14 Bowl Game Ticket Information
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Cats to Host Pac-10 Leading Cal Bears
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/13/2008
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 13, 2008

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*** NOTE: Kickoff was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. prior to being selected for a live TV broadcast by FSN Arizona and Comcast SportsNet West. The game will now kickoff at 7 p.m. ***

Cal
vs. Arizona Fast Facts

First Meeting: 1978 (California 33 - Arizona 20 in Tucson)

Last Meeting: 2007 (California 45 - Arizona 27 in Berkeley)

Series: California leads 13-12-2

 

Cal vs. Arizona Series Notes: Arizona's most closely played series against any Pac-10 opponent, UA and Cal have played to a near dead even draw - 13-12-2 - in 27 all-time meetings as Cal took the lead with a 45-27 win a season ago ... In games played in Tucson, the series is knotted up at six wins apiece ... With how tight the all-time series record is, it certainly comes as no surprise that over half (14 of the 27) of games played between the pair have been decided by seven points or less, and that there have been two ties and two overtime games (each team is 1-1) ... The Wildcats snapped a three-game losing streak to the Golden Bears with a 24-20 upset over the No. 8-ranked team in the land in 2006 ... Cal and Arizona had never met on the football field prior to UA joining the Pac-10 in 1978 ... Arizona's largest margin of victory against Cal was a 17-point win in 1986 (33- 17) ... Cal's largest margin of victory was a 38-0 whitewashing of the Cats in 2004.

 

Some Game Themes: The Conference leader comes to Tucson with hopes of staying as the lone squad unbeaten in league play, while host Arizona works to stay in the Pac-10 upper division... The Cats try to get back on track after a disappointing narrow loss at Stanford, while the Bears come refreshed off a bye, on a two-game winning streak... The Cardinal rushed for 286 yards against Arizona, a factor that may not go unnoticed by the Jahvid Best-endowed team fom Berkeley... UA works to re-ignite the goal-line offense that had helped it score 22 red-zone touchdowns before last week's three field-goal visits...  UA's spread against the Bears' national No. 9 pass efficiency defense... Cal's mix against UA's No. 9 total defensive unit... A pair of 100-yard rushers (105.3 ypg) in Best and Arizona's Nic Grigsby (102.3)... UA quarterback Willie Tuitama works, in part, against one reason for the Bears' PED rating -- cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson (3 interceptions)... Watch out during kicking plays: Arizona all-purpose back Mike Thomas checks out his return game against a quality individual and net punting team, while counterpart Thompson does the same against Arizona's kicking unit... Jahvid Best comes in ranked seventh nationally with a 31.6 KOR mark and ranked No. 1 in the nation with a 215-yard all-purpose average...   

Hispanic Heritage weekend on the UA campus.

 

Cal vs. Arizona 2007 Flashback: California capitalized on some quick momentum and UA mistakes and the Golden Bears proved worthy of a No. 6 ranking in beating the Cats, 45-27, in Berkeley. After each team pulled off three-and-outs, an 18-yard Arizona punt put Cal at midfield and the open space led to plays of 27, 14 and nine yards for the first score. UA answered with an 8-play, 53-yard drive for a Jason Bondzio field goal (31 yards), but UC-Berkeley jumped back with four big pass plays to make it 14-3. Two Arizona penalties forced another UA punt, and the flags made the Keenyn Crier 40-yarder only good enough to reach midfield again. Another pair of UA penalties helped move the Bears into scoring position and four Justin Forsett runs put the ball in the end zone. Another UA penalty on the ensuing kickoff return pinned UA deep in its own territory and a sack by Thomas DeCoud forced a Willie Tuitama fumble that Cal scooped for a four-yard TD: That made it 28-3 at the 2:12 mark in the first quarter. Tuitama and the Cats responded, and Willie commenced a nine-play drive capped by freshman halfback Nicolas Grigsby's first rushing touchdown to make it 28-10. The Bears tacked on a field goal and near the end of the second quarter got the first of two interceptions off Tuitama at the Cal 19 yard-line to thwart another Wildcat score. In the second half, a fumble gave Cal a short field again and it struck quickly to make it a four-TD lead, but Tuitama built much of his school-record passing and helped Arizona trim the lead to 38-27 two minutes into the fourth period. To the Bears' credit, they saddled up and rode Forsett on a 74-yard drive built by 68 rushing yards to put the game out of reach. In the end, Cal had 421 total yards on 68 plays, and won the turnover battle 4-2. The Cats managed 330 yards on a season-high 82 plays, but surely could have used scores on two red zone chances that proved awry. UA left Berkeley disheartened but not discouraged after noticing that moving the ball appears a strength and playing mistake-free football will result in some good things.

 

Cal vs. Arizona 2006 Flashback: Junior cornerback Antoine Cason electrified a Homecoming crowd of 55,519 with a fourth-quarter interception return of 39 yards to give Arizona its first lead, and the Cats held on to win and send the No. 8 California Bears packing, 24-20. The interception was one of three for the Cats and represented a simple axiom that proved solid -- take care of the ball and good things will happen. The Cats had no turnovers, were patient and balanced on offense (34 passes, 33 runs), reserved the right to punt (nine), were solid in the red zone (2-2 TDs) and didn't let in-game adversity cause the turmoil it had in the recent past. The Bears' first score -- a 95- yard punt return by DeSean Jackson four minutes into the game -- might have been a dagger earlier in the year, but UA's measure of swagger from its Top 25 victory at WSU a week earlier helped it retain focus. Cal's halftime lead of 17-3, and its array of skill-position weaponry in Jackson, QB Nate Longshore and RB Marshawn Lynch, posed a problem. But Arizona kept at it, marked by solid drives of 75 and 50 yards for scores to tie late in the third period and early in the fourth. Then, with a dozen minutes left, Cason -- earlier in the week named a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, showed why with the huge play. The Bears came within a whisker of re-knotting the game three minutes later, but receiver Lavelle Hawkins fell down in an open field at the 1 yard-line, and Arizona spined up with a superb goal-line stand. Linebacker Dane Krogstad and safety Michael Klyce stopped Lynch for a 1-yard loss, linebackers Spencer Larsen and Ronnie Palmer did it again, and Krogstad knocked down a Longshore pass to force a field goal. The Cats played field position the rest of the way, with punter Nick Folk giving Cal possession at its own 27 and 10 yard lines on two drives. The final one ended with a tipped ball by UA defensive lineman Marcus Smith that Palmer picked off at the UA 20 yard-line. Quarterback Willie Tuitama took a knee two times to end the game. Free safety Corey Hall had a tackle, interception and broke up two passes in his first start for injured Dominic Patrick, and strong safety Klyce came on for injured Michael Johnson and notched five tackles and knocked down a pass plus shared the big tackle in the red zone. Those contributions mirrored the Cats' new chemistry -- confidence and team play in the clutch.

 

Last Week: A strange inability to punch the ball over the goal line helped cost Arizona dearly as the Wildcats took a first league loss, 24-23, at Stanford. UA squandered three first-down trips inside the Cardinal 12 yard-line, coming away with nine points on three field goals. Stanford helped itself with 286 rushing yards behind a pair of 100-yard games by Toby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble, the first two guys to do that in UA's previous 36 games. Arizona had leads in the game (including a fourth-quarter edge), had some momentum in the game, and then had no answer for the Cadinal's final drive -- a manly five-minute, 11-play, 60-yard march for the winning score with less than 30 seconds left. Stanford's previously overmatched defense got a bunch of help from the Cardinal offense, keeping Arizona's league-leading scoring machine off the field. Stanford ran 72 plays to 57 by UA. Arizona did some good things (5.9 yards per play), but the Cardinal did it better (6.1). UA had accurate passing from senior Willie Tuitama (22 for 34, 259 yards), but he couldn't find the end zone. Terrell Turner snared a career-high 10 catches for a career-high 175 yards but none put direct points on the board. The Cats avoided turnovers (despite four fumbles), and turned one defensive takeaway into a score - a 75-yard interception return by safety Nate Ness - but did not play good enough team defense to thwart the Cardinal attack. Arizona could muster only 77 net rushing yards and that was a factor in the goal line. Meantime, the Cardinal average 6.0 yards per tote, thanks in large part to a 70-yard run by Kimble to set up the tying score at 17 apiece in the third quarter. Arizona suffered a lull in that stretch, compiling 26 yards in total offense on 12 plays in the period. Six penalties against UA tied its season high after seven total in the three previous games. The Cardinal used three different quarterbacks in the game with starter Tavita Pritchard completing 76 percent of his 17 throws for 113 yards and a score, and Alex Loukas leading the team in the final scoring drive with some option play.

 

30 Is The Magic Number: Football is a pretty simple game in that the team that scores the most points wins. For Arizona, 30 points is usually enough to do just that. Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, the Wildcats have played exactly 100 games in which they have scored 30 or more points. Their record in those games? An astounding 91-8-1. That record includes a streak of 17 consecutive victories when scoring at least 30 points, including a 13-0 mark under Mike Stoops. For the record, Arizona is 4-0 in such games this season.

 

Benchmark For Success: Looking for another key stat that separates wins from losses for the Wildcats? Well look no further than the rushing yards column in each game's box score. Yes, the pass-happy Wildcats, who broke nearly every school passing record a year ago, often are victorious in games in which they rush for 100 yards or more. Under Head Coach Mike Stoops, Arizona is 15-8 when it rushes for 100 yards or more. But looking closer, the Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12 games (21-20 loss to Stanford in '07) when they reach the century mark, a streak that includes a 7-1 record in offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes' spread offense installed at the beginning of the 2007 season.  On the other hand, Arizona is 6-23 under Stoops when it fails to reach 100 yards on the ground, but two of those victories did come last season when UA used its passing attack to post some points. Bottom line numbers: UA has rushed for an average of 159 yards per game in its 21 wins since 2004 and has rushed for an average of 50.9 yards per game in its 31 losses during the time period.

 

Another Predictor: One more early predictor of UA's success is average field position. The Wildcats have won the field position battle in each of its four wins in 2008, while it has lost that battle in each of their two losses.

  

Top 25 Challenge: No. 25 California will be the first ranked opponent the Wildcats have faced in 2008 and the first since last year's finale against then-No. 13 Arizona State (20-17 loss). The Bears will be the 19th ranked opponent that Head Coach Mike Stoops has faced at Arizona as the Wildcats have posted a record of 5-13 against ranked foes in his tenure. Included was the 24-20 Homecoming victory in 2006 against Cal, a season in which UA went 2-2 against Top 25 teams. A season ago, UA dropped three of four such games. All-time, Arizona holds a 34-87-1 record against ranked teams.

 

Watch For Willie: Barring injury this week, Willie Tuitama is primed to break three Arizona career offensive records on Saturday. Tuitama (7,598) should become UA's all-time leader in passing yardage as he trails Tom Tunnicliffe's all-time record by only 29 yards (7,618). Additionally, Tuitama (1,069) trails Tunnicliffe (1,065) by only four pass attempts on UA's all-time chart. Lastly, Tuitama (7,164) trails Tunnicliffe (7,336) by only 172 yards on the career total offense chart.

 

Watch For Money Mike: Like his classmate, Mike Thomas has a great chance to move up the career ranks on the UA receiving charts. Two more receptions will tie him with Dennis Northcutt, currently No. 2 on the chart, with 223 career receptions. Bobby Wade holds the top spot with 230 career receptions.

 

Red-Faced Zone: The Cats found out how detrimental in-close missed opportunities can be with a 3-for-3 Red Zone mark at Stanford - all field goals. UA had 1st-and-goal at the SU 7 yard-line on its first drive of the game but had to settle for the trey. Arizona had 1st-and-10 at the Stanford 12 yard-line early in the fourth quarter but had to settle for a kick to take a three-point lead, 20-17. And the Cats had 1st-and-goal at the Cardinal 6 yard-line a few minutes later and notched a third Jason Bondzio FG for UA's final points to make it 23-17. The perfect 3-3 effort kept Arizona quite good overall (90%, No. 16 ranked) for the year, but the missed opportunities for bigger points easily helped cost it the game.

 

Turner the Burner: Junior receiver Terrell Turner's 10 catches for 175 yards against Stanford were career bests. It was the second 100-yard game of his career (7-109 against New Mexico in 2007). Since UA adopted the spread offense, Arizona has posted 100-yard games by receivers on 14 occasions -- Turner's pair, Mike Thomas with eight, tight end Rob Gronkowski with a pair, Delashaun Dean with one, and former receiver Anthony Johnson with one. Thomas has four double-digit catches games while Turner added a fifth.

 

There's No Place Like Home: After playing three of the last four games on the road, the Wildcats will return to Arizona Stadium this week as they look to improve on a couple streaks that date back to 2007. Arizona is on a current five-game home winning streak, its longest such streak since it won the final four home games of the 1998 season and the first game of the 1999 season. Since the start of 2007, UA has won seven of its last nine games at Arizona Stadium, including four of five Pac-10 contests.

 

Two Versus The Bear: Arizona senior wide receiver Mike Thomas has 19 catches for 186 yards and one score in three outings against California including last year's 12-catch, 105-yard effort, tying his best for single-game catches... Senior quarterback Willie Tuitama missed the Cal game while ostensibly redshirting as a true freshman in 2005 but started the last two outings against the Bears. He threw a career-high 61 times and completed a career-best 42 throws for 309 yards in Berkeley last year in a game that more or less woke up the Cats' new offense from some first-games slumbering to that point. In all, Tuitama has thrown 95 balls against Cal, completed 59 for 511 yards, two interceptions and one TD (last year). That's a very average 106.55 pass efficiency rating.

 

Touchdown Trends: Arizona has scored 28 offensive touchdowns in 2008 (3 non-offensive) with an even split of 14 rushing scores and 14 passing strikes. Since 1978, when UA joined the Pac-10, only six UA teams have balanced at least 15 rushing TD's and 15 passing TD's in a season. The last Wildcat team to accomplish the feat was the 2001 squad that notched 16 rushing touchdowns and 21 passing scores. In the span, no UA team has ever rushed for 20 touchdowns and passed for 20 scores in the same season.

 

Getting Picky: The Cats have eight interceptions through five games, about the same pace as last year's squad that picked off 15. Sophomore corner Devin Ross had his second career INT against Washington two weeks ago, while Nate Ness returned his seventh career interception 75-yards for his first score. Redshirt freshman Trevin Wade leads with two, both in the first game of the year against Idaho. A good note is the Cats' 20-yard average on the thefts, led by backup safety Joe Perkins' 42-yard return, also versus the Vandals. The Cats have not faced a prolific passing attack. Opponents have averaged 26.5 throws per game and 14.7 completions for a 4.7-yard average per pass and 8.5 yards per completion. Those figures are part of why UA leads the nation in passing defense (ypg at 124.3) and is sixth in pass efficiency defense (92.95).

 

Leaders Ledger: No one's ignorant of the axiom of playing them one at a time, and the head coach gets to heed that precept. But it's not time for the faint of heart and basically the season is here for UA. The Wildcats play four of the next five games against what are (or what appear to be) the league's best teams -- Cal, USC, Oregon and Oregon State. If it wants to be spoken of in the same sentences and paragraphs from here on out, Arizona will have to win some of these games. History means nothing year to year but Arizona beat No. 8 California in Tucson in 2006; it has not beaten USC in the last six tries; it beat No. 2 Oregon a year ago in Tucson; it beat OSU in 2005. Cal and USC in Tucson and an open date cover the next three weeks; at WSU, at Oregon and Oregon State take care of November's slate. UA closes the season Dec. 6 at home against Arizona State.

 

Put Your Money in Bonds: Or, Bondzio. Arizona's senior kicker Jason Bondzio has scored 51 points half way through the year, a potential second straight 100-pointer for the only kicker who ever hit the century mark in an Arizona uniform. Wanting that success is an approach-avoidance problem: who wants to give up TDs for FGs? Nonetheless, Bondzio has connected on his last six field goal tries spanning three games and is 8-for-9 overall, with 27 PATs. Three treys at Stanford matched his career best against Oregon State a year ago. Overall he is 29 of 35, a sparkling 83 percent, which would be an Arizona record better than his Arizona record .807 mark a year ago.

 

Yellow Flags: Arizona hasn't drawn many, checking in at eighth nationally with 32 penalty yards per game and 13th with four penalties per game. Along comes California... Last year UA had eight flags to 14 by the Bears. In 2006 there were 13 penalties in the game between the teams. In 2005 the Cats were flagged 11 times in the Cal game. The Arizona record book's entry for most combined penalties in a game: 29 at California, 1998 -- California 15, Arizona 14.

 

Red-Zone D: Arizona's success in the red zone (90 percent, 16th nationally) matches this week against one of the nation's toughest defenses in that 20-yard area. The Bears have given up nine scores against 16 forays by teams into the zone, seven TDs and two FGs, to rate No. 4 in the country at a .56 ratio. Arizona rates 108th in the FBS in allowing 13 scores on 14 trips by opponents -- seven touchdowns and six field goals. Offensively the Bears are 35th with 15 touchdowns and five field goals in 23 red zone trips.

 

Open but Not in Space? UA senior quarterback Willie Tuitama did not throw for a score last week at Stanford, snapping his streak at 10 consecutive games. In that span he had spun 26 scoring throws. He completed 22 throws for 11.8 yards per completion on The Farm but most of it was in between the 20 yard-lines. 

 

Run-Pass Balance: Arizona's offensive production is a lot more balanced than might be thought. The Cats have passed for 1,550 yards and run for 929. That a ratio of about 3:2 passing. Scoring balance? The Cats have scored 14 rushing touchdowns and 14 through the air. In the Red-Zone? Arizona has scored 12 rushing TDs and 12 passing TDs.

 

Loch Ness Monsters: Safety Nate Ness returned his seventh career interception 75 yards for a score at Stanford last week. That along with a fumble recovery and 14 tackles. The latter were a career high, besting his 10 against Washington in 2007, his first year after a redshirt season in 2006 following transfer from junior college. Ness led a foursome of Cats with double-figure tackles at Stanford, nice but probably indicative of too much work on the field -- fellow safety Cam Nelson with 12, linebacker Sterling Lewis with 12 and linebacker Ronnie Palmer with 10. Nelson's total also is a career high.

 

Silver Lining: Linebacker Sterling Lewis' 12 hits at Stanford kept him atop the UA chart with 48 tackles. The mid-year junior college transfer filled in for injured Xavier Kelley in the Cats' second game and posted his first double-digit game, with 12 tackles against Toledo. He has four starts since.

 

Quarter Scores: Arizona has played 24 quarters of football in 2008 and has scored at least a field goal in 21 of those quarters. The two scoreless quarters? Only zeroes on the board against UCLA (third), Washington (fourth) and Stanford (third) have kept UA from having a perfect mark. Here's a look at how Arizona has spread its points around by quarter:

           

                                    1          2          3          4          Total

            Arizona            54         98         34         55         241      

Opponents       24         29         20         27         100

 

Quick Strikes: Arizona continues to rate highly in terms of its ability to get down the field and put up points. It's not hurry-up offense, it's just a knack for some big plays. Interestingly, despite scoring 48 points against Washington, only one a drive - a two-play, 40 second drive - resulted in a touchdown while consuming less than two minutes of game time. Here's a look at the nation's top teams and their touchdown drives under two minutes:

 

Rank    Team            # of Touchdown Drives

             1.    Tulsa                                 21

             2.    Missouri                            18

             3.    Oregon                              16

                   Oklahoma State                  16

             5.    La.-Lafayette                      15

 6.    Rice                                  14

             7.    Arizona                             13

 

In a Rush For TD's: No, this is not another note on Arizona's track recording of quick scoring drives; rather, this note about the 14 rushing touchdowns that the Cats have scored this season. A year ago, the Wildcats rushed for seven (7) touchdowns on the entire season, a figure that sophomore Nic Grigsby has surpassed single-handedly with nine TD's this year. The 14 ground scores also surpasses the total rushing touchdowns scored by each of the last four Arizona squads (2004-2007). Of the 14 rushing scores in 2008, 10 of them have come in goal-to-gain situations.

 

Nic Ticking: Sophomore running back Nic Grigsby has put himself in position for a 1,000-yard rushing season, last accomplished at UA by Clarence Farmer (209-1,229) in a first-team All-Pac-10 year in 2001. Still with six games to go, Grigsby (614 yards) is over the half-way point, but the toughest defenses remain on the schedule. But his 5.8 yards per tote and about 20 carries per game give him a decent shot. A year ago Grigsby totaled 704 yards in seven starts (10 games), so it's do-able... Nic's nine rushing touchdowns are better still. Farmer had 10 in 2001, the most recent runner in two digits. Before that it was Trung Canidate with 11 rushing TDs in 1999. Before him it was Kelvin Eafon with 16 (and Candidate with 10) in 1998. The Arizona record is 21 by Art Luppino in 1954.

 

Sterling Start: Linebacker Sterling Lewis has not wasted any time emerging as one of UA's top defensive players. Lewis has started each of UA's last four games after filling in for Xavier Kelley who was held out of the New Mexico game with an ankle injury. Through five games, Lewis leads the Cats with 48 tackles.

 

Double D: Sophomore receiver Delashaun Dean posted his first career 100-yard receiving game with a 6-106 effort and a score at Albuqurque in September. His previous high for yards was his debut game at BYU last year with four snares for 88 markers. His single-game high for catches is an 8-for-51 game against Stanford a year ago. He has a reception in each of his 17 career games and a total of 61.

 

2 X 100: Receivers Mike Thomas (136 yds) and Delashaun Dean (106 yds) each surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark against New Mexico, becoming the first UA receiving duo to accomplish the feat in 2008. The last time two Cats went over the 100-yd mark in the same game came against, interestingly, New Mexico in 2007, when three players tallied 100 yards or more (Mike Thomas 7-137, Terrell Turner 7-109, and Anthony Johnson 3-117).

 

They're Taking Notice: Antoine Cason won the Jim Thorpe Award last year, now a host of other Wildcats are on the early watch lists for major college football awards. Eight different Wildcats are on pre-season watch lists for awards:

 

QB Willie Tuitama - Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)/Davey O'Brien Award (Top QB)

WR Mike Thomas - Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)

OT Eben Britton - Outland Trophy (Top Interior Lineman), Rotary Lombardi Award (Top Lineman)

P Keenyn Crier - Ray Guy Award (Top Punter)

Jason Bondzio - Lou Groza Award candidate (Top Kicker)

C Blake Kerley - Rimington Trophy (Top Center)

TE Rob Gronkowski - John Mackey Award (Most Outstanding Tight End)

LB Ronnie Palmer - Butkus Award (Top Linebacker)

 

Sterling Start: Linebacker Sterling Lewis has not wasted any time emerging as one of UA's top defensive players. Lewis has started each of UA's last four games after filling in for Xavier Kelley who was held out of the New Mexico game with an ankle injury. Through five games, Lewis leads the Cats with 48 tackles.

 

Double D: Sophomore receiver Delashaun Dean posted his first career 100-yard receiving game with a 6-106 effort and a score at Albuqurque in September. His previous high for yards was his debut game at BYU last year with four snares for 88 markers. His single-game high for catches is an 8-for-51 game against Stanford a year ago. He has a reception in each of his 17 career games and a total of 61.

 

2 X 100: Receivers Mike Thomas (136 yds) and Delashaun Dean (106 yds) each surpassed the 100-yard receiving mark against New Mexico, becoming the first UA receiving duo to accomplish the feat in 2008. The last time two Cats went over the 100-yd mark in the same game came against, interestingly, New Mexico in 2007, when three players tallied 100 yards or more (Mike Thomas 7-137, Terrell Turner 7-109, and Anthony Johnson 3-117).

 

They're Taking Notice: Antoine Cason won the Jim Thorpe Award last year, now a host of other Wildcats are on the early watch lists for major college football awards. Eight different Wildcats are on pre-season watch lists for awards:

 

QB Willie Tuitama - Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)/Davey O'Brien Award (Top QB)

WR Mike Thomas - Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)

OT Eben Britton - Outland Trophy (Top Interior Lineman), Rotary Lombardi Award (Top Lineman)

P Keenyn Crier - Ray Guy Award (Top Punter)

Jason Bondzio - Lou Groza Award candidate (Top Kicker)

C Blake Kerley - Rimington Trophy (Top Center)

TE Rob Gronkowski - John Mackey Award (Most Outstanding Tight End)

LB Ronnie Palmer - Butkus Award (Top Linebacker)

 

Willie in the Pac: Willie Tuitama has not only written his name in the UA record books, his arm and UA's spread offense has helped him etch his name into the Pac-10 records and with a similar season in 2008 to the one he had a year ago, he will find himself among the Conference's best. Tuitama is only 1,737yards away from jumping 21 spots (currently No. 26 with 7,589 yards) in the all-time passing yards, which would put him in the top-10 of one of the Conference's most prestigious record books. Currently tied for No. 19 all-time in touchdown passes with 57, he needs 10 more to tie UCLA's Drew Olson, who currently stands at No. 10.  His 2007 total of 3,520 all-purpose yards ranks him No. 11 all-time in single season total yardage, which includes sacks. If he did not lose yards on sacks and only used his total passing yards as the total offense stat (3,683), Tuitama would move himself into the top-10. As is, his single season passing yards total does rank No. 10 all-time, and his 28 touchdown passes in 2007 place him in a tie for No. 14 in a single season. Add in one more scoring toss and he would again find himself in the top-10 of a category.

 

One of the Pac-10's Best: Like the other half of the TNT connection (Tuitama and Thomas), "Money" Mike Thomas is moving up the Pac-10 charts. With 83 receptions in 2007, he ranks No. 15 in single season receptions and his 11 touchdown grabs also place him No. 15 in a single season. Thomas is within striking distance of some career marks, including career receptions. The senior playmaker, who has 221 receptions in three-plus years (currently No. 8 all-time), is only 38 catches away from becoming the Pac-10's all-time receptions leader (Derek Hagen, ASU, 258). And while he currently stands at No. 16 in career receiving yards (2,871), a modest - by his standards - 258 more yards this season will move him into the top-10. Lastly, with five more touchdowns, he will find himself among the top-10 all-time leaders in receiving touchdowns (currently t-No. 25 with 21 TDs).

 

Tuitama's Total Offense: Willie Tuitama's 321 yards passing against New Mexico helped him climb into the No. 3 spot on UA's all-time Total Offense chart. Tuitama currently has compiled 6,923 yards of total offense in his career, and trails only Tom Tunnicliffe (7,336) and Keith Smith (7,049).

 

A New Leader: With his 27 completions against New Mexico, Tuitama (596) surpassed Tom Tunnicliffe as UA's all-time leader in completions (574).

 

Senior Status: Willie Tuitama enters his final campaign at Arizona in elite company on a national level. The Stockton, Calif., native is one of seven quarterbacks across the country that has become a four-year starting quarterback after taking over the starting role in the final four games of his freshman season when he helped UA to wins over Oregon State and a Top-10 UCLA team. Here are the other six four-year starters:

 

Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State

Curtis Painter, Purdue

Mike Teel, Rutgers

Drew Weatherford, Florida State

Pat White, West Virginia

Drew Willy, Buffalo

 

Decoys are for Hunting: Senior receiver Mike Thomas has played in 40 games and caught a pass in 39 of them. His one miss - the final game of his freshman year on Nov. 25, 2005, at Arizona State. In that game he wore a soft but cumbersome cast on a hand, courtesy of an injury a couple weeks earlier. No passes went in his direction, but he drew coverage as expected anyway. Otherwise, Thomas could challenge for the Arizona record for consecutive games catching a pass. That's held by Dennis Northcutt, who posted 42 successive games with a grab after he was switched from true-freshman cornerback to receiver in late October of 1996, through his senior year in 1999... Northcutt (223) and Thomas (221) join leader Bobby Wade (230) in the all-time threesome for career pass receiving at UA. Northcutt was on the Arizona squad that posted the top two Wildcat per-game offense averages of 471.9 yards ('99) and 444.9 ('98), Wade was part of John Mackovic's passing makeover of the UA attack, and Thomas is now part of Mike Stoops' and Sonny Dykes' system that topped the historical chart with 308 yards passing per game last year. Thomas should emerge as Arizona's all-time pass receiver with anywhere near his 83 grabs from a year ago (36 to date in '08), and if he can match his 1,000-yard junior season he'll push for the career figure in yardage as well. (See `Charting Some Cats' elsewhere in this release for the numbers.)  Clearly, there's little doubt you can say `Mike Thomas' in the same Arizona historical context as Northcutt, Wade or Jon Horton and the late Theopolis T. Bell -- among others: playmakers all.

 

Close Calls: Arizona played six games in 2007 that were ultimately decided by seven points or less, including wins at Washington (48-41) and on Homecoming against UCLA (34-27). Unfortunately, UA was on the losing end of such close ball games twice as many times. The Wildcats dropped heartbreakers to New Mexico (29-27), USC (20-13), Stanford (21-20) and Arizona State (20-17). That is four games lost by a combined 13 points (3.25 points per game). In 2008, UA's UA two losses have come by a combined nine points to New Mexico and Stanford.

 

The Graduates: Two Arizona players already have received degrees, placekicker Jason Bondzio in finance and offensive lineman James Tretheway in mathematics. J.B.'s working on a master's degree, while Tretheway is taking an additional bachelor's degree program in economics. Three other letterwinning Wildcats are anticipated to graduate in December -- H-back Brandon Lopez, offensive guard Joe Longacre and offensive lineman Bill Wacholz.

 

Records Check: As one might expect in a 70-0 romp, Arizona broke several school records for offensive scoring output against Idaho. The first record to fall was the 28 year old record for most points scored in a single half (42 points against Pacific in 1980 and against UTEP in 1976) as the Wildcats tallied 49 first-half points.In doing so, UA posted 35 second quarter points, breaking the previous high mark set in 1954 when the Cats scored 29 in the third quarter against New Mexico State.

 

Cloud 9: UA scored 10 - yes, 10 - touchdowns against Idaho on Aug. 30. What can be more impressive than scoring 10 touchdowns in a single game? How about nine (9) different players scoring those touchdowns. Nic Grigsby (2), Mike Thomas, Marquis Hundley, Chris Gronkowski, Keola Antolin, Terrell Turner, Matt Scott, Nick Booth and Xavier Smith all found the endzone in what is believed to be the most individual touchdowns in a single game in UA history.

 

Opening Day Rosters:  Arizona had 16 former players suit up for NFL opening-week games as active roster members. They included linebacker Lance Briggs-Bears, Tedy Bruschi-Patriots, defensive lineman Copeland Bryan-Ravens, defensive lineman Lionel Dotson-Dolphins, cornerback Antoine Cason-Chargers, kicker Nick Folk-Dowboys, running back Chris Henry-Titans, safety Michael Johnson-Giants, linebacker Spencer Larsen-Broncos, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna-Chargers, offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo-Ravens, cornerback Chris McAlister-Ravens, receiver Dennis Northcutt-Jaguars, receiver Syndric Steptoe-Browns and receiver Bobby Wade-Vikings.

 

MOV: Not that any team can or should expect 70-0 performances to be the norm, but UA's 70-point margin of victory last Saturday was a long time coming. It was the largest MOV since 1921 and the third largest in school history. Here's a look at the Top 5 MOV's in UA history:

 

Point Margin                Opponent                     Year                 Score

  1. 74                           UTEP                            1921                 74-0

  2. 73                           New Mexico St.             1916                 73-0

  3. 70                           Idaho                           2008                 70-0

  4. 60                           South Dakota St.           1956                 60-0

  5. 59                           Arizona St.                    1919                 59-0

 

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