TUCSON--The Arizona football team, 2-2, squares off in a key league contest against Washington (3-1) at 7:07 p.m. Saturday in Arizona Stadium.
For UA, it's a matter of maintaining the improvement that saw the program post its best non-conference record in years. For Washington, it's maintaining a slice of the league's upper division and making its own statement about improvement. UA lost its league opener, narrowly, to No. 3 USC last week. Washington put a whack on UCLA to open 1-0. A year ago UA finished 3-8 and UW 2-9.
Both squads have played good teams. UA's schedule has included BYU and LSU, along with the Trojans. The Huskies played Oklahoma and Fresno State, along with the Bruins.
UA officials expect a good crowd. Around 4,000 tickets remained at the close of business Friday. "There are still good seats to be had, but we're pleased that sales went well this week and typically we've had walk-up crowds in the 4,000 range," said marketing and ticketing director James Francis.
"Our student section -- the Zona Zoo -- seems to have settled into a great collective frame of mind -- come to the games because it's a great time. We think the crowd can be a factor for the Cats this week," he said.
A year ago, also in Tucson, Washington spoiled Arizona's perceived 'turned-the-corner' improvement by drubbing the Cats, 38-14, a week after UA had throttled No. 7 UCLA, 52-14. Arizona coach Mike Stoops didn't have to remind the team, but he did. He called the UW game the club's worst of the 2005 season.
The game is a good matchup for both squads. UA feels it showed its promise against USC, while Washington's camp is abuzz with the good start. This is a game each team's principals believe they can win.
Push comes to shove Saturday night under the lights. The game will not be televised, although UW is borrowing UA's scoreboard video feed, sending it on a satellite and showing it live back on campus in Seattle. Arizona fans will have to come in person.
Tickets may be purchased online here at arizonaathletics.com, or at the Arizona Stadium box office beneath the east side stands at North Cherry Avenue and East Sixth Street beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.