TUCSON--Senior kicker Nick Folk kicked off, punted and made three field goals -- none bigger than the 48-yarder that split the uprights with one second remaining to give Arizona a 16-13 victory over Brigham Young Saturday.
The kick delighted a crowd of 58,450 fans, the ninth-largest crowd in school history, and capped an evening of plenty of defense and not much in the way of scoring from a pair of teams that entered the year with bigger offensive expecations.
Arizona struck first on a Folk 30-yard field goal less than four minutes into the first quarter, and BYU took the lead with two minutes left in the stanza on a 5-yard touchdown pass from John Beck to Daniel Coats. Folk knocked a 22-yarder three minutes into the second quarter to cut the lead to 7-6.
BYU's Jared McLaughlin made the first of his two field goals to extend the Cougars lead to 10-6 at the 10-minute mark in the third quarter, but UA answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive keyed by a big Chris Henry run of 54 yard and completed with a two-yard pass by Willie Tuitama to Anthony Johnson for the score and a 13-10 lead with 6 minutes left in the period.
McLaughlin's second field goal tied the game at the five-minute mark in the final period, but Arizona mounted a 13-play drive to cover 44 key yards and put Folk in position for the game winner.
BYU won the offensive battle, 313 yards to 253, with senior Beck completing 28 of 37 passes for most of the years, 289. But the Cats held the Cougs to 24 net rushing yards, a 1.0 per carry rate. BYU similarly kept UA's running attack at bay, limiting the Wildcats to 67 net yards. Tuitama added 186 yards passing on modest 19-for-39 throwing. He suffered one interception, but UA won the turnover battle, recovering two fumbles.
Folk missed a 42-yard field goal attempt in the second half. Kyle McQuown had UA's first three punts, averaging 44.0 yards, but Folk boomed a 75-yarder and added two others for a 60.0 average, plus knocked three touchbacks in kicking off, knocking it deep enough to limit BYU to two returns for 25 total KOR yards.
Henry finished with 63 net yards rushing on 13 attempts, while UA had two receivers with half a dozen catches each -- Syndric Steptoe (93 yards) and Anthony Johnson (40).
The Zona Zoo student section and the rest of the crowd made its presence known during the game
NOTES... The crowd was the biggest ever for an Arizona season opener and was the first non-Pac-10 game to crack the 58,000 level. The Stadium record is 59,920 set against Arizona State in November 1996. The listed capacity in those days was 57,803 but embellishments have trimmed that to 56,002, although the student seating section -- the Zona Zoo at 10,000 strong -- now squeezes safely kicks the total a bit upward. The students don't sit, hence more of them fit... Coach Stoops and all Arizona players interviewed by the media after the game were quick to note the fan support... UA linebacker Spencer Larsen led all tacklers with 12, and junior college transfer defensive end Louis Holmes underscored his billing with a pair of sacks...