Nov. 7, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Travis Cobb returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to set the tone for No. 21 Arizona and the Wildcats went on to rout Washington State 48-7 on Saturday.
The Wildcats scored the first seven times they had the ball.
Arizona led 34-0 at the half, then William "Bug" Wright returned a punt 86 yards for a score the first time the Wildcats touched it in the third quarter.
Arizona (6-2, 4-1 Pac-10) stayed in the thick of the Pac-10 race. The Wildcats are the only team in the conference never to play in the Rose Bowl.
Washington State (1-8, 0-6) lost its starting quarterback, freshman Jeff Tuel, when he sprained his right knee in the second quarter.
Marshall Lobbestael replaced Tuel and finished 7 of 11 for 103 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars avoided a shutout when Jared Karstetter made a one-handed grab of Lobbestael's pass on a 64-yard touchdown play with 6:23 to play.
Nick Foles threw for 151 yards and a touchdown in limited playing time for Arizona. Matt Scott, the Wildcats' starting quarterback the first three games of the season, rushed for 83 yards in nine attempts and threw for another 26 yards.
Arizona rolled up 471 yards, 294 on the ground. Washington State managed 185 yards - 64 on one play and just 59 rushing.
The Wildcats, in the national rankings for the first time since 2000, were up 14-0 with the game barely three minutes old.
Cobb, a 5-foor-11 transfer, took the opening kick and burst up the left side of the field, racing to the end zone for Arizona's first kickoff return for a touchdown since 1998.
After Washington State went three-and-out, Foles quickly drove Arizona to another score, lofting a 28-yard pass to Terrell Turner to make it 14-0 11:43 left in the first quarter.
Keola Antolin's 19-yard run and a pass interference penalty against Washington State's Brandon Jones set up Arizona's third score. Antolin, starting in place of injured Nic Grigsby, dived over the line from a yard out to make it 21-0 with 7:21 still left in the opening quarter.
The Wildcats led 24-0 after one quarter, then made it 31-0 after Tuel fumbled on a sack by D'Aundre Reed and Arizona's Lolomana Mikaele recovered at the WSU 14. Foles completed a pair of short passes, then Nick Booth scored on a 1-yard run. Booth had 84 yards in 18 carries.
The Cougars then mounted their only drive of the first half, moving from their own 9 to the Arizona 9. A holding penalty moved Washington State back to the 19, then Tuel was hit hard by Xavier Kelley. The WSU quarterback fumbled and Arizona's Ricky Elmore recovered.
Tuel was hurt on the play. He was able to walk off the field but did not return.
Delashaun Dean talks about how UA's fate rests in its own hands
Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops "For the most part, we played a very complete game today. It was great to see special teams getting those two touchdowns. This was a very positive game for us, especially going into Cal next week."
"Offense today was a little weird. I didn't see us get a great rhythm today. We didn't have to throw a lot, and we did well on third downs. We did a good job playing a large variety of players."
"It was good to see us come out strong after a week off. There's always a chance to get off kilter after a bye, and I'm glad that we were able keep our rhythm. We're also getting healthier, and we're getting our guys back. We were hit pretty badly with the flu and with injuries, and it's great to see all our guys coming back."
"Defense continued to keep up the pressure, and it was obvious that Washington State's quarterback never really got comfortable."
"It was too bad that we let them get that touchdown, but they made a good play, and it happens sometimes."
"Today really showed the improvement we've made and the depth that our program has. I'm most proud of how we took the field today. This week in practice, we focused on the details that win you football games. We came out and got off to a fast start, which we also talked about, and we did good things with it."
"Six wins puts us in a good position with going into Cal next week. From here on out, each win puts us in a different category, and our goal right now is to go as far as possible. Our players definitely know what is at stake right now, but we can't get too far ahead. Right now we need to focus on next week's game, and then it will all fall into place."
Arizona Player Quotes
Ricky Elmore On having depth: "It was good to see we have some depth. We have some guys for the future."
On the next games: "We just have to go week by week. We can not overlook anybody. We have to come Monday ready to practice. Every win moves us a little bit closer to where we want to be. It will be fun to see how these next four games go."
"We're not looking at any teams less than others. We just prepare for each team and respect them. We just have to stay grounded and play excited. We still have four really good teams to play."
On the sacks: "You get excited when you get a lot of sacks. We are excited at the opportunities that lie ahead. We came out and put a lot of pressure on them."
Travis Cobb On the 95-yard touchdown run: "It was a lot different than high school. It was my first touchdown here, so it's really exciting. I think it was me and the kicker. I would have been so mad if I would have been tackled by the kicker. I cut to the left and it was a touchdown."
On the special teams today: "I think it was a special day. I was happy about how we played. It was a team effort. We got the game ball."
Xavier Kelley "It was a lot of fun. Guys were in the right positions to make plays. Some of the guys that don't get to play much made plays. It's a great feeling for us to be on the top it's a great reward for us."
On the next four games: "We are still playing for the top spot. We have to stay focused and prepare for the best and the worst."
Delashaun Dean On team feelings after the game: "The win feels great. We are where we want to be at this point, but we have to continue to focus and play hard against Cal next week."
On past years playing against team like that "You know, we struggled years ago like Washington State but we took advantage of our opportunity and made the best of what we have. From here on out we just need to stay even keeled."
On pressure relief from winning this game "There really is no pressure at this point, we really control our own destiny and take it one game at a time. We aren't satisfied with the win. If anything, it makes us hungrier."
Matt Scott On playing today "It felt great to be back out there and help the team. I've learned a lot more and grown a lot since week three, I've got a lot better quarterback skills now. I was more comfortable being out there and the big lead helped me to feel more comfortable too."
On his place in the future "I have no idea at this point, hopefully I can do more than one play if the coaches see something this game then I can continue to get out there and help the team."
On frustrations of not starting "Its really frustrating not starting, in high school you're used to being the big guy and out here you no longer can be the big guy. It's really hard to accept it, but everyone has to deal with it at some point in life."
Nick Foles On excitement of bowl eligibility "It's really exciting for the program and the fans. For now the team needs to focus though and take it one game at a time."
On idea of controlling their own destiny "It's as simple as that; we control our own destiny. We just need to take it one game at a time and stay focused."
On watching from the sidelines "It was great - I mean if we're playing a team like this and have that big of a lead it's great to see other people get out there. Those guys do a lot of work during the week, and I love to see them get some action."