Oct. 18, 2010
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - Arizona freshman cornerback Shaquille Richardson has been named the Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Week, the league office announced on Monday.
Richardson, a native of Carson, Calif., made his first career start for the Wildcats in their 24-7 victory over Washington State last Saturday. Richardson headlined a solid defensive effort as he intercepted two passes, broke up three others and registered seven tackles - all solo stops.
The 6-foot-2, 180-pound true freshman filled in place of Trevin Wade, who sat out the game with an injury. Richardson made his impact early in the game, picking off a Jeff Tuel pass on the Cougars' opening possession. The intercepted quickly turned the momentum of the game away from Cougars, who recovered an onsides kick to open the game.
In the fourth quarter, Richardson atoned for a gamble he took on an 83-yard pass play by WSU. Richardson tried to make a play on the long pass, but was unable to break up the throw that was controlled by wide receiver Marquess Wilson. Richardson stuck with the play and tracked down Wilson, preventing a score. A few plays later, Richardson intercepted his second pass of the game, thwarting the WSU scoring chance.
The Wildcats held the Cougars to a season-low seven points in the game, the fourth time this year UA's defense held an opponent to single digits on the scoreboard. Through six games, the Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in total defense (284, 3 ypg, No. 10 nationally), scoring defense (13.3 ppg, No. 7 nationally) and rushing defense (89.7 ypg, No. 8 nationally). The Cats are also the league's leader in sacks (3.5 per game, No. 3 nationally) and tackles for loss (8.0 per game, No. 9 nationally).
Richardson became the first true freshman defensive player to intercept two passes in his first collegiate start since Antoine Cason did so against Northern Arizona to open the 2004 season. Wade intercepted a pair of passes as a reserve in his redshirt freshman season against Idaho to open the 2008 campaign.
Earlier this year, quarterback Nick Foles was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week and wide receiver Travis Cobb was named the Pac-10 Special Teams player of the week after both turned in game-changing performances against Iowa on Sept. 18.
No. 15 Arizona hosts the Washington Huskies this Saturday. The game will kick off at 7:15 p.m. (MST/PDT) and will be broadcast on ESPN.