Opponent: Brigham Young
Kickoff: 7:15 p.m.
TV: TBS Sports (Chip Caray, Tom Ramsey, David Aldridge)
Radio: 1290 AM KCUB/107.5 FM KHYT (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett, Sean Mooney)
First Meeting: 1936 (
Last Meeting: 1977 (BYU 34 -
All-Time Series Record:
Current Streak: BYU has won the last two meetings between the two
Notes on the Series: Arizona and BYU were conference rivals in the Western Athletic Conference from 1962-77 ... Arizona held a 9-7 advantage over BYU in 16 games as members of the WAC, but the Cougars won the final two meetings before the Wildcats moved to the Pac-10 in 1978 ... This year’s match-up will be just the fourth between the two as non-conference opponents (1936, 1957, 1959, 2006) and the first since Arizona joined the Pac-10 ... The three previous non-conference contests have been played to a draw at 1-1-1 ... Arizona’s longest winning streak in the all-time series is four straight (1970-73), while BYU’s longest win streak is three in a row (1965-67) ... Arizona’s largest margin of victory over BYU was a 33-point win at home against the Cougars in 1964 (Arizona 39-6) ... Arizona’s largest margin of defeat to BYU was a 24-point loss in 1974 (BYU 37-13) in Tucson ... The average margin of victory in the all-time series is 14.3 ... In 12 of the 19 games played between the two, the winning school has won by double digits ... Only two games have been decided by three points or less (1967 - BYU 17-14, 1966 - BYU 16-14).
Some Game Themes...
A renewal of an old rivalry after a hiatus of three decades... A match of
Dating back to 1899, Arizona is 73-24-5 (.740) all-time in the first game of the season ... The Wildcats saw a string of five straight wins on opening day come to an end last season with a 27-24 loss to Utah in Salt Lake City ... Arizona has opened a season against BYU five times previous to this one (1936, 1957, 1959, 1962, 1964), and is 3-1-1 against the Cougars when doing so.
2006 marks the fifth time in the last six years that Arizona will open its season at home (2005 at Utah) ... Dating back to 1988, the Wildcats have won 17 of their last 18 home openers, including the last five straight years, with the lone loss coming to Ohio State in 2000.
A Quick Look at BYU
The Cougars enter the 2006 season with 14 starters returning (8 offense, 4 defense, 2 specialists) from last season’s 6-6 team that lost to Cal in the Las Vegas Bowl ... On offense, three 2005 All-Mountain West Conference players return in QB John Beck, RB Curtis Brown and TE Jonny Harline ... Beck averaged 309.1 yards passing per game last season, a figure that led the MWC and placed him fifth in the nation ... He completed nearly 65 percent of his passes and threw for 27 TDs and 13 interceptions last year ... Brown rushed for 1,123 yards and tied the BYU single-season record for TDs with 16 (14 rush, 2 rec.) ... Harline returns as the Cougars’ leading receiver after snagging 63 passes for 853 yards last season ... At WR the Cougars will need someone to fill the shoes of departed Todd Watkins, who finished the 2005 season with 49 receptions for 678 yards and a team-high nine TD catches ... On defense BYU will not only have to overcome the loss of seven starters, but will also have to see how the new-look 3-4 defense has taken ... 2005 leading tackler Cameron Jensen (84 TT) highlights the returning defenders for the Cougs.
The Pac-10 media predicted that the Wildcats will finish sixth in the conference this season. While it’s no where near where the Wildcats aspire to end the year, at least - as head coach Mike Stoops put it - “It’s better than being picked last”. In fact, UA’s predicted sixth-place finish is the highest the Wildcats have been picked to finish in the preseason poll since 1999 when they were selected to win the Pac-10 after finishing the previous season 12-1 ... Three-time defending conference champ USC was named the team to beat for the fourth straight season ... Arizona will have first crack at ending the Trojans’ Pac-10 record 23-game conference contest winning streak when the two schools meet up on Sept. 23 in Tucson.
Arizona State 5
Oregon State 8
Washington State 9
A Peep at the Schedule
Much like Mike Stoops’ first two years at
In Stoops’ first season of 2004, the Wildcats played seven teams that took part in a bowl game, including BSC Fiesta Bowl champions
Arizona’s Schedule and the Preseason AP Top 25 Sept. 2
RV Sept. 9
at LSU *
8 Sept. 16
NR Sept. 23
6 Sept. 20
NR Oct. 7
at UCLA *
NR Oct. 14
NR Oct. 21
NR Nov. 4
NR Nov. 11
9 Nov. 18
at Ore. *
21 Nov. 25
24 * - 2005 Bowl Team
Home Sweet Home
One thing that could offset the difficulty of Arizona’s schedule is the fact that the Wildcats host four of their first five games of the year at Arizona Stadium, play on the road on back-to-back weekends only once during the year (Oct. 7 at UCLA, Oct. 14 at Stanford) and are slated for seven home games and five roadies in 2006.
Closing the Gap
In 2003, the season prior to Mike Stoops tenure as the head coach,
Before and After
Despite appearing in just five games and making only four starts, sophomore QB Willie Tuitama made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Wildcats at the end of the 2005 season.
Before Willie six games (1-5)
After Willie five games (2-3) Scoring
27.2 First Downs
237.2 Total ?'O’
Sophomore Signal Callers
Including heralded Willie Tuitama, UA has had a host of second-year QBs stand under center over the years. However, one would have to go back to Keith Smith in 1996 to find a sophomore QB that was “the guy” entering the season and played that way throughout. The list of sophomore QBs to make an impact at
Final Team Record
Final Stats (Att-Comp-Int) Tom Tunnicliffe
11 GP, 328-176-14, 2,520 yds, 18 TD Alfred Jenkins
11 GP, 312-156-17, 2,202 yds, 11 TD Ronnie Veal
10 GP, 105-40-3, 669 yds, 4 TD Dan White
11 GP, 231-115-9, 1,548 yds, 13 TD* Keith Smith
11 GP, 193-117-6, 1,450 yds, 11 TD
* Includes White’s stats from the 1994 Fiesta Bowl
As noted below, the
For the first time in recent memory (and maybe even in school history) the Wildcat receiving corps has the ability to go seven-deep with top-of-the-line, quality wideouts. Returners Syndric Steptoe (Sr., career 76 rec., 1,016 yds, 13.4 ypc, 4 TD), Mike Thomas (So., ?'05 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, career 52 rec., 771 yds, 14.8 ypc, 5 TD), Anthony Johnson (Jr., career 45 rec., 509 yds, 11.3 ypc, 3 TD) and B.J. Dennard (Jr., career 8 rec., 95 yds) have been joined by deft true freshmen Terrell Reese (6-foot-4, 195 lbs), Terrell Turner (6-foot-2, 170 lbs) and Delashaun Dean (6-foot-4, 190 lbs). One thing’s for sure, QB Willie Tuitama shouldn’t have any problem finding a pass-grabbing target when looking down field in 2006.
But What about Us?
Along with the exceptional depth in the WR ranks,
Running with the Rock
The 2006 campaign will definitely have a new statistical leader this year. Mike Bell, who became the first player in school history to lead the team in rushing for four straight seasons, has departed for the Denver Broncos in the NFL. Vying to take his and Gilbert Harris’ place in the rushing game is junior Chris Henry, redshirt freshmen Xavier Smith and Terry Longbons, as well as JC transfer Chris Jennings and true freshman Glyndon Bolasky. Henry is the lone UA rusher with any Division I experience, gaining 311 yards with two TDs on 104 career carries.
Down in the Trenches
The Wildcats are building some quality depth along the front lines of the offense. Returning this season are five players (Peter Graniello, Tanner Bell, Erick Levitre, Joe Longacre and Adam Hawes) with a combined 58 career starts between them. Add in redshirt freshmen Daniel Borg, Eben Britton, Blake Kerley and sophomore Bill Wacholz, and the Wildcats have a number of capable players ready to protect the offensive punch this season.
Well actually it’s Nick, but with the way the senior kicker has boomed the ball in the past, maybe a name change is in order. As a junior last season Folk converted on seven of his 11 field goal attempts (64%), including a long of 51 yards, and made 31 of his 33 extra point attempts, including a string of 19 straight successful tries. In the Spring Game last April, Folk kicked a 61-yard FG and he added a 59-yarder in a scrimmage this fall.
Along with putting the ball through the uprights for points, Folk has also proved to have a big leg on kickoffs. He forced the opposition into a touchback on a kickoff 72 percent of the time last year (38 TBs on 53
Kick Off Numbers