Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
2007-10-15 Football notes vs. Stanford
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 15, 2007
Related Links

Arizona Game Notes as a .pdf

Opponent: Stanford
Kickoff: 4 p.m.
Site: Tucson, Ariz. - Arizona Stadium (57,400)
Television: FSNA (Dave Sitton, Dale Hellestrae, Todd Husak (FSN Bay Area))
English Radio: 1290 AM The Source (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett, Pedro Limon)
Spanish Radio: 990 AM ESPN Deportes (Francisco Romero, Marco Rincon, Pedro Limon)
Please see Page 3 of the notes for Arizonaˇ?s radio affiliates.

Some Game Themes
A battle for 2007 football survival... It's Hispanic Heritage Day on the Arizona campus... The University of Arizona also welcomes in parents, brothers and sisters for Family Weekend ... Arizona wants to keep a chance at a winning season alive and Stanford has to win to avoid a fourth conference loss... Arizona's defense tries to tame a Stanford offense that has awakened in its last two games, including the stunning upset of No. 1 USC two weeks ago. The Cardinal posted 36 points against TCU last week and 60 total in the two games, while UA works to show its total of 29 in the last two games is not the norm... SU coach Jim Harbaugh continues his introduction to Pac-10 opponents, facing UA for the first time... Mike Stoops works for a chance to post a second win against a second Pac-10 squad (WSU is the other) in his young career... Arizona puts its spread and headliners Willie Tuitama and Mike Thomas to work against Division I-A's 115th-rated pass efficiency defense, but Stanford brings a 17th-rated sack attack to the equation, led by Clinton Snyder's six... UA needs to find some balance: in its two victories it rushed for a combined 416 yards. In its losses -- a combined 122... Whether UA faces senior QB T.C. Ostrander or sophomore mobility whiz Tavita Pritchard is subject to question. Both played last week.

Last Week
Arizona visited the No. 10-ranked team in the land on its home turf and slugged it out with focus throughout, but fell victim to just enough letdowns to thwart the upset try and fall at USC, 20-13. The Cats had a fourth-quarter lead, 13-10, and had chances for more points both before and after that. USC took control of the game at the right moment. A 45-yard Joe McKnight punt return off a low 38-yard Keenyn Crier punt put the ball at the UA 25 yard-line, and it took one pass play from Mark Sanchez to Fred Davis to put USC on top for good. UA followed with two three-and-outs, and then the Trojans followed an 83-yard Crier punt to march 93 yards from for a field goal. The Cats had no steam after that 6-minute drive. Both teams played good defense -- Arizona held USC to 275 yards and the Trojans held the Cats to 255 -- with a combined 17 drives of five plays or less, nine of those by the Trojans. UA quarterback Willie Tuitama completed 30 of 43 passes for 233 yards, but couldn't find the end zone. Junior Mike Thomas tied his career high (and No. 2 in Arizona history) with 12 catches, but was held to 83 yards on the grabs. Jason Bondzio hit his fourth and fifth consecutive field goals including a career-best 45-yarder, but the six points were matched by his counterpart. Arizona helped make it clear the 2007 Trojans appear to have no magical switch to turn on as did some of their juggernauts of past years. UA held the Trojans to 3.7 yards per play, and that good (defensive) figure was skewed by a 59-yard run by McKnight that spoiled a lot of things. It was the gem in the long drive that otherwise included 14 other patient, physical plays. USC had to gut it out, and it did.

Notes from USC
P Keenyn Crierˇ?s 83-yard punt was the second-longest in school history and the longest at UA in 77 years (school record ˇ? 84 yards Bill Hargis at Rice in 1930) ... WR Mike Thomas tied his career-high with 12 receptions in the game (at Cal earlier this year), which is tied for the second-most catches in a single game in school history ... QB Willie Tuitama scored his third rushing TD of the season in the second quarter ...? PK Jason Bondzioˇ?s 45-yard field goal in the third quarter was a career-long make ... LB Spencer Larsenˇ?s 17 tackles tied his career-high (at Oregon State, 2005) and his 10 solo tackles were the most in his four-year career (9 vs. BYU, 2006) ...? Larsenˇ?s 4.5 TFL was also a career-best ... DT Lionel Dotson posted a sack and finished with a career-high seven total tackles ... DE Jason Parker had sack, two TFL and a career-best seven total tackles ... NB Corey Hall picked off his first career pass ... CB Antoine Cason snatched his 13th career INT to move into a tie for sixth all-time at UA ... Arizonaˇ?s 14 tackles for loss against USC were a Mike Stoops-era high and the most for a UA defense since making 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage against Utah in 2000 .... UA's defense limited USC to 130 passing yards last week, its lowest output in the last 10 games of the series. The last time the Trojans dipped below the 220 yards passing mark was a 139-yard effort by the John Robinson-coached 8-5 Trojans of Freedom Bowl yore. UA beat that club, 38-7 in one of its most dominant victories in its 10-2 Fiesta Bowl season. USC had thrown for 387, 369 and 367 in its last three games against UA ... The 84,671 fans at the Los Angeles Coliseum represented the sixth-largest crowd to witness an Arizona football game. That eclipsed the 80,167 who attended UA's game against USC in 2005, for the tops in the UA-USC series. It was USC's lowest attendance of the year. It takes about 91,000 to hit the USC Top 20 home crowds chart.

Stanford and Arizona Fast Facts
First Meeting: 1979 (Stanford 30 - Arizona 10 in Palo Alto, Calif.)
Last Meeting: 2006 (Arizona 20 - Stanford 7 in Palo Alto, Calif.)
All-Time Series Record: Arizona leads 13-9
Arizona vs. Stanford All-Time: The 23rd all-time meeting between the two schools? ... Arizona owns a 13-9 edge in the 22 games played thus far and won the last meeting between the two ... Previous to UAˇ?s victory in 2006, Stanford had won a series-high three straight games against the Wildcats ... UAˇ?s longest winning streak over the Cardinal is six (1991-98) ... The Cats are 6-4 all-time against Stanford at Arizona Stadium in Tucson ...

Arizona-Stanford- The Last Time Out
The Wildcat surrendered the fewest yards of total offense in school history in a 20-7 victory over the Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif., last season ... Arizona attempted just 13 passes in the game and rushed for 220 yards on 51 carries ... The Cardinal managed a program-low 52 yards of offense on 32 plays ... The minus eight yards rushing by Stanford was the first time UA held an opponent to negative yards on the ground since 1999 ... Stanford finished with just four first downs ... Aside from an interception returned for a TD, Stanford did not possess the ball inside Arizona territory during the contest, probing only as deep as its own 43 ... The Cardinalˇ?s longest drive was three plays for 13 yards in the first quarter ... Game time was an economical 2:30

Noting the Cardinal
Under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh the Cardinal head to Tucson with a 2-4 overall record and 1-3 Pac-10 mark ... Stanford upended the college football world with a fourth quarter victory over No. 2 USC in Los Angeles two weeks ago ... Stanfordˇ?s victory over the Trojans snapped USCˇ?s 35-game home winning streak ... For the year Stanford is averaging 24.7 points per game and allowing an average of 33.7 ... The Cardinal is averaging 120.3 yards per game on the ground and 236.3 through the air for an average of 356.7 yards per game of offense ... The defense is allowing 167.3 yards rushing and 294.2 yards passing for a total of 461.5 yards of offense to the opposition ... Individually, RB Anthony Kimball has gained 429 yards on 95 carries (4.5 ypc) and has scored six rushing TDs this season ... The Cardinal have used two QBs this season with T.C. Ostrander passing for 1,088 yards and six TDs and Tavita Prtichard chipping in with 330 yards and three scores while leading Stanford to the upset victory over USC ... Defensively Clinton Snyder has racked up six sacks and 42 tackles, while Bo McNally has a team-leading 60 total stops, two interceptions? and three TFL.

Home Sweet Home
After playing on the road the last two weekends, Arizona returns to Tucson for two of its next three games and three of its final five. The Wildcats are currently 2-1 in three home games against an 0-4 mark on the road. A breakdown of UA at home vs. the road.

Stat Home Road
W-L 2-1 0-4
Points per game 40.0 15.8
Opp. Points per game 24.3 29.0
Rushing Avg. 151.3 21.0
Opp. Rushing Avg. 73.7 155.8
Passing Avg. 362.3 246.8
Opp. Passing Avg. 287.0 204.2
Total Offense Avg. 513.7 267.8
Opp Total Offense Avg. 360.7 360.0

Staring-at-the-Stats Notes
Arizona and opponents each have 144 first downs, an average of 20, clearly UA's best in four seasons... Arizona is 9-for-9 in its last nine trips into the red zone, scoring four TDs and kicking five FGs ... USC's Joe McKnight returned a punt 45 yards, a season-long for a UA opponent, otherwise UA would be even better than it is in net punting (37.9), which rates No. 15 in the FBS ... Keenyn Crier's 83-yarder that died at the 1 yard-line against SC helped. Crier is within reach of the UA school record for average, 40 punts minimum. He has 31 for 44.4 right below the mark established by Joe Payton (44.6, 56 for 2,495) in 1965. Danny Baugher has the overall record with 37 punts for a 47.5-yard average in 2005.

Defense Returns
The Arizona defense has begun to step up its game. Since the disastrous first quarter against Oregon State in which the Cats gave up 189 yards of total offense to the Beavers, the Wildcats have settled down and allowed just 63 yards of offense per quarter over the last seven quarters. Arizona shut out OSU in the second half two weeks ago and went toe-to-toe with the vaunted USC offense last weekend, recording 14 tackles for loss, three sacks and allowing just 276 yards of total offense to the Trojans.

Growing Up
If numbers mean anything, Arizona's defensive effort -- holding USC to 276 net yards -- shows the Wildcats might be poised to play some tenacious ball down the stretch. That figure was second only to NAU's 243 total yards in terms of UA's 2007 stopping power. New Mexico (421), California (421), WSU (418) and Oregon State (351) had averaged 402 yards in offense against UA in the previous month.

Is Ness a Loch?
Redshirt junior safety Nate Ness had his first career start at USC, filling in for injured Dominic Patrick and Patrick's first replacement, Michael Klyce, who started at Oregon State. Ness chipped in with four tackles against the Trojans and helped keep USC passing yards modest. Klyce had 10 tackles and two PBUs against the Beavers, so the job appears somewhat open. If Patrick's knee is cleared for contact he'll likely return, but coaches have enough confidence to play a bunch of safeties, along with nominal nickel-back Corey Hall and Brandon Tatum.

Moving the Chains
The Wildcats have recorded 144 total first downs in the first seven games this season (42 rush, 85 pass, 17 penalty), which is already 83 percent of the way towards matching last seasonˇ?s total of 173. Should the Cats continue to move the chains at the current pace (20.6 first downs per game) they would finish the 12-game regular season with 247. The projected sum total for the year would take over the top spot in school history (246 in 1975). Individually this season, true frosh Nic Grigsby nabbed the lead when he accounted for 16 of Arizonaˇ?s 28 first downs against WSU on Sept. 29 (12 rush, 4 rec.). Grigsby leads all rushers with 25 first downs on the ground, while Mike Thomas paces the way through the air with 22 receiving first downs.

Posting Points
Arizona saw its string of scoring at least a field goal end at 13 straight quarters against USC last weekend in the first frame ... The Wildcats have scored 183 points in seven games thus far, which is already 92 percent of the way to the 12-game total of 199 last year? ... The Wildcats didn't score their 183rd point of the year in 2006 until the fourth quarter of the 11th game (at Oregon 11/18) ... The Wildcats had scored 87 total points through the first seven games of the 2006 season ... UA's 55 fourth quarter points this season is already well past last year's 12-game total of 40.

Bondzio, James Bondzio
Actually his name is Jason and the only nifty gadget he has is a deceptively strong leg, but UA place kicker Jason Bondzio has been on point this season. Making 12 of 15 field goal attempts and successfully converting all 21 PAT tries for a team-best 57 points scored, he needs just 10 points more this season to equal departed PK Nick Folkˇ?s team-high 67 points from last year and just 16 more points to become UAˇ?s highest scorer in a single season since RB Trung Canidate posted 72 total points in 1999. The redshirt junior and first-year starter has made nine of his last 10 attempts with the lone miss coming on a 59-yard try (plenty of leg, just wide left) at the end of the first half against Washington State on Sept. 29. He booted a career-long 45-yader in the third quarter last weekend to give Arizona a 13-10 lead over USC. His kickoffs have been nearly as impressive as he has 13 touchbacks, even after the five-yard move back on the initial placement, and has teamed up with the coverage unit to allow the opposition just 22.9 yards per return this year.

Making Them Cry
Redshirt frosh punter Keenyn Crier has made returners do just that. The first-year kicker leads the Pac-10 and is 12th nationally with a 44.4 yards per punt average, not too shabby for a newcomer. Crier has placed 12 of his 31 punts inside the oppositionˇ?s 20 yard-line this season and has had five kicks fair caught. Last weekend at USC he placed five of his seven punts inside the USC 11-yard-line (the 11, 10, 4, 2 and 1 to be exact) and booted the second-longest punt in school history when he boomed an 83-yarder in the fourth quarter. That punt was the longest at Arizona since 1930.

Cason for the Defense
Senior cornerback Antoine Cason continues to show why he's been rated among the top defenders at his position nationally. He has 13 career interceptions, tied for 6th on the UA career Top 10 chart, and is within two PBUs of the UA's career chart with 22 passes destroyed. He returned an interception 60 yards for a score at Oregon State this year, second-longest in the conference thus far, his second career scoring return after a game-winning 39-yard return against No. 8 Cal last year. His ability to cover helped keep Berkeley superstar DeSean Jackson to a modest three catches for 39 yards and no whiff of the end zone a few weeks ago and USC to just 130 yards through the air. Cason has a sack, three interceptions, 44 tackles, a forced fumble and four PBUs in his senior year... One more interception moves him into a tie for fourth on the UA chart.
All-Time Interception leaders

1 21 - Chuck Cecil, 1984-87
2 20 - Jackie Wallace, 1970-72
3 18 -?Chris McAlister, 1996-98
4 14 - Darryll Lewis, 1987-90
14 - Allan Durden, 1982-85
6 13 - Dave Liggins, 1978-80
13 - Roussell Williams, 1972-74
13 - Tony Bouie, 1991-94
13 - Antoine Cason 2004-

Youˇ?re Going the Wrong Way
On a 27-yard pickoff return against USC last weekend Thorpe Award candidate Antoine Cason not only moved into the top six all-time in career interceptions, but he also took over the top spot in career interception return yardage. The fourth-year starter has now racked up 278 yards on 13 career interceptions to move him past former all-time leader Darryll Lewis (252 on 14 returns, 1987-90). For the time being, Lewisˇ? single-season mark of 192 INT returns yards on seven picks from 1990 appears to be safe, but Antoine still has five games and a lot off passes thrown his way to catch up. Should Cason maintain his career average of 21.4 yards per return he would easily slide into the top spot at Arizona, which is currently held by Dennis Anderson who averaged 13.16 yards per return on 12 career interceptions from 1972-75.

JP and the L-Train
DE Jason Parker (4.0) and DT Lionel Dotson (4.5) have teamed up for 8.5 of Arizonaˇ?s modest 15 sacks this season. Parker, who has started each of the last two games, posted a two-sack game against New Mexico on Sept. 15 and has made his way to the QB twice in UAˇ?s last three games. Dotson, the team leader in sacks, has racked up a sack in each of UAˇ?s last three games and recorded a sack and a half against NAU on Sept. 8.

Offensive Improvements
The spread offense has improved Arizonaˇ?s numbers nearly across the board through the first seven games. A look at this year vs. last year through seven games.

Stat 2006 2007 Difference
Points 87 183 +96
Points per game 12.4 26.1 +13.7
First Downs 106 144 +38
Rushing Offense 78.4 76.9 -1.5
Passing Offense 176.3 296.3 +120
Total Offense 254.7 373.1 +118.4

When Will Willie?
It appears evident the new offensive style will take junior quarterback Willie Tuitama to the top of some Arizona charts. When? Stay tuned.
--Has the single-game pass attempts (61) and completions (42) records (vs. Cal)
--Has the No. 2 single-game passing yards total with 446 (vs UNM)
--Is No. 3 in single-season pass completions (191)
--Is No. 6 in single-season passing attempts (306)
--Is No. 7 in single-season TD passes (15)
--Is No. 7 in career touchdown passes (31)
--Is No. 7 in career completions (391)
--Is No. 8 in career passing yards (4,495)
--Is No. 8 in career passing attempts (659)
--Is No. 8 in single season passing yards (2,055)

Willie T Notes
Tuitama's 42 completions and 61 attempts at California were three and nine, respectively, from the all-time NCAA Top 20 for those categories. Just for the record, the record for those marks is 55 completions (Rusty LaRue, Wake Forest vs. Duke, 1995) and 83 attempts (Drew Brees, Purdue vs. Wisconsin, 1998). Maybe he'll get there. A pair of guys Sonny Dykes worked with while coaching receivers at Texas Tech -- Kliff Kingsbury (70 throws vs. Missouri in '02) and B.J. Symons (45 completions vs. Iowa State in '03) -- fill the spots at the bottom of those charts...

Nic the Quick
True frosh Nic Grigsby etched his name into the lore of Arizona history with 186 rushing yards on 30 carries (6.2 ypc) against Washington State on Sept. 29. The ground-pounding total equaled the true freshman rushing mark posted by former UA great Hubie Oliver in 1977. Oliver, who broke on to the scene when he rushed for 141 yards on 21 carries against New Mexico, followed up? with 186 yards on 29 carries (6.4 ypc) a week later against UTEP.
Top True Freshman Rushing Performances at Arizona

Hubie Oliver ?UTEP, 1977 29-186, TD
Nic Grigsby ?Washington State, 2007 30-186 (Rec. TD)
Vance Johnson ?Fresno State, 1981 24-183
Ontiwaun Carter ?Oregon State, 1991 15-160, 3 TD
Clarence Farmer ?at USC, 2000 22-134, TD

Gaining Ground in Large Chunks
Through the first seven games of the season the Wildcats have racked up 47 plays of 20 yards or more (6.7 per game) and have scored on 10 of those plays. Arizona has amassed 28 passes, 12 kickoff returns, two rushes, two interception returns and a fumble of 20 or more yards. In 12 games last year UA finished with 55 total plays of 20 or more yards and scored on only seven of them. Individual leaders for this season are Mike Thomas (13 total, 3 rush, 7 pass, 3 KR, 3 TD), Devin Ross (11 total, 10 KR, 1 INT), Terrell Turner (6 total, 6 pass, 2 TD) and Rob Gronkowski (4 total, 4 pass, 2 TD). Thomas is the current career leader with 35 plays of over 20 yards in his two-plus seasons at UA.
Thomas' Big Plays (20+ yard)

Year Total Pass? Rush? KR? TD?
2005 13 13 0 0 3
2006 9 6 2 1 1
2007 13 7 3 3 3
Totals 35 26 5 4 7

Rumbling Rob
True frosh TE Rob Gronkowski provided one of the top highlights in Arizona's 47-20 win over Washington State last weekend, the first-year starter caught a pass from QB Willie Tuitama, turned up-field and rumbled 57 yards for a TD, knocking over would-be tacklers from the 30-yardline on-in in the process. The reception was the longest in his short but very promising UA career and his third career score. Although he has only played just seven games, Gronkowski is already statistically placing himself among the top TEs in school history. A look at what Gronk has done through seven games against the career totals of some of the best TEs UA has had to offer over the years.

Player Years ?Receptions Yards? TDs?
Ron Beyer ?75-78 ?53 ?811 ?7
Mark Keel ?81-82 ?59 ?856 ?6
Gary Parrish ?84-85 ?28 ?366 ?1
Richard Griffith ?89-92 ?35 ?358 ?2
Mike Metzler ?94-96 ?34 ?497 ?6
Mike Lucky ?95-98 ?43 ?563 ?4
Brandon Manumaleuna ?97-00 ?40 ?544 ?3
Steve Fleming ?01-04 ?50 ?584 ?4
Brad Wood ?03-06 ?41 ?413 ?7
Rob Gronkowski ?07- ?10 ?217 ?3

Money Mike Notes
Junior WR ˇ®Moneyˇ? Mike Thomas is quickly making his way up both the single season and career receiving charts (see left) ... First in the Pac-10 in receptions per game (7.14) and is seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game (72.3) ... Is eighth in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (109.9) ... Has caught six TD passes this season to surpass his previous career high of five set in 2005 ... Needs just three more receptions and 266 yards this year to pass his single-season highs of 52 catches and 771 yards set in 2005 ... He recorded back-to-back 100-yard receiving games against New Mexico and Cal earlier this season. His next 100-yard game will be a single-season high for his career ... He caught at least one TD in four straight games (NAU-WSU) ... Has twice set a single-game high with two TD grabs (NAU and WSU) ... Has at least one reception in each of the last 19 games played ... Has caught at least one pass in 39 of 40 career games, with the one no-catch game coming against Arizona State in 2005 when he had a full cast on his left hand served the entire game as a decoy ... If he stays on his current pace of 7.14 receptions, 72.3 yards and .86 TD per game, heˇ?ll wrap up the 12-game regular season with 85 catches for 868 yards and 10 scores ... has 2,275 career all-purpose yards largely on the strength of pass receiving. He's never been the featured kick or punt returner but has chipped in a few yards there plus 219 rushing yards (12.2 ypc) to get to the figure. He should end up in the Arizona career Top 10 all-purpose leaders at his current 1,000-yard receiving pace this year. He needs 1,520 yards to supplant Chuck Levy at No. 10 (3,795 from 1991-93).?

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