spot in UA's 34-21 loss to Utah last week was the effort of sophomore running back Daniel Jenkins. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native led the Wildcats with 57 yards on the ground and his first career rushing touchdown. The 29-yard scoring scamper late in the fourth quarter was his first career score and the longest gain of his career. After projecting as the team's No. 2 running back on the fall camp depth chart, Jenkins suffered an ankle sprain that limited in the first few weeks of the season. His perseverance has paid of to this point as he has bounced back to gain 129 yards on 24 totes this season. His 5.4 yards per carry is tops on the team to date, and his steady improvement and speedy burst on the field is sure to earn him some more carries down the stretch.
Arizona has 17 players that have scored a point this season, which matches the totals of Oregon and Stanford for most in the Pac-12. A total of 13 Wildcats have scored a touchdown this season, which does not include quarterback Nick Foles who has four career rushing touchdowns from his sophomore and junior campaigns. The Wildcats' scoring leader is Juron Criner, who has eight receiving touchdowns for 48 points. Next on the list is Ka'Deem Carey who has four rushing scores and one receiving touchdown for 30 points. Then you find placekicker John Bonano, who in three games as the starter has yet to miss a kick (5-5 FG, 12-12 PAT) for 27 total points.
Two Good Ones
With the Wildcats officially not eligible for a bowl this year, it can definitively be stated that senior defensive backs Trevin Wade and Robert Golden are down to their final three games as Wildcats. Wade was an overlooked talent out of Round Rock, Texas, that earned a scholarship to play in the secondary under Mike and Mark Stoops despite being a "two-star" prospect by recruiting services and whatever skill, if any, they have in evaluation. Golden was a highly touted prospect out of Fresno, Calif., that played as a true freshman and has bounced from corner to safety to corner and back to safety in his days as a Wildcat. Each has started 35 games in the defensive backfield and both are now senior team captains. Wade has 12 interceptions in his career, which ties for third-most actively in the nation and ranks No. 10 all-time at the school. Golden has four interceptions and four forced fumbles to his credit. Both have two interception returns for touchdowns and over 200 INT return yards each. With three games left, they can add to those numbers with a few more big plays.
Arizona is still trying to get to 1,000 rushing yards on the season, which it could do with 148 more yards. In actuality, the club has surpassed that number with 1,090 yards gained, but 238 lost yards (many due to sacks) have kept the net number below the 1K figure. But the rushing quartet of Keola Antolin, Daniel Jenkins, Ka'Deem Carey and Taimi Tutogi (short yardage situations) has been pretty steady when called upon. The four runners - all offer different skill sets - have combined for a 4.6 yards per carry clip, which is pretty respectable. They have combined for all 11 rushing touchdowns for the team this season.
True freshman LB/DB Tra'Mayne Bondurant has made the most of his three consecutive starts as part of a hybrid/roving linebacker/nickelback back on Arizona's defense. Called upon to make his starting debut against UCLA three weeks ago, Bondurant has since recorded eight tackles in each contest, has one sack, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups. He has shown a nose for the football, isn't afraid of contact and is willing to listen and learn from his coaches and elder teammates. It is clear that he has a very bright future at Arizona whether his future be at linebacker, in the secondary or some combination as he is currently playing. The new coaching staff will be glad to have him for the coming years.
Banged Up Defense
It started in spring practices and has continued each week throughout the season: Arizona's defense cannot shake the injury bug. Starters Adam Hall (safety) and Jake Fischer (linebacker) tore ACLs in spring practices and are out for the season. Defensive tackle Willie Mobley, projected to be in the two-deep rotation at the interior spots, later tore an ACL in a non-football activity in May forcing his season to end before it ever began. Starting cornerback Jonathan McKnight tore an ACL right before the start of the season in August to end his season as well. Since then, Arizona has lost starts to starting defensive tackle Justin Washington (knee/foot), starting ends CJ Parish (ankle) and Mohammed Usman (ankle) and starting cornerback Shaquille Richardson (ankle). True freshman linebacker Hank Hobson, who started at USC, has also battled a knee injury in recent weeks. Corner Trevin Wade has battled injuries off and on as well, but has started every game. And of course there are the usual week-to-week nicks and dings that all players sustain. Added up, the Wildcats haven't had any luck putting a consistent lineup of players on defense all season long. In the end, some younger guys have gained some premature experience that may be a blessing in disguise for years to come under a new coaching regime.
Senior wide receiver Juron Criner has been etching his name into the Arizona career records for some time, but now he's quickly moving up some of the conference's all-time charts. Most notable are Criner's 29 receiving touchdowns, which put him No. 7 all-time in league history. One more scoring catch will give the 6-foot-4 target a share of No. 5 with Mario Bailey (Washington, 1988-91) and Mike Williams (USC, 2002-03). Two more grabs will equal Sean Dawkins (California, 1990-92) mark that ranks fourth, and three more will match Jason Hill (Washington State, 2003-06) and Ken Margerum (Stanford, 1977-80), who share second place. Dwayne Jarret (USC, 2004-06) is the league's all-time touchdown receptions leaders. Criner is challenging for position on the chart with Washington's Jermaine Kearse, who has 28 scoring touchdowns entering this week's action. Criner ranks No. 40 all-time with 2,510 receiving yards and No. 23 with 184 career receptions. On the national scale, Criner's 29 receiving touchdowns rank fifth-most for active players, trailing only Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles (45), Notre Dame's Michael Floyd (34), Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (34) and Texas A&M's Jeff Fuller (31).
UA defensive coordinator Tim Kish's fill-in work as a head coach (following the Oct. 10 dismissal of Mike Stoops) is unusual but not exclusively so. The acting job is a second for the Wildcats in the past decade. Then AD Jim Livengood removed John Mackovic from head coaching duties on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2003 after UA opened the season with a 1-4 record. He appointed defensive coordinator Mike Hankwitz to take over the program for the duration of the season. Hankwitz, now defensive coordinator at Northwestern, led UA to a 1-6 finish for the program's lowest mark in the modern era, 2-10 (.0167). (The 1957 club under Ed Doherty, 1-8-1, had a lower winning percentage (.015). A few months after Mackovic's ouster, Mike Stoops was appointed. A search by UA Athletics Director Greg Byrne for his successor is well under way.
According to Jeff Sagarin's NCAA Football ratings, Arizona's schedule ranks as the toughest in the Pac-12 and the fifth-toughest in the nation to date. While not an excuse by any measure, four of UA's six losses have come on the road, while the two home foes (Stanford, Oregon and Utah) are a combined 22-5 on the season. Added together, Arizona's seven losses have come against teams with a combined 46-13 record. Three of those teams are ranked in the top six spots of the AP Top 25 poll and BCS standings this week, with Stanford and Oklahoma State boasting undefeated records and national championship talk.
Spread the Wealth
How effectively has Nick Foles spread the ball around this season? Consider that 13 different targets have a reception. Nine players have at least 100 receiving yards, nine have a reception of 26 yards or longer and nine have a touchdown reception. Seven players have a reception of 40 yards or longer. Added together, the group averages 11.5 yards per reception. The headliner - Juron Criner - has 607 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The supporting cast includes seniors Gino Crump (46-442), David Douglas (46-530) and David Roberts (35-354). It also includes junior Dan Buckner (39-577), sophomore Richard Morrison (20-190) and redshirt freshman Austin Hill (19-276). The aerial attack also includes backfield targets Ka'Deem Carey (9-140), Keola Antolin (16-116) and Taimi Tutogi (5-51), who all have receiving touchdowns on the season. Those are some pretty talented players that Foles has to work with, and he includes them all.
Here's a quick look at where some notable Wildcats rank nationally among active career leaders in respective statistical categories.
- Keola Antolin's 465 career carries are 19th-most for active players
- Juron Criner's 184 career receptions are 17th-most for active players.
- Juron Criner's 2,510 career receiving yards are 17th-most for active players.
- Juron Criner's 29 career receiving touchdowns are 5th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 830 career pass completions are 6th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 8,937 passing yards are 8th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 61 passing touchdowns are 14th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 66.5% career completion percentage is 8th-best for active players
- Nick Foles' 279.3 career passing yards per game is 6th-best for active players
- Nick Foles' 25.9 career completions per game is 4th-best for active players
- Nick Foles' 1,248 career pass attempts is 8th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 773 pass completions are 7th-most for active players
- Nick Foles 39.0 pass attempts per game is 4th-most for active players
- Nick Foles' 8,644 total offense yards are 12th-most for active players
- Trevin Wade's 12 career interceptions are tied for third nationally for active players.
- Trevin Wade's 203 interception return yards are fifth-most for active players.
Arizona will conclude the Pac-12 portion of its schedule next Saturday, Nov. 19, with a trip to rival Arizona State for the annual Territorial Cup - the nation's oldest rivalry trophy. Game time and TV information has yet to be announced. The Wildcats conclude the season on Saturday, Nov. 26, against Louisiana-Lafayette at Arizona Stadium.