Nov. 5, 2012
Colorado (1-8, 1-5 Pac-12) at Arizona (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12)
Arizona Football Weekly Release (PDF)
Date: Nov. 10 Time: 11:30 a.m. (MST)
Location: Tucson, Ariz. (Arizona Stadium -- 51,811)
TV Broadcast: FX
TV Broadcasters: Justin Kutcher (pxp), Eric Crouch (color analyst), Darius Walker (sideline analyst)
UA Radio: Arizona Radio Network, 1290 AM Tucson (see page 4 of this release for complete list of affiliates)
UA Radio Broadcasters: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
UA Spanish Radio: 990 AM -- Francisco Romero (pxp), Marco Rincon (analyst)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 93, XM 193
Arizona -Colorado Series History
All-Time Series: Colorado leads, 13-1
First Meeting: Nov. 26, 1931 (Colorado 27, Arizona 7 at Tucson, Ariz.)
Last Meeting: Nov. 12, 2011 (Colorado 48, Arizona 29 at Boulder, Colo.)
Some Game Themes: Arizona returns home for the rise-and-shine variety of its annual homecoming game with an unusual late-morning kickoff at Arizona Stadium ... A redemption game for a pair of teams reeling from blowout losses a week ago ... The Wildcats stare adversity in the eyes for the first time in the Rich Rodriguez era after leaving Pasadena battered and bruised in what quickly became an uncompetitive game ... Can UA rekindle the resiliency and hard edge that it has shown in the previous eight games against one of the toughest schedules in the nation ... Will the Wildcats have Matt Scott, their fifth-year senior signal caller, running the controls of a high-powered, balanced offense itching to get back on track? Or will 1,000-yard rusher Ka'Deem Carey be called upon to carry an even bigger load in the ground game? On the flip side, Colorado tries to snap a five-game losing streak against the school that it broke a seven-game skid against a season ago in Boulder ... Can the Buffs, last in the Pac-12 in scoring offense, find some yards and points against a UA defense that has surrendered the second-most points in the league? In fact, UA and CU are giving up a combined 81 points per game to their opponents, so perhaps another shootout in the desert is in store? ... An intra-time zone battle in the Mountain Time Zone, where the Wildcats will play their final three games (also at Utah and home against Arizona State) ... Bowl eligibility at stake for Arizona as it enters the final quarter of the season with two of its last three regular season games at home.
Last Week: A battle of top-25 teams jockeying for position atop the Pac-12 South standings turned into a Bruin blowout as UCLA scored early and often as it racked up the fourth-most points ever scored against Arizona, including the most since 1949 (Michigan State, 75). The Bruins won the coin toss and elected to receive, mounting a purposeful nine-play, 75-yard drive that featured a pair of third down conversions. Johnathan Franklin capped the drive with a 37-yard burst for the opening score, and in the process became UCLA's all-time leading rusher. It was a sign of things to come for a well-balanced offense (308 rush, 303 pass), as the Bruins scored three touchdowns in the first quarter and three more in the second quarter to enjoy a 42-3 halftime advantage that had all but sealed the game. A UCLA field goal made it 45-3 early in the third quarter, before the Wildcats finally found paydirt on a 12-play drive topped off by Ka'Deem Carey's 13th rushing touchdown of the season. But on UA's next drive, quarterback Matt Scott was knocked out of the game after taking a shot to the head from a defenders knee, and any hope of a valiant comeback soon faded. The Bruins scored the game's final 21 points on an impressive performance from quarterback Brett Hundley, who completed 23-of-28 passed for three scores and no interceptions, while adding 16 yards and a score on the ground. Franklin finished with 162 yards and two scores as part of a 190-yard all-purpose day. The Bruins had control on both sides, forcing three turnovers on defense and sacking UA quarterbacks four times, including three after Scott left. The Wildcats struggled to a 3-for-14 clip on third downs, while the Bruins converted 8-for-15 such situations. All added up, it was 66-10 romp that left the Wildcats still a victory shy of bowl eligibility and moved UCLA to the front of the Pac-12 South chase.
2011 UA-Colorado Rewind: Arizona closed its road schedule in Boulder against Colorado and left with pie on its face after a 48-29 loss. The Buffaloes, struck first with an 80-yard drive keyed by a 39-yard pass from Tyler Hansen, and never trailed. UA responded with a drive for a John Bonano field goal, but CU again took the ball 80 yards to push the lead to 14-3. UA trimmed it to a three-point game with a 65-yard drive keyed by a Ka'Deem Carey 27-yard run, but two possessions later the Buffs took advantage of superior field position (UA 28 yard-line) when Wildcat punter Kyle Dugandzic was called for a knee down while picking up a low snap, and punched it in in three plays for 20-10 lead at the break. After two CU scoring drives in the third quarter, UA linebacker Tra'Mayne Bondurant's pick-six (29 yards) got UA back on the board, and another Nick Foles-driven drive made it look interesting in pulling UA to within a pari of scores, 34-23. But Colorado marched 80 yards in reply to put the game out of reach. The Cats picked up another score, and so did the Buffaloes, notching the most points they'd scored since 2007. CU running back Rodney Stewart finished with 181 yards and three TDs on 24 totes to spearhead a 273-yard rushing effort by the Buffaloes, who also picked up 213 passing yards from Hansen (and two scoring throws). CU was 7-for-7 on TDs in the red zone. Foles passed for 352 yards to become the Arizona all-time passing leader with 9,289 yards, but suffered three interceptions in some one-dimensionality by UA, which only rushed for 60 net yards.
The Coaches: Arizona - Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia '86), first year at Arizona (5-4) and 18th as a head coach overall (125-88-2). Rodriguez was introduced as the 30th head coach of the UA football program on Nov. 22, 2011. He carries Division I records of 5-4 at Arizona, 60-26 at West Virginia (2001-2007) and 15-22 at Michigan (2008-10). He began his head coaching career at Salem (W.Va.) University in 1988 and then coached at Glenville State (W.Va.) from 1990-96. Rodriguez's West Virginia teams were Big East Champions in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 while appearing in two BCS bowls, the 2005 Sugar Bowl with a victory over Georgia for an 11-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 shortly after Rodriguez had left for Michigan. Colorado - John Embree (Colorado '88), second year at CU (4-18) and second 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.
Shootouts In The Desert: Arizona Stadium has been home to some high-scoring affairs over recent seasons, and Rich Rodriguez and Co. have continued the trend with the Wildcats averaging 44.2 points per game in Tucson this season. That clip is more than a touchdown better than UA’s scoring average over the six seasons at home. Over the last 38 games at Arizona Stadium, UA has a 26-12 record due in large part to a 35.7 points per game scoring average. That’s right, UA is averaging over five touchdowns per game at Arizona Stadium, including three games this year when it has topped 50 points. Opponents are scoring 22.2 points per game in those games, combining for nearly 60 points per game at Arizona Stadium over six seasons.
Rise And Shine: The 11:30 a.m. local start will be the earliest for a home Arizona football game since Nov. 12, 1983, when the Wildcats upended UCLA, 27-24, before 42,640 fans in a game that officially kicked off at 10:33 a.m. at Arizona Stadium. The weekly UA press release from that game mentioned it was the school's first-ever regular-season national television game. The game was broadcast on CBS with Gary Bender and Pat Haden providing the on-air commentary. A couple years later, UA played a 10:30 a.m. road game at Colorado, a contest in which the Wildcats won, 24-21, on Sept. 27, 1986, in Boulder, Colo, for the school's only win in the all-time series. Perhaps Arizona's most memorable morning kickoff was the Fiesta Bowl played in on Jan. 1, 1994. The Wildcats defeated Miami, 29-0, that day at Sun Devil Stadium in a game that kicked off at 11:09 a.m in Tempe, Ariz.
Strength of Schedule: Jeff Sagarin ranks Arizona's schedules as the third-toughest in the nation to date, with six of the Wildcats nine games to date being against teams in his top 30 (2-4 record). Looking at the AP Poll this week, six of UA's opponents are currently ranked, while two others - Oklahoma State and Washington - have been ranked at some point this year. That means all eight of UA's FBS opponents have earned an AP Top-25 ranking at some point this season and all eight currently have a winning record. The combined record of UA's eight FBS opponents this season is 54-16.
Carey Breaks 1,000 Yards: Sophomore running back Ka'Deem Carey broke the 1,000-yard mark with 54 yards last week at UCLA to give him 1,015 yards on the season. In the process, Carey became the school's 13th player to gain 1,000 yards in a season, including just the third player to do so in the last 13 seasons. Carey is only the third sophomore on the list, joining Nic Grigsby (2008) and Art Luppino (1954) as the youngest (by class) on the list of 1,000-yard rushers. The last 1,000-yard rusher for the Wildcats was Grigsby, who racked up 1,153 markers in 2008.
Rodriguez's 1,000-Yard Rushers: Ka'Deem Carey became the first running back to post a 1,000-yard season under head coach Rich Rodriguez since Steve Slaton did so at West Virginia in 2007. At Michigan, only dual-threat quarterback Dennard Robinson (2010) mounted a 1,000-yard season during Rodriguez's three seasons. At West Virginia, Slaton had three-straight 1,000-yard campaigns, including in 2007, 2006 and 2005. His quarterback during those years, Pat White, also turned in 1,000-yard seasons in 2006 and 2007. Prior to the Slaton-White years, running backs Avon Cobourne (2001 and 2002) and Quincy Wilson (2003) had 1,000-yard seasons under Rodriguez. Added up, and with Carey included, that's 10 (ten) 1,000-yard rushers over 11 seasons as an FBS head coach for Rodriguez.
Hill Nears 1,000 Yards: Sophomore receiver Austin Hill is six yards shy of notching a 1,000-yard receiving season. Hill has a team-leading 59 receptions for 994 yards in nine games, a 110.4 yards per game clip that ranks No. 10 in the nation and third in the Pac-12. Already with the seventh-most yards in single-season school history, Hill would be the seventh 1,000-yard receiver all-time at the school and the fifth since 1999. Most recently, current Oakland Raider Juron Criner hauled in 1,233 yards in his junior season in 2010, the third-most in program history. A few years earlier, current Detroit Lion Mike Thomas tallied 1,038 yards in 2007. The second-most receiving yards in a season were collected by Bobby Wade (1,389 in 2002), who played eight seasons in the NFL. The school record is held by Dennis Northcutt (1,422 in 1999), who had a 10-year NFL career. That's some pretty good company for Hill, who is on track to become the next 1,000-yard receiver.
1,000-Yard Rusher/Receiver: Sophomore sensations Ka'Deem Carey (1,015 rushing yards) and Austin Hill (994 receiving yards) are poised to become just the second Wildcat rushing-receiving tandem to post 1,000-yard seasons in program history. The only duo to previously do so was the school's all-time leading rusher, Trung Canidate (1,603 yards in 1999) and the school's No. 2 all-time receiver, Dennis Northcutt (1,422 yards in 1999), in the 1999 season. Interestingly, both Canidate and Northcutt set and still hold the single-season school records for rushing/receiving yards in those respective campaigns. Not coincidentally, the 1999 squad averaged 471.9 total offense yards per game, which remains the school record. The 2012 Wildcats are currently averaging 520.7 yards per game.
Seeing Yellow: The last two Arizona football games have seen a combined 55 penalties for 504 yards. That's an astonishing 250-plus yards of penalties per game. The Wildcats have been flagged 29 times for 253 yards, a sharp increase from previous games (UA was flagged only 42 times in the first seven games). UA opponents, however, have been drawing flags all season long. The Wildcats lead all 124 FBS teams in opponents penalty yards, and it really isn't close. Officials have marched off 939 penalty yards against UA opponents this season, which is 110 yards more than the No. 2 team - Louisiana Tech (829). The No. 3 team for most opponent penalty yards is California (759), a full 180 yards fewer than UA's opponents. Wildcat foes have topped 100 penalty yards in five games this season, including three consecutive.
Made For TV? Note to out-of-town fans that can't make it to Arizona Stadium: set your DVRs for some extra time to record Wildcat games. A combination of no-huddle, breakneck offense and regular television coverage has made for much longer Arizona football games this season. The average FBS game this season has lasted 3:17, but the Wildcats fall on the long side of the average with a 3:32 clip for their nine games to date. One explanation for the lengthier games might be that the Wildcats play too fast. Huh? Consider that UA is averaging 86.4 offensive plays per game, which is about 15 more per game than the national average of 71.6. Looking back on past seasons, UA's games in 2010 lasted an average of 3:18 and the Cats ran 73.8 plays per game. Two seasons prior, Wildcat games lasted just 3:05 seemingly due to Arizona running just 70.5 plays per game.
Seeing Red: The Wildcats hope to continue their run of success in the red zone. After an 0-for-5 effort in the red zone in a loss at Oregon on Sept. 22, Arizona has scored on 24 of its last 26 (92 percent) forays into the scoring zone. Of those, 19 (73 percent) have resulted in touchdowns. Both numbers are improvements over the team's season average of 75.5 percent overall and 58.5 percent touchdowns in the red zone.
In A Rush: Arizona has rushed for 100 yards in eight of its first nine games in 2012, just a season removed when it did so in just five games last fall. The Wildcats have 1,715 yards on the ground, an average of 190.6 yards per game (No. 3 in Pac-12). That's a significant improvement over last season's 94.5 per-game tally, which finished ranked second-to-last in the Pac-12 and No. 114 nationally. In fact, this year's rushing total (1,715) has surpassed last year's 12-game total of 1,134 yards and the 2010 total of 1,712 yards. Running back Ka'Deem Carey leads the club with 1,015 yards, while quarterback Matt Scott ranks second with 369 yards. UA's leading rusher a year ago was senior Keola Antolin, who finished his final season at the school with 568 yards.
Total Offense: The Wildcats are averaging 520.7 yards per game, which would be a new school record if it held up, and their 4,686 total yards are already the seventh-most in a single season since Arizona joined the Pac-10/12 in 1978. Recent teams have posted 5,321 (2008), 4,999 (2009), 5,712 (2010) and 5,583 (2011). The 2010 squad boasts the school record for yards in a season (13 games), though the 1999 club that gained 5,663 yards in 12 games owns the current school record for yards per game (471.9).
Matt's The Man: Quarterback Matt Scott, who redshirted in 2011, is putting together a stellar senior season, if statistics are any indication. The Corona, Calif., native entered 2012 with five previous career starts and is now a 14-game starter (9-5 record) as a Wildcat. He possesses a complete repertoire of skills at the quarterback position, including ability to make all the throws on the field and hurt defenses with his legs.
Tracking Matt: Senior quarterback Matt Scott has emerged as one of the most prolific passers in the country in his first full season as a starter. Scott's 2,848 passing yards lead all Pac-12 passers and rank No. 8 in the nation. Added with more than 40 rushing yards per game, Scott is averaging 357.4 yards in total offense per game, which also leads the Pac-12 and ranks No. 4 nationally. Scott, who is averaging 11.8 yards per completion, has the seventh-most passing plays of 10-plus yards (113) of any quarterback in the country. He also has 40 passes of 20 or more yards, which ranks tied for sixth-most among FBS quarterbacks. It's all amounts to Scott challenging some single season and career top-10 offensive charts. Here's a look at a few:
- Scott has four of Arizona's top-10 all-time single-game total offense performances (485 at Stanford, 469 vs. USC, 461 vs. Toledo, and 432 vs. Oregon State)
- 3,217 total offense yards in 2012 already rank No. 3 in single-season history.
- Scott has moved into a tie for fourth-place in single-season history with 20 passing touchdowns. Four more will push him into the No. 2 spot. He needs eight more to tie the record.
- Scott (2,848 yards) ranks No. 6 on the school's single-season passing yardage list. He is 240 yards away from moving up to No. 5.
- Scott's 242 pass completions rank No. 6 in single-season history.
- Scott's 26 career passing touchdowns rank No. 10 in program history.
- Scott's 62.7 percent completion percentage would rank No. 6 in single-season history if it were to hold up through season's end.
Carey The Load: Sophomore running back Ka'Deem Carey, a local product out of Canyon del Oro High School, has emerged as UA's featured back and one of the most underrated players in the Pac-12 through the first nine games of the season. On the Maxwell Award Watch List earlier this year, Carey ranks third in the Pac-12 with 112.8 rushing yards per game and checks in fourth in all-purpose yardage (142.0 ypg). The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has 14 total scores (13 rushing, one receiving) to rank second among all Pac-12 players and rank tied for 23rd-most nationally in scoring. Carey has topped 100 yards rushing six times this season alone, just a year after the Wildcats broke 100 yards as a team only five times in 12 contests in 2011.
More Ka'Deem: While Carey doesn't have the look of a power back, he's a tough, physical inside runner that picks up extra yards after contact. He has a 5.1 yards per carry average, boosted by 27 totes of 10 or more yards, tied for 17th-most nationally. Carey also is a threat in the passing game, where he averages 8.8 yards per reception and ranks third on the club with 28 catches for 247 yards. His 1,262 yards from scrimmage are 12th-most individually among all FBS players.
Ka'Deem In Perspective: How good of a season is Ka'Deem Carey putting together? Well, a look at the Pac-12 stats won't do him justice. Carey currently ranks third in the conference with 1,015 rushing yards, trailing some well-known talents like UCLA's Jonathan Franklin (1,204) and Oregon's Kenjon Barner (1,295). However, Carey's rushing total would lead all rushers in four other BCS conferences, including the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and SEC.
Big Play Austin: Sophomore receiver Austin Hill is turning in a breakout campaign, highlighted by a career day against No. 10 USC on Oct. 27 in which he racked up a career-best 259, the second-highest total in UA single-game history. On 10 grabs, he set a UA single-game mark for yards per reception (25.9) and boasts a season average of 16.8 yards per catch. That clip is the fourth-highest for any FBS receiver with at least 50 receptions to date. In the USC game alone, Hill had five receptions of 20-plus yards, including a career-long 60-yarder to continue a trend of making big plays all season long. In fact, Hill ranks tied for No. 2 in the nation in receptions of 20-plus yards (18) and third for 30-plus yards (11). He averages 110.4 yards per game, good enough for the No. 3 spot in the Pac-12 and No. 10 nationally.
Dan's The Man: In the receiving jamboree, senior Dan Buckner has been overshadowed by youngster Austin Hill, but the upperclassman has turned in a strong campaign. Buckner is second on the team in several receiving categories, including receptions (54), yards (678) and touchdowns (3). He averages 12.6 yards per grab - also second-best on the squad. With a pair of 100-yard receiving games, Buckner joins Hill (four 100-yard games) as one of three Pac-12 duos with multiple 100-yard games. Buckner is tied for No. 15 nationally with 33 receptions of 10-plus yards. He has 10 over 20 yards.
Chain Gang: Arizona, ranks No. 2 among FBS teams with 266 first downs (29.6 per game), which ranks as the fourth-most in single-season school history. Tough to think a squad could average nearly 30 per game, but that clip over the next two games would actually break the single-season school record of 309 first downs set last season. UA has three regular season games left, plus a potential bowl. Should be a record-breaking season from the first downs standpoint.
1,000-Yard Career: Quarterback Matt Scott sits at 1,001 career rushing yards, pushing him past a career benchmark not often achieved at the position (should be noted a QB risks losing yardage due to sacks in future games). UA's all-time leader for quarterback rushing is Ronnie Veal, who collected 1,419 yards and 27 touchdowns from 1987-90. Scott recently moved past Jim Krohn's 987 yards from 1976-79.
Youth Movement: Arizona has played 40 freshmen or sophomores this season, comprising more than half of the nearly 75 Wildcats to see the field. The Wildcats have played 10 true freshmen, the fourth-most of any Pac-12 school and among the top-20 nationally (research courtesy of David Plati at Colorado). With redshirts mixed in, UA has played more than 20 freshmen, most on defense. In fact, the youth movement is most prominent on the defensive side of the ball, where 14 of the 22 players listed on the regular two-deep are freshmen or sophomores. From that group, six of UA's top eight tacklers are freshmen or sophomores, led by safeties Jourdon Grandon (54), Jared Tevis (49) and Tra'Mayne Bondurant (57). Bondurant leads the team with 11.5 tackles for loss.
Big Play Bondurant: Perhaps one of the most underrated defenders in the Pac-12 is "Spur" safety Tra'Mayne Bondurant. The true sophomore has a nose for the football and has proven to be a pest for opposing teams. The Vallejo, Calif., native is third on the team with 57 total tackles, but he leads all players and ranks ninth in the Pac-12 with 11.5 tackles for loss. The 11.5 stops behind the line surpass UA's season leader from a year ago, since-departed linebacker Derek Earls, who had 7.0 TFLs. Bondurant, who has five passes broken up and a forced fumble this season, intercepted his first pass of the season last month against Washington, returning it 43 yards to help set up Arizona's second touchdown.
A Budding Star: Converted safety Marquis Flowers continues to develop as a linebacker, a position he was switched to about a week before the start of the season. At 6-foot-3, 221 pounds, Flowers is Arizona's biggest linebacker and ranks as team's leader with 4.5 sacks. Flowers is also second on the squad with 9.5 tackles for loss and second with 68 total tackles. He has added two interceptions, a pair of pass breakups and has forced two fumbles. He has accounted for four takeaways in the last three games (forced fumble vs. Washington and two INTs and forced fumble vs. USC). Flowers was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week last week for his effort against USC on Oct. 27.
Man In The Middle: Junior Jake Fischer has been a stalwart middle linebacker in Arizona's new 3-3-5 defensive scheme implemented this season by defense coordinator Jeff Casteel. Fischer, who missed the 2011 season with an ACL injury, ranks No. 2 among Pac-12 players and No. 51 nationally with 8.9 tackles per game (80 total). That's just a handful of tackles shy of 10 per game for the slightly undersized 6-foot, 215-pounder. Don't tell that to Fischer, though, who has shown a nose for the ball early in the season. Fischer has 5.5 tackles for loss, two pass breakups, two forced fumbles and a pair of fumble recoveries. He was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following a career-high 13-tackle season debut against Toledo on Sept. 1.
Kickin' Kyle: Senior punter Kyle Dugandzic is putting together a strong season, even if he is averaging less than four punts per game. Dugandzic's overall average is a hefty 43.6 yards per boot, with six 50-plus yarders. He ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in punting average (43.6), while UA ranks No. 5 in the conference and No. 26 nationally in net punting (39.5). He was named the Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week (Oct. 1) in a losing cause after a sensational performance against Oregon State that included a career-long 70-yard boomer and four of five total punts landing inside the 20-yard line. He again placed four punts inside the 20-yardline against USC two weeks ago. In that respect, Dugandzic has placed 17 of his 38 punts inside the 20-yard line and has just one touchback.
Building for the Future: The Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, scheduled to open in August 2013, marks a dynamic shift in the Arizona football culture as it will become the centerpiece of the program on the north end of Arizona Stadium. Supported by private funds, including significant leadership gifts from David and Edith Lowell and from Jeff and Sharon Stevens, the $72.3 million project will provide the Wildcats with one of the premier football facilities in the nation. The facility will be a four-floor operations center with strength training, sports-medicine, coaches offices, locker rooms, meeting rooms, equipment and facility service areas. The structure will enclose the north end of the stadium and create a full bowl with nearly 4,000 premium spectator seats, including a donor lounge with outdoor seating. Additionally, stairways and elevator towers for the concourse will connect the structure to the existing east and west stadium sections. Restrooms, amenity areas and a cafeteria will also serve the campus community. Arizona Stadium has an official capacity of 51,811 for this season, but once work is completed on the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, the venue will near the some 57,000 seats it has held in recent years.
Up Next: Arizona hits the road for its final regular season game but stays in the Mountain Standard Time zone for a Pac-12 South matchup against Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday, Nov. 17. Kickoff time and television has yet to be announced by the Pac-12 Conference and its television partners.