Oct. 22, 2001
- The Arizona Wildcats (3-4, 0-4 in the Pacific-10 Conference), play host to the Southern California Trojans (2-5, 1-3) in a Pacific-10 Conference game at 3:38 p.m. (MST/PDT) Saturday, Oct. 27, in 56,002-seat Arizona Stadium. The game will be produced by Fox Sports Net for syndication on stations in 15 cities including KTTU-18 in Tucson, with Barry Tompkins, Warren Moon and John Jackson describing the play. A crowd of about 50,000 is expected. It's Family Weekend on campus.
Some Game Themes
- Two teams hungry for pride and victory... UA continues its quest for a league win, last accomplished nine conference games back on Oct. 14, 2000... Each team lost four successive games this year, and UA's streak is current... Common opponents (Oregon and Washington) each beat both clubs, so who knows?... USC was 29th in the preseason AP poll and another loss would give it a second consecutive losing season, something that hasn't happened since 1960-61...
-- Southern California leads the series 19-6, the best winning percentage (.760) among UA's league opponents, but Arizona has a two-game winning streak including last year's 31-15 victory in the L.A. Coliseum. UA has won five of the last nine games following a USC six-game winning streak from 1982-89. A year ago the Cats moved to 4-1 with a defensive effort that held USC to 10 net yards rushing. Cornerback Michael Jolivette had two interceptions and tailback Clarence Farmer notched 134 rushing yards including an 80-yard TD run. The Trojans' last victory in the series came in Los Angeles, 14-7, in 1996.
-- Arizona: John Mackovic (Wake Forest '65), first year at UA (3-4) and 14th season as a collegiate head coach (88-68-3). He was the first new UA coach to open 3-0 since Jim Young did so in 1973, when Mackovic was UA's offensive coordinator. He is 1-0 vs. USC -- Mackovic's 1989 Illinois team beat Larry Smith's Trojans, 14-13, in Los Angeles. Southern California: Pete Carroll (Pacific '73), first year at USC (2-5, 1-3) and first year as a head collegiate coach.
-- Arizona almost did what it needed most -- win -- but in the effort at least proved it had a collective spirit in a 31-28 loss at No. 12 Washington. The sting of a fourth consecutive defeat was somewhat ameliorated by the squad putting some wild back into the Cats. UA, trailing since the first quarter, took a 28-21 lead with five minutes left after cornerback Jermaine Chatman's second interception gave it stellar field position. But the Huskies popped a 74-yard kickoff return to help answer with a field goal within 70 seconds, then held UA on a three-and-out. A short punt gave UW possession near mid field and it drove 55 yards for the winning TD with 13 ticks left on the clock. As it had in three previous games, UA's defense gave up at least 14 first-quarter points, but this time the Cats responded, with quarterback Jason Johnson leading UA on answering drives culminating in scoring throws of 4 and 12 yards to Bobby Wade and Andrae Thurman. A hard hit knocked Johnson out of the game with a concussion at the end of the opening period and UA's offensive fortunes were left in the hands of redshirt freshman John Rattay. A succession of big plays (78- and 75-yard scoring throws from Cody Pickett) helped UW build its edge. Rattay responded with overall modest figures but tied the score with his 15-yard run on the first play after Johnny Jackson picked up a fumbled punt and returned it 10 yards in the third period. Shortly afterward, Jackson left the game with a neck injury and was transported to a local hospital for precautionary purposes. Without yet another injured defensive end, the Cats mustered the verve to hold UW on its next five possessions and take the lead. It disappeared, but not Arizona's feeling that it should have won. The UA did give up 455 passing yards, the fourth-most in school history, though it held UW's running game largely in check. UA tailback Clarence Farmer notched his third 100-yard game of the year (21-147) with a 7.0 average. UA intercepted four Pickett passes and recovered a fumble to finish with a 5-2 edge in turnovers. Rattay suffered a slight concussion on the last play of the game.
Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic
UA's 26th head coach, John Mackovic (Wake Forest '65) assumed leadership in December 2000 and quickly demonstrated his intent to take Arizona football in a new direction. He assembled a quality staff, completed a first recruiting class, installed a new offense in spring ball, then came out in the fall and won his first three games. He snapped a school five-game losing streak and became the first new Arizona head coach to open 3-0 since Jim Young did so in 1973 when Mackovic was an offensive coordinator on the staff. (Young went on to a 5-0 opening mark, UA's best for a new head coach.)
The Wildcats' 3-0 non-conference record in 2001 give him one of only three undefeated non-conference seasons Arizona has enjoyed in the past 11 years.
Mackovic, 58, carries a 13-year collegiate record of 88-68-3. He took three of his last four teams (University of Texas) to bowl games and has led nine teams to winning records with eight bowl trips overall as a head coach. In 32 years of coaching he has held three college head coaching positions and one top National Football League spot (Kansas City, 1983-86, 30-34-0 record), served as offensive coordinator at three different Division I-A schools and worked as an assistant under former Dallas Cowboys' legend Tom Landry. He has Arizona bloodlines as Young's four-year offensive coordinator from 1973-76, heydays for prolific Western Athletic Conference offensive displays.
Cats Break Streak, Hope to Break Another
John Mackovic helped UA end an ignominious streak in the opener, snapping a five-game losing skein with the 23-10 victory at San Diego State. The next obstacle is a streak of conference woe, as he seeks his first Pacific-10 Conference victory and an end to a nine-game league losing streak. Four came on the road. Arizona's last conference victory came against Washington State last Oct. 14. The streak and the home league-loss streak (5) are school low-water marks. Four of the losses were by four points or less and UA had chances in several games, including last week's 3-point loss at Washington.
Southern California and Match-up Notes...
University of Southern California, Los Angeles: Enrollment 28,800... Colors - Cardinal and Gold... Conference - Pac-10... In 2000: 5-7 USC had a 10-point lead in the second quarter but eventually fell to Notre Dame, 27-16, in South Bend last week. USC had 60 rushing yards, without injured Sultan McCullough... McCullough suffered an abdominal strain against ASU and did not play at Notre Dame. He had 1,163 rushing yards last year, the most at USC since 1990. This year he's averaging 68 yards per game and 3.6 per tote... Senior tailback Sunny Byrd (2000 redshirt after junior college transfer) got the start in McCullough's place at South Bend, carrying 22 times for 62 yards... The four USC losses prior to the game against the Irish came by a combined 14 points, and three losses were to teams ranked in the Top 25 at the time... Trojan QB Carson Palmer currently is ranked No. 22 nationally in total offense, at 258.4 yards per game. The junior's 526 career completions and 6,897 passing yards are among the Trojans' all-time top three. His 419 total offense yardage at Oregon this year was a school record... Rob Johnson's career pass completions total of 676 is the school mark and within Palmer's reach... Antuan Simmons (8 career picks) moved to safety after three years as a starting corner. He's a comeback story after redshirting 2000 following back surgery and removal of an abdominal tumor... Junior wide receiver Kareem Kelly (139 rec, 2,238 yds) is on pace to challenge Johnny Morton's USC career marks of 201 catches and 3,201 yards. He has a reception in all 30 games he's played for USC, and has an American collegiate and junior world record (5.67) in the 50-meter dash... Seven Trojans defensive backs have interceptions and tackle Bernard Riley has an eighth. (UA's nine interceptions are spread among five players led by CB Michael Jolivette's three and two each by CB Jermaine Chatman and FS Jarvie Worcester. LB Ray Wells and DE Johnny Jackson have the others)... Junior reserve TE Doyal Butler is a Tucsonan who prepped at Sabino High School. TE starter Kori Dickerson (13) and backup Alex Holmes (10) have combined for 23 catches and a TD apiece... Senior DE Lonnie Ford has three sacks and four forced fumbles, both team highs...
In the Polls
The Wildcats received votes in the Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 polls but none since. (Arizona's most recent ranking was No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today and No. 24 in the AP polls with a 5-2 record a year ago, but dropped out on Oct. 29 at 5-3.) USC was No. 28 in both polls in Week 3 this year.
Injury Report for Southern California Game
DE Johnny Jackson (neck sprain at Washington) is doubtful. OL Reggie Sampay (shoulder at UW) is questionable. QBs Jason Johnson and John Rattay suffered concussions at UW and are probable. OLB Joe Siofele (hand) had surgery Oct. 10 and is out. Special teams player Mike LaCoss (knee at Washington) is out for the year. Backup LB Scott McKee (elbow, missed OSU/UW trips) is questionable. UA has had five of its top defensive ends injured this year -- Eli Wnek (foot), Alex Luna (knee), Jackson (neck), Austin Uku (knee) and Fata Avegalio (elbow/knee), plus worked around injuries to Siofele, LB Shelton Ross (knee), LB Ray Wells (shoulder), DT Anthony Thomas (foot) and DT Keoni Fraser (concussion). The common thread: defensive players. Lost Potential Starts due to Injury: 10 (DE Eli Wnek-7, Keoni Fraser-1, Joe Siofele-2).
Arizona Game Captains
Here are the game captains to date: San Diego State: SS Brandon Nash, WR Malosi Leonard, SS Zaharius Johnson, C Steven Grace, DE Eli Wnek. Idaho: FB Mike Detwiler, LB Lance Briggs, FS Jarvie Worcester, WR Lance Relford, DE Alex Luna. UNLV: TE Peter Hansen, CB Jermaine Chatman, DT Anthony Thomas, OT Makoa Freitas, OG Kevin Barry. WSU: WR Bobby Wade, SS Brandon Nash, DE Austin Uku, C Steven Grace, PK Sean Keel. Oregon: DE Johnny Jackson, ILB Lance Briggs, FS Clay Hardt, FB Mike Detwiler, C Steven Grace. Oregon State: Brandon Nash, Jarvie Worcester, Lance Briggs and Malosi Leonard. Washington: Jason Johnson, Brandon Nash, Anthony Thomas and Steven Grace. The Wildcats will select permanent captains following the season.
The Cats have surrendered 180 points in their four Pac-10 games, the most of any stretch in UA's conference affiliation which began in 1978. The school's worst stretch ever came at the conclusion of the 1949 season (Border Conference) with successive losses of 34-7 to Arizona State. 75-0 to Michigan State and 46-0 to Kansas. The 63 points scored by Oregon this year is the most surrendered by UA in a Pac-10 game, eclipsing the 58 put up by Washington in 1997 (a 58-28 Husky victory). Arizona's 1991 team gave up an average of 32.8 points per game to post the highest single-season opponents' mark. At this point UA is allowing 34.3 points per game. The good news is the trend is downward from the Oregon game.
First and Fourth Quarters
UA would like to put some clamps on opponents' scoring in the first and fourth quarters -- 69 percent of the opposition's 240 points have come right away (94 points in the opening stanza) and at gut-check time (73 in the 4th period). In between, UA settles down. The Cats have a 52-42 edge in the second quarter and are matched even at 31-31 in the third.
Wade Passes Century Mark
Junior wide receiver Bobby Wade caught six balls for 74 yards and a score at Washington. He's the team leader with 30 receptions and 392 yards, has 105 career receptions for 1,472 yards, putting him at No. 8 on the UA career chart for catches. He has caught a pass in 27 consecutive games, No. 15 nationally. He needs 61 yards to pass Jeremy McDaniel (1,532 from 1996-98) into No. 10 on the career yardage list.
Plowing the Field
UA gave notice to the running game at Seattle, rushing a season-high 44 times and netting 199 yards. Sophomore halfback Clarence Farmer notched his sixth 100-yard rushing game against Washington with 21 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown run of 16 yards to give UA a fourth-quarter lead. He also had two receptions for eight yards. The yardage boosted his national ranking to No. 27 in Division I-A with a per-game mark of 98.14 yards. Farmer's 5.7 yards per carry is an outstanding mark considering much of his work begins inside. He broke a run of 35 yards. at UW. He ripped off runs of 78, 14, 15, 12 and 25 yards en route to a career-high 158 rushing yards(15 carries) against Oregon, then had to work diligently (19-55) for tougher yards in more rugged going against Oregon State. His 78-yard run against the Ducks was two shy of his career best, an 80-yard jaunt at USC last year. His other 100-yard game this year came vs. Idaho (18-118) and he has six in his 18-game career. He also had 90 (SDSU) and 84 (WSU) yards in two other 2001 games. Some serious score deficits in Pac-10 games reduced UA's intent to use patience in the running game, but with the chances offered Farmer is clearly one of the most hard-working Wildcats on the field. Junior halfback Leo Mills ran well early against the Huskies, totaling 56 yards on 12 rushes and he was a key with 30 yards on the Cats' first scoring drive. NOTES... The Cats averaged 7.2 yards per running play against Oregon, their season best, and 4.5 per carry against Washington. Against the Beavers it was 1.53 per pop. In the season opener at San Diego State the figure was a season-low 1.48 yards per tote.
Bragging about Briggs
Junior inside linebacker Lance Briggs and 10 tackles last week and to no surprise leads UA with 69 tackles. That's one shy of his usual average of 10.0 per game. He also leads the team with 10 tackles for loss, plus has 2.5 sacks, has forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He had eight tackles against the Beavers to give him 182 in his career, an average of 10.1 per game since switching from true-freshman fullback to the starting "mike" linebacker role last year. He's playing these days with a cast (and requisite padding) on his left hand, which while making some gripping more difficult has not proven to affect his ability to wrap the ball carrier(s).
Michael Makes His Picks
Sophomore cornerback Michael Jolivette intercepted his third pass of the year two weeks ago and is one shy of the Top 25 nationally. He ranks tied for 41st at .43 interceptions per game. But his mates did the trick at Washington, intercepting four passes -- two by CB Jermaine Chatman and one each by LB Ray Wells and DE Johnny Jackson. Plus, Arizona knocked down a season-high 11 passes against Washington led by Jolivette's four and three by Chatman. Jolivette up 12 passes this year and has 26 PBUs in his career, tied for eighth (with James DeBow, 1985-88) on of the UA's Top 10 chart. That's in less than two season. Jolivette has a chance at former All-American safety Chuck Cecil's UA record of 38 and the top mark by a cornerback, 35 by Kelly Malveaux. Michael's eight career picks put him four shy of that UA Top-10 chart.
One common thread in Arizona's Pac-10 games is its average time of possession margin of -08:15. Washington State skewed the figure dramatically by holding the ball 14 more minutes than did Arizona. The Ducks had about seven more minutes, Oregon State about eight and Washington merely four. That's helped to put UA's defense on the field for more than coaches would like.
Jawing on Jason
UA quarterback Jason Johnson snapped back with a good effort in his limited play (concussion) at Washington, completing six of his first eight throws for two scores. After getting hammered on the end of a 10- yard scramble, he completed another pass (of which he later asked Bobby Wade, "Huh? What was the play?") and then was out of the game at the quarter with final figures of 7-for-10, 80 yards, two TDs. It would have been nice to seem him play the whole game. In the three previous games he suffered six interceptions (3 vs. WSU, 1 vs. Oregon, 2 at Oregon State), a development which saw his pass efficiency rating drop from 149.86 (then 14th nationally) to 131.4, listed this week at No. 41 in Division I-A. He's showing some effects of first-year quarterbacking but has shown composure, toughness and resilience. He's completed 57 percent of his passes (96 for 169, 1,236 yards) and thrown 11 touchdown passes. The 11 touchdown passes tie him with four other former UA quarterbacks (Dan White, Alfred Jenkins, Tom Tunnicliffe, Keith Smith) for No. 10 on the single-season touchdown passes chart. Two of the seven interceptions he's thrown were tipped balls. One of his TD tosses was a school and Pac-10 record 99-yarder to Brandon Marshall. His completion percentage is close to UA's single-season record (for a projected minimum of 200 attempts) of .575 by Keith Smith in 1999. He threw a touchdown pass in each of the first five games, with a career high of three scoring throws against Nevada-Las Vegas when he clearly out dueled the Rebels' Jason Thomas. Backups John Rattay and Cliff Watkins each have played, with Rattay getting the nod after Johnson's injury at Washington. He did a reasonable job with a 50 percent (9-18, 115 yards, 1 INT) completion rate, a run for the tying score and leadership on the go-ahead scoring drive.
Senior center Steven Grace jumped in at his original UA position -- left guard -- against Washington for much of the game to help stack up more experience against UW tackle Larry Tripplett. The move put guard Reggie Sampay at center, where he was indoctrinated last year as a true freshman when Grace missed most of the year. With Grace free to focus on more than just ball management, Tripplett, the Huskies' leader with nine tackles for losses and two sacks entering the game, didn't notch a single tackle. UA continues to go with redshirt freshman Keoki Fraser/senior Kevin Barry rotating at RG and junior Darren Safranek/sophomore Brandon Phillips rotating at RT, while junior Makoa Freitas holds down the left tackle spot. Grace is considered by John Mackovic to be the best center he's coached, and this is the first year he's played the position.
Catching the Ball
UA quarterbacks have completed passes to 14 different receivers. Only five got in the act at Washington, somewhat understandable with the No. 1 QB (Johnson) knocked out of the game and a redshirt freshman (Rattay) at the helm. Bobby Wade snared a season-high six catches for a season-high 74 yards against the Huskies last week, while sidekicks Malosi Leonard (4-77) and Andrae Thurman (3-29, 1 TD) also were effective. UA quarterbacks have hit eight different receivers or more in four of the seven games (except OSU-6, WSU-5, UW-5). The nine players catching a ball vs. UNLV was the biggest single-game corps since the 1998 season opener (9 at Penn State). The14 players who have caught passes includes receivers Wade, Leonard, Thurman, Brandon Marshall, Lance Relford and Gary Love, tight ends James Hugo, Justin Levasseur and Steve Fleming, and backs Clarence Farmer, Anthony Fulcher, Mike Detwiler, Leo Mills and Tremaine Cox. Wade (30-392), Leonard (27-385) and Thurman (18-272) lead the way in receptions, although Marshall's school-record 99-yard catch-run against Idaho puts him close in yardage with 10 catches for 226 yards. He has the other long scoring catch, a 44-yarder against Oregon. He and Wade lead with three touchdown receptions.
Sacking and Protecting the QBs
UA recorded one sack in the past two weeks -- by DE Johnny Jackson at Washington. The Cats had none against Oregon State, the team's first empty bag of the year after averaging about 3.5 per game. Some injuries on the edge have hurt UA's continuity in fostering its pass rush. A week earlier the only sack of the Oregon game came on a blitz by safety Zaharius Johnson. UA had three sacks against Washington State to make it only five in Pac-10 play. The team has 18 this year. Jackson's sack against the Cougars made for a 17-yard loss and caused a fumble Austin Uku returned two yards for a score. UA did a good job of containing UNLV's mobile Jason Thomas and sacked him three times, with two by Jackson and one by DT Young Thompson. A week earlier UA had seven sacks in the Idaho game, its most since a school-record nine at UCLA in 1999. Lance Briggs and Alex Luna had one and shared another to lead the way. Luna, Jackson and Michael Jolivette had one apiece in the opener. Opponents have 13 sacks (two at SDSU, none by Idaho, one by UNLV, three by WSU, none by Oregon, three by OSU, four by Washington) That makes it quite close in terms of Mackovic's designed pass-protection ratio of one sack allowed per 17 pass attempts. UA has attempted 212 passes and is therefore allowing one sack per 16.3 pass plays.
Sudden-Change Changed Suddenly
Arizona managed to halt one disquieting trend last week: Washington did not receive any gifts by way of Arizona turnovers. The first three league games saw a different story: three turnovers led to two short-field touchdowns by the Beavers, who also blocked a UA punt and recovered that ball for a score, five turnovers against Oregon led to five touchdown drives by the Ducks, four interceptions against WSU led to three scores. UA picked off four UW passes and recovered a fumble, turning two of the UW miscues into 14 points. QB John Rattay suffered an interception (the slipped ball was airborne forever) and lost an exchange, but neither turnover led to points. The spate of turnovers in league play shattered UA's ball-control style evidenced in the first three games and dropped UA from a No. 26 standing to 65th in turnover margin among I-A teams. UA is minus-1 in turnovers, a negative for the first time in two seasons. UA does have three fumble returns for scores -- for 2 yards by DE Austin Uku vs. WSU, by CB Michael Jolivette for 40 yards against UNLV and by SS Brandon Nash for 57 yards at San Diego State. UA suffered an over-the-head snap on a punt that was illegally kicked through the endzone by punter Ramey Peru to give SDSU a scoring possession at the UA 1 yard-line.
2001 Turnovers - Arizona 18, Opponents 17 , -.67 margin
2001 Miscue Points - Arizona 46, Opponents 94
Rushing-Defense Tradition Takes A Hit
UA held Washington to 83 total rushing yards (although it may not have tried much due to its 455 aerial yards). Arizona held its first three opponents to an average of 92 rushing yards per game, good enough to rate No. 24th nationally, then Pac-10 play began... WSU posted 138 yards, Oregon netted 282 yards with a pair of 100-yard efforts and Oregon State rushed for 195 yards. The last four games pushed UA to 46th in Division I-A rushing defense. Five backs have rushed for 100 yards against UA this year -- WSU's Dave Minnich (30-121), Idaho's Blair Lewis (21-110), Oregon's Onterrio Smith (15-131) and Maurice Morris (21-110) and OSU's Ken Simonton (18-104) -- among seven running backs to hit the 100-yard mark against UA in the last 19 games. Rotating injuries across the line have hurt UA's continuity if not totally altered its lineup. Senior end Johnny Jackson has been the stalwart, starting all seven games -- and now he's doubtful for USC. Otherwise, ends Eli Wnek, Alex Luna, Austin Uku and Fata Avegalio, and tackles Keoni Fraser and Anthony Thomas have lost practice or game time because of various physical difficulties. When nearly 100 percent healthy at the get-go, UA held San Diego State to 41 net yards rushing on 29 attempts, an average of 1.4 yards per carry in its best effort of the season. Fraser apparently has quit the team for personal reasons. He did not make the Washington trip.
Arizona turned one thing around last week, converting eight of 15 third-down plays, it best of the year (though UW converted 9 of 16, too). The Cats converted 1 of 12 third-down tries against Oregon State. Jason Johnson's two scoring passes came on third down, both in scoring zone successes. Washington had 26 first downs to go with its 538 total yards, the fourth consecutive weeks UA has given up at least that many. The Cats' season conversion rate is 37 percent compared to 41 percent by opponents. Notes... Despite large point deficits UA had season-highs of 24 first downs against both Oregon and Washington State in those losses... UA was eight for 16 in converting third downs against Idaho, its second best this year... Against Oregon, Jason Johnson's touchdown throw of 44 yards to Brandon Marshall came on a 3rd-and-17 play and John Rattay's 25-yard scoring pass to Malosi Leonard came on a 3rd-and18 play... UNLV converted only one of 13 third-down tries... In UA's first drive against UNLV, it converted on 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 2nd down with Jason Johnson hitting four different receivers including Bobby Wade for the score... In one of the team's better drives at San Diego State, the Cats converted four first downs after starting at their own 6 yard-line in the fourth quarter, eventually moving the ball into Aztec territory followed by a Ramey Peru punt which required a fair catch at the SDSU 19 yard-line. The 10-play possession used 4:30 on the clock. While a ball-control effort, it used five pass completions by Jason Johnson for 46 yards.
Kicking Game Notes...
UA managed good field position against Washington but allowed a long kickoff return and had an average punt in crunch time, both leading to the 10 unanswered winning points. Oregon State enjoyed fourth-quarter average field position at its own 46 yard-line, compared to Arizona beginning drives at its 11 yard-line on the average... The punt OSU blocked was the first against Arizona since ASU's Donnie Neal did so last year, and the first block returned for a score since Frank Primus of Stanford did so in 1997... Arizona's Sean Keel made a 28-yard field goal on his only try at Oregon State to give UA its only points. Exactly a year ago Keel's FGs against Oregon State (3-for-3) proved to be Arizona's only points against the Beavers in a 33-9 loss... Keel had one 50-yard attempt (wide right) against Oregon... He did not attempt a field goal against WSU or Washington, the first times a kicker hasn't given it a go since the Ohio State game 16 contests back... The Oregon game was decided up front, though its kicking units (and UA turnovers) gave UO average field position at its 40 yard-line compared to UA at its 21... Arizona had a 30-yard field goal attempt by Keel blocked against UNLV, though he later connected on a 20-yard attempt. He's 3 for 7 on the year and one was a career-long 44-yard kick against Idaho. He missed his first 2001 field goal attempt at SDSU, striking the upright from 30 yards. He missed from 43 against the Vandals. He's 21 for 32 in his career. He had one PAT kick blocked and missed a PAT against Idaho... Punter Ramey Peru's best outing was a 41.2 average and 39.0 net figure against UNLV. He had a career-best 62-yard punt with some roll at Washington... Against Oregon he had a 41.3 average but UA gave up 24 yards on returns for a net figure of 33.3 yards... UA's kickoff return coverage has allowed 22.5 yards per return including an opponents' season-best 55-yard return by Dominique Dorsey of UNLV... UA used a punt return by Bobby Wade (58 yards) to set up a score against the Aztecs, and a 16-yard return by Wade against UNLV to give it scoring-drive starting position at UA's 40 yard-line ... Peru has stuck five punts inside the 20 yard-line and had four others inside the 25. He does not have a touchback kick, less than half his punts have been returned (17 of 39), but opponents average 6.0 yards per return to reduce the teams' net punting average to 34.7 yards per kick. Opponents are fairing better with a 36.2 net punting figure... Keel had a pooch punt at Washington out of field goal formation, but knocked it into the end zone for a touchback... Andrae Thurman blocked a punt at the goal line to give UA a safety at SDSU... The team has blocked 43 kicks in the last 12 seasons...
Arizona Football Notes...
...Clarence Farmer's 147 rushing yards last week moved him into No. 2 in the league. He's one of two backs with more than 500 rushing yards who have better per-carry averages than the rushing leader, DeShaun Foster (167 for 930, 5.57). Farmer's averaging 5.68 per tote (121-687) while Delvon Flowers of ASU(82-545, 6.65) leads the Pac-10 in rushing yards per carry... Farmer's 158 yards against Oregon eclipsed his previous high of 134 at Southern Cal last season as a true freshman... Redshirt freshman back Tremaine Cox is averaging 5.7 yards per tote (31 carries) and soph Anthony Fulcher is averaging 5.8 on 12 carries... Cox's 80-yard touchdown run against UNLV was UA's longest since Clarence Farmer popped for 80 and a score at Southern California last Oct. 7... Fulcher has a 36-yard scoring run to his credit this year, against Oregon...
...UA's four interceptions against Washington compare to the school record of seven against UTEP in 1968... The last time UA had more interceptions was five against Illinois in 1996... Junior linebacker Ray Wells had his first career interception against the Huskies, as did senior defensive end Johnny Jackson. Those were the first non-DB picks of the season for UA... Jermaine Chatman's first interception at UW was in the end zone and turned the Huskies back, his second came a few minutes later and gave UA field position for the go-ahead score...
...Arizona's defensive secondary broke up 11 passes at Washington, led by four deflections from Michael Jolivette and three by Jermaine Chatman... UA has broken up 42 of opponents' 252 passes, plus intercepted nine others to wreck 20% of the other guys' work. Cornerbacks Jolivette (12) and Jermaine Chatman (9) lead the way in PBUs... Jolivette (3), Chatman (2) and free safety Jarvie Worcester (2) lead the way in interceptions...
...Arizona ran 72 plays for 5.5 yards per attempt against Washington, its highest total number of plays this year... Take away (you can't) the two long pass plays Washington had (78 and 74 yards, each for scores), and the Huskies averaged 5 yards per play rather than 7 yards per play. Those long passes gave UW the edge (538 to 394) over UA...
...Arizona has more time of possession in two games this year -- the victories at San Diego State (3:12 margin) and against UNLV (3:56 margin)... The other four games UA had a deficit of at least six minutes, with the top difference the 14 more minutes Washington State held the ball...
...The 159 yards of total offense UA garnered at Oregon State almost made the "top 5" of the Cats' difficult list for tough Pac-10 games. Most recently UA's lowest output in a league game was 159 total yards -- also against Oregon State, in 2000...
... In its last three games the combined final score is 149-52 against UA, the most in the Cats' 23-year Pac-10 affiliation. Previously UA allowed a string of three Pac-10 opponents to outscore the Cats 131-35 in games during the 1991 season (Cal 23-20, Washington 54-0 and UCLA 54-14)... The 97-point bulge this year in the three games nudges the 96-point deficit in 1991...
...Arizona's 18 penalties in the first two games was followed by more disciplined efforts against UNLV (6-58), WSU (6-56) and Oregon (3-20)... Then UA popped for 10 markers and 81 yards against the Beavers. UA had six flags for 104 yards at Washington... Three pass interference calls on 2nd-and-15, 3rd-and-6 and 3rd-and-6 on one drive helped OSU on its fourth scoring drive...
...Arizona has attempted only two field goals in its last four games, a 28-yarder made by Sean Keel at OSU and a 50-yarder by Keel against Oregon which he pushed wide to the right. UA did not attempt a field goal against WSU or Washington. The last time that happened was against Ohio State last season...
...Inside linebacker Lance Briggs has four double-digit tackles game of the year. His highest total was 13 against WSU... He had 10 at Washington, 12 against Oregon, 10 against Idaho... Cornerback Michael Jolivette had 10 tackles against SDSU... Free safety Jarvie Worcester had 10 at Washington... Defensive end Johnny Jackson leads with four sacks... Briggs had 113 hits a year ago, the most among returning Pac-10 players...
...The four interceptions suffered by UA quarterbacks against Washington State (3 by Jason Johnson, 1 by Cliff Watkins) were the most in a single game since Ortege Jenkins threw four against UCLA last season...
...With the 14 different players who have caught passes, UA has not had a 100-yard individual receiving game this year, though Brandon Marshall (1-99 vs. Idaho) and Andrae Thurman (5-95 vs. WSU) came close.... ...Arizona's 491 yards in total offense against Idaho and the 483 yards against Oregon were the team's biggest totals since Nov. 13, 1999, when UA had 500 even at Oregon State...
...The Cats have recovered eight of opponents' 11 fumbles -- returning three for scores -- and eight of their own16 drops. UA was among national leaders (5th) last season with 17 fumble recoveries...
...A number of players have had their first career action this year -- redshirt junior Ray Wells (starting ILB), backup QBs Cliff Watkins and John Rattay, redshirt freshman FB Tremaine Cox, redshirt freshman DE Fata Avegalio, soph TE Justin Levasseur, redshirt freshman TE Steve Fleming, junior redshirt OT/LS John Vorsheck, true freshman LB Kirk Johnson, redshirt freshman LB Pat Howard, redshirt freshman punt snapper Ben DalMolin, and walk-on freshman kickoff specialist Ryan Slack... Kirk Johnson had his first start at ILB at Oregon State when starter Ray Wells moved to whip linebacker in the absence of injured Joe Siofele...
...Arizona and Arizona State officials worked over the summer to earn NCAA Division I-A designation for the 1899 Territorial Cup as the oldest trophy game in America, eclipsing the battle for the Little Brown Jug, awarded annually since 1909 to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota game. Officials of the two Arizona schools are working to complete details for the awarding of the Territorial Cup to the winning school, a replica to the winning school's president's office and awarding of two later trophies in the series -- the Saguaro Trophy for the winning coach (since 1997) and a modern sculpture piece by artist Ben Goo which is expected to be awarded to the game's Most Valuable Player. That piece formerly went to the winner of the Big Game from 1979 to 1998.
The McKale Center Ticket Office is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (520-621-2287). Single-game public tickets range from $6 to $22, or higher in priority areas. Arizcats.com offers online purchases.
Arizona Football On TV
The UA-USC game will be syndicated by Fox Sports Net for distribution in 15 western cities. One additional game has been selected by FSN with other games in the pool for regional broadcasts by ABC or nationally by FSN. Fox Sports Net Arizona produces other games, often for over-the-air broadcast on KWBA-58 in southern Arizona and KUSK in central Arizona.
Arizona Football On Radio
KNST 790-AM Radio is the flagship station for live Arizona football broadcasts on the Wildcat Sports Network. Brian Jeffries and Les Josephson call the play. Affiliates: KCTK-Phoenix, KVNA-Flagstaff, KBLU-Yuma, KTAN-Sierra Vista, KRLV-Las Vegas, KDAP-Douglas, KWRQ-Safford, KZUA-Holbrook, KIKO-Globe, KINO-Winslow. Internet broadcast: www.knst.com KNST also administers UA's Spanish broadcasts carried by XENY-Nogales and KXEW-Tucson, with Joel Bojorquez and Francisco Romero. KNST's broadcast is available by phone using TEAMLINE for about 10 cents per minute, by calling 1-800-846-4700.
John Mackovic Coach's Shows
Head coach John Mackovic's weekly radio and television shows are produced by KNST Radio, with host Brian Jeffries and the coach taping during "Tuesdays in the Huddle With John Mackovic," a public gathering at McMahon's Steakhouse at 12 noon Tuesdays. The radio show airs at 6 p.m. Tuesdays on KNST-790 AM and the TV segment is broadcast over the air at 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays on KWBA-58.
Arizona Academic Stalwarts - Brandon Nash, Eli Wnek, Jason Johnson
Arizona's top academic honors candidates include seniors Eli Wnek and Brandon Nash, and junior Jason Johnson. In order they carry 3.79, 3.13 and 3.78 cumulative grade point averages while starting as college football players. Wnek returned to action last week. On Sept. 18 he was named to the American Football Coaches Association "Good Works Team," just one of 11 Division I-A players so honored and the only Pac-10 representative. He and Nash earned 1st-team All-Pac-10 Academic honors in 2000, while Malosi Leonard and Jarvie Worcester were honorable-mention picks. Wnek and Nash both earned degrees in May and are taking post-graduate studies. Nash was named a winner of a Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship prior to the season. UA special teams players Ben DalMolin (3.30), Justin Jochum (3.81) Ramey Peru (3.05) and backup QB John Rattay (3.51) also have been nominated to the Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team.
WR, Bobby Wade, 5-11, 187, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.
Arizona's most experienced receiver, having played in 29 career games (25 starts) ... Moved into eighth place on the all-time UA receptions list (105) ... A semifinalist for the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year Award ... Leads the team with 30 receptions ... Has at least one catch in 28 of 29 career appearances, including 27 consecutive (which ranks 16th nationally) ... Three career 100-yard receiving games to his credit ... Had a team-high six grabs at Washington for 74 yards and a TD ... Had two receptions for 24 yards at Oregon State ... Had three receptions for 67 yards vs. Oregon ... Collected a TD catch vs. Washington State and finished with 59 receiving yards ... Posted the first two-TD game of his career with a pair of scoring grabs vs. UNLV (14, 15) and finished with four receptions for 54 yards ... Led UA with five catches vs. Idaho and totaled 70 yards ... Also added his third career reception of 50+ yards vs. the Vandals ... Tallied five catches for 44 yards in the opener at San Diego State, and added 107 return yards (59 punt/48 kick) that included a 58-yard punt return ... Led the Cats with 45 receptions and 626 yards last season ... Should blossom under Coach Mackovic's offensive system ... Has big-play potential with 14-, 60- and 75-yards TD catches last year ... Has 10 TD catches in his career ... Outstanding kick returner who led the 2000 squad with 981 yards.
PK, Sean Keel, 6-0, 200, Jr., Littleton, Colo.
Entered the year on the Lou Groza Award Preseason watch list as one of the nation's top collegiate kickers ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Made 3-of-7 FG atts. on the year ... Punted once (a career first) for 32 yards at Washington off a FG formation ... Hit a 28-yard FG at Oregon State, his first FG in three games ... Missed a 50-yard attempt vs. Oregon, but went 4-of-4 on PATs ... Was 3-of-3 PATs vs. Washington State, as UA did not attempts a field goal for the first time in 13 games ... Hit a 20-yard FG vs. UNLV and was 5-of-5 on PATs vs. UNLV ... Equaled a career long with a 44-yard FG vs. Idaho ... Missed only FG attempt at San Diego State (40 yds.) ... Ranked third in the Pac-10 and 26th nationally with 1.18 FG/game last year ... Made 13-of-17 field goal attempts (.765) and 25-of-26 PATs (.962) in 2000 ... Made 9-of-10 field goals inside 40 yards and was 4-of-5 on attempts of 40-49 yards last year ... Has a career long of 44 yards at Utah in the 2000 season opener ... Connected on 21-of-32 FGAs in his career (.656).
OL, Stephen Grace, 6-3, 293, Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii
Arguably Arizona's best offensive lineman and one of the finest in the Pac-10 Conference ... For the second time this season the UA offensive line surrendered no sacks, this time to No. 6 Oregon ... Under his guidance, the O-Line continues to help the UA offense remain balanced and productive, as the squad totaled 440 yards of offense (184 rush/256 pass) in the win over UNLV ... Led the offensive line in allowing no sacks in the win over Idaho as the offense tallied 491 yards of total offense, the team's highest total since Nov. 13, 1999 ... Anchored an offensive line that first-time QB starter to complete 21-of-32 passes for 176 yards vs. SDSU ... Coach Mackovic has called Grace "the best center I have ever coached." ... Has recovered from shoulder surgery last year that limited him to just one game played ... Earned second-team all-Pac-10 honors in 1999 as a starter at left guard.
RB, Clarence Farmer, 6-0, 224, So., Houston, Texas
A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Averaging 5.7 ypc in 2001 ... On a pace for 1080 yards this season ... Went over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season at Washington with 147 yards on 21 totes (7.0 ypc), also has tow reception for eight yards out of the backfield ... Tallied just 55 yards on 19 carries at Oregon State to account for 35 percent of the UA total offense ... Collected a career-best 158 yards on 15 carries (10.5 ypc) vs. No. 6 Oregon, including a 78-yard run (second longest of his career) ... Tallied 84 yards on 16 carries with a 31-yard TD run vs. Washington State ... Collected 35 yards on 11 totes vs. UNLV ... Topped 100 yards for the first time this season (fourth career) with 118 yards on 18 carries with two TDs ... Posted a strong 2001 debut, compiling 90 yards on 21 carries and a TD ... Scored UA's first TD on a nice 12-yard run and set up a second with a 27-yard scamper at San Diego State ... A powerful, bruising back that rushed for 666 yards and five touchdowns last year ... One of only two true freshmen running backs at Arizona to post three 100-yard rushing games ... Had three runs of 35 yards in 2000, including two for scores ... Named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
LB, Lance Briggs, 6-1, 230, Jr., Sacramento, Calif.
Has 11 double-figure tackle games in 18 games at linebacker ... Posted 10 tackles (five solo) at Washington to go with two TFL ... Had eight stops (4 solo) at Oregon State ... Recorded at least 10 stops for the second week in a row with 12 vs. No. 6 Oregon to go with 2 TFL ... Notched a team-high 13 tackles vs. Washington State ... Recovered a fumble and registered a team-high seven tackles (six solo) in the win over UNLV ... Led UA with 10 stops (8 solos) 2.5 TFL, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks vs. Idaho ... Anchored a defense that allowed SDSU just 41 net rushing yards in the season opener ... Tallied 9 stops vs. the Aztecs, including one TFL ... The Pac-10's leading returning tackler with 113 stops ... A second-team preseason All-America pick by Football News ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Posted seven games with 10 or more tackles in 2000, his first on the defensive side of the ball ... Briggs' earned first-team all-Pac-10 honors last season.
CB, Michael Jolivette, 5-9, 178, So., Houston, Texas
Has three of the nine UA interceptions this season (team leader) ... Tallied four tackles and four PBU at Washington ... Collected an interception and six tackles at Oregon State ... Tallied nine tackles (seven solo) vs. Oregon, the second-highest total of his career ... Collected four tackles and an interception vs. Washington State to go with three PBU ... Posted a stellar all-around game in the win over UNLV, totaling two tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble return 40 yards for a TD and one PBU ... Collected his sixth career interception in the win over Idaho to go with 6 tackles ... Arizona's leading tackler in the season opener vs. SDSU with 10 stops (a career high), including a sack (-6) and two PBUs ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... A solid cover guy ... Returns after a freshman campaign that saw him tally 42 tackles and five interceptions (19th nationally) ... A second-team all-Pac-10 pick and freshman All-America as a wide-side corner.
QB, Jason Johnson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Puyallup, Wash.
Has completed 57.0 percent of his throws to 14 receivers on the year ... Currently tied for 10th place on the UA single-season touchdown pass list with 11 ... Completed 7-of-10 passes for 80 yards and 2 TDs at Washington before leaving the game with a concussion ... Passed for a season-low 113 yards at Oregon State on 10-of-24 passing ... Connected on a season-low seven completions in 18 attempts vs. No. 6 Oregon for 132 yards, but did throw 2 TDs, including a 44-yarder ... Completed 13 passes (25 attempts) for 184 yards vs. Washington State to go with 3 interceptions ... Connected on 60 percent of his passes (18-of-30) vs. UNLV for 247 yards and three TDs ... Completed 20-of-30 passes for 304 yards and 2 TDs vs. Idaho ... He is UA's first 300-yard passer since Oct. 18, 1997, and he logged the longest pass play in school and Pac-10 history with a 99-yard TD strike to Brandon Marshall ... Completed 21-of-32 passes for 176 yards in his first collegiate start at San Diego State, and most importantly, led his team to victory ... Showed a strong grasp of the offensive by completing passes to eight different receivers ... Outstanding student with a 3.75 GPA as a business major ... Could be a strong contender for academic All-America honors.