Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
2007-10-22 Football Notes at Washington
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: October 22, 2007
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Arizona Game Notes as a PDF

Opponent: Washington
Kickoff: 12 p.m.
Site: Seattle, Wash. - Husky Stadium (72,500)
Television: None
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 pair of teams looking to rebound after some devastation last week -- UA fumbling away chances to beat Stanford and Washington being overrun by Oregon... UA's defense, rated 31st against the run (117 ypg), takes on UW's agile quarterback Jack Locker, averaging 77 rushing yards himself on a team putting up 159 yards per contest... Arizona's spread against a defense ranked 107th, albeit skewed by Oregon's whopping 600-plus last week... Two teams that use and need solid team punting (UA-16th, UW-18th) to put themselves in position to win... Arizona looks to snap a three-game league losing streak at one of the four Pac-10 road venues where it has won under Mike Stoops, and the locale where he won his first Pac-10 contest in 2004... UW looks for its first Pac-10 victory of the year and works to snap a five-game losing streak...

Last Week
Arizona had three drives of 80-plus yards and put up 17 points, but couldn't master some other opportunities in dropping a narrow decision, 21-20, to Stanford before a Parents' Day crowd of 55,270 in Tucson. UA missed a short field goal late in the third quarter, couldn't convert on 4th-and-1 at the SU 43 yard-line with just under four minutes remaining, and fumbled away its final chance at a comeback. Both teams had some offensive problems -- a combined 12 three-and-outs -- although Arizona put up the edge with a doable margin, 368 to 277, but the big plays fell on the side of the team in crimson and white instead of cardinal and navy. It started with the appearance that UA could control, with a solid stop then an 87-yard drive for Jason Bondzio's first field goal, and an 84-yard drive for a 10-0 lead on a double-reverse TD run by receiver Mike Thomas four minutes into the second quarter. But Stanford picked off Willie Tuitama near midfield shortly thereafter and Tavita Pritchard hit Richard Sherman for a 33-yard TD pass, and then UA missed on its first of two fourth-down conversions and the Cardinal took over from midfield for a nine-play drive and a 14-10 halftime lead. Arizona opened the second half with an 11-play, 85-yard touchdown drive keyed by Nic Grigsby's 35 rushing yards to regain the lead, and added a Bondzio career-long 49-yard field goal to make it 20-14 after three periods. The fourth stanza wasn't fun for the UA faithful. UA was stopped on a three-play drive, with Grigsby losing three yards on 3rd-and-1, and Keenyn Crier's 40-yard punt was returned 16 yards to near midfield by Chris Hobbs. The Cardinal saddled up for an 11-play drive to regain the lead for good, 21-20, with Jason Evans and backups Tyrone McGraw and Jason Stewart rushing for the final 14 yards on five carries into paydirt. UA then lost the ball on a no-gain 4th-and-1 keeper by Tuitama and, a catch-and-fumble on a first-down play on its next possession. Later, operators burned only one second off the clock on a take-a-knee 4th-and-6 play by Stanford to give UA two seconds and an 86-yard field. A hook and lateral play got some final UA yards but not nearly enough, and UA actually fumbled on the end of the play. The result spoiled the Cats' defensive effort, led by linebacker Spencer Larsen's 14 hits, and interception and a forced fumble, and a career-best nine by defensive tackle Lionel Dotson. Bondzio's missed 29-yarder snapped his streak of made field goals at seven. True freshman Grigsby had the second 100-yard game of his young career with 24 totes for 126. Redshirt freshman receiver Delashuan Dean had a career-high eight catches. Tuitama hit redshirt freshman TE A.J. Simmons for his first catch and first score.

Notes from Stanford
Mike Thomas scored the first rushing TD of his career on a double-reverse in the second quarter ... Thomas also extended his consecutive games with a catch streak to 20 straight with three receptions for 35 yards ... A.J. Simmons hauled in a TD pass in the third quarter for his first career reception ... Nic Grigsby posted his second career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 126 yards on 24 carries ... Jason Bondzio kicked a career-long 49-yard field goal in the third quarter ... Spencer Larsen followed a 17-tackle performance against USC with 14 stops against Stanford ... Larsen also intercepted his second career pass ... Lionel Dotson recorded a career-high nine tackles and posted a sack to raise his season total to a team-best 5.5 for year ... Nate Ness picked off his second career pass ... Arizona recorded just one first down in the fourth quarter ... Delashaun Dean caught a career-high eight passes ...

Washington and Arizona Fast Facts
First Meeting: 1978 (Washington 31 - Arizona 21 in Seattle, Wash.)
Last Meeting: 2006 (Washington 21 - Arizona 10 in Tucson, Ariz.)
All-Time Series Record: Washington leads 16-6-1
Arizona vs. Washington All-Time: The 24th all-time meeting between the two schools? ... Washington owns a 16-6-1 edge in the 23 games played thus far and has won the last meeting between the two ... Arizona is just 2-9 against Washington in Husky Stadium, but won the last time it played there in 2004.

Arizona-Washington- The Last Time Out
Washington scored 21 points in just over six minutes leading up to halftime and defeated the Wildcats 21-10 in Tucson last season ... Departed UW QB Isaiah Stanback threw for 293 yards and two TDs and rushed for 47 more yards to lead the Huskies to victory ... Arizonaˇ?s Willie Tuitama completed a then-career-high 24 passes and threw for 308 yards with one TD.

Noting the Huskies
The Huskies enter the weekend of play in the midst of a five-game losing streak after opening the season 2-0 ... Washington most recently fell to Oregon 55-34 last weekend in Seattle ... As a team, Washington is averaging 27.0 points per game and allowing 32.1 ... UW is posting 338.7 total yards of offense (158.7 rushing, 180.0 passing) and is surrendering 465.3 yards (240.1 rushing, 224.6 passing) to the opposition ... Individually, redshirt frosh QB Jake Locker is the leading playmaker for the Huskies, averaging 170.4 yards passing and a team-high 76.7 yards rushing per game this season ... Locker has thrown for 11 TDs and rushed for six more ... Defensively, E.J. Savannah leads the Huskies with 70 total tackles this season ... Daniel Teˇ?o-Nesheim is the leading sack-man with 4.5 QB-gets ...? Head coach Tyrone Willingham is in his third season at UW and has posted 9-20 record in Seattle.

The L-Train Line
Senior tackle Lionel Dotson has more sacks, 5.5, than any interior defensive lineman at Arizona since eventual edge-rusher Joe Tafoya played inside as a junior in 1999 and notched 10. Since then, no tackle had more than four. The L-Train's overall 35 tackles are a career season-best for him, eclipsing the 31 he notched a year ago. Dotson had a career-high nine hits against Stanford last week, with two tackles for loss and a sack. That came on the heels of his then career-high of seven at USC on Oct. 13. His play in the last two weeks has been one reason UA held both opponents at 276 yards in total offense. Lionel's season total of 35 tackles is the most by a DT since Carlos Williams notched the same number in 11 games in 2004 -- both the highest totals in the past 10 seasons. The most recent higher number came from Joe Salave'a in 1997, with 46 and 11.5 sacks. Joe earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors that year as a fifth-year senior.

G-Man Chasing C-Farm's High
True freshman Nic Grigsby has 481 net rushing yards, with a solid 4.9 yards per carry figure (99 tries). That puts him in stead for a run at former UA back Clarence Farmer's all-time freshman rushing mark of 666 yards (138 carries) in 2000 when he earned Freshman All-America honors from The Sporting News. Farmer and Ontiwaun Carter are Arizona's only true freshmen to have three 100-yard rushing games as first-year players. Nic has a pair. Carter ran for 606 yards on 113 carries in a rushing-dominated offense (528 runs, 198 passes) in 1991.
Top True Freshman Running Seasons at Arizona

Clarence Farmer 2000 138-666, 5 TD
Vance Johnson 1981 123-654, 6 TD
Ontiwaun Carter 1991 113-606, 4 TD
Hubie Oliver 1977 95-519, 1 TD
Nic Grigsby 2007 99-481, 1 TD

An End to Have Around

Junior receiver Mike Thomas is Arizona's second-leading rusher with 136 net yards on nine carries -- 15 yards per pop on end-around goods. He had a 21-yard touchdown on a double reverse against Stanford and earlier a 39-yard run against NAU when he gained 80 total yards on four carries. The plays are effective, with only one of his carries resulting in a loss, of one yard.

Start Me Up
Senior CBs Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot have started every single game in their respective careers - 42 straight to be exact ... Senior OL Peter Graniello has started 41 of a possible 42 games in his four-year career ... Six offensive players (Graniello, OL Joe Longacre, WR Mike Thomas, QB Willie Tuitama, C Blake Kerley and OL Eben Britton) and seven defenders (Cason, Fontenot, LB Spencer Larsen, DT Lionel Dotson, DT Yaniv Barnett, LB Ronnie Palmer and SS Cam Nelson) have started all eight games for the Wildcats this season ... Through eight games the Wildcats have lost only a combined five starts to injury this year (three by FS Dominic Patrick and two by WR Terrell Turner).

Spencer for Hire
Spencer Larsen, the heart and sole of the linebacking corps, has turned up an already impressive game the last two weeks. Against USC and Stanford, the senior has posted 31 total tackles, including 20 solo stops and 6.5 for losses, and he has forced a fumble and picked off a pass - His second career INT. Larsen currently leads Arizona in both tackles (80 TT - 46 ST, 34 AT) and tackles for loss (8.5). His 10.0 tackles per game average thus far places him in a three-way tie for second in the Pac-10 this season and his projected 120 tackle season would make him the first Wildcat defender to go over 100 tackles for a season since Marcus Bell posted 124 total stops in 1999 ... Larsen needs just 10 more tackles this season to eclipse his career season-high of 89 tackles established last year.?

Picking It
Redshirt junior Nate Ness has done a nice job in filling in for injured Dominic Patrick. He's second to Antoine Cason (3) with two interceptions and has seven tackles in the last two games. Junior Michael Klyce started for Patrick at Oregon State and chipped in with 10 tackles and two PBUs. Patrick, one of the team's top hitters, could be back this week or next.

Staring-at-the-Stats Notes
The Wildcats have scored 203 points in eight games thus far, which has already surpassed the 12-game total of 199 last year ... Lionel Dotson has recorded a sack in four straight games ... Three of Arizonaˇ?s six losses this season are by a touchdown or less, including a two-point loss to New Mexico and last weekˇ?s one-point defeat to Stanford ... The Wildcats have held a lead heading into the fourth quarter each of the last two weeks but couldnˇ?t hold on for a victory either time. The Cats were shut out in the final frame each time, while allowing 10 fourth-quarter points to USC two weeks ago and seven points to Stanford last weekend ... After a solid start in a pair of games to open the year, UA has hit a wall in the return game. In its last six games the Wildcats have averaged 0.6 yards on 12 punt returns and 18.4 yards on 28 kickoff returns. Meantime, opponents have figures of nine for 10.4 and 23 for 23.8 in the same span ...

All-Purpose Top Five
Nic Grigsby's 262-yard all-purpose game against WSU is UA's top this year. He also has another in the top five, with 141 yards last week against Stanford. Receiver and kick returner Mike Thomas has the others -- 171 yards against NAU, 165 yards at California and 137 against New Mexico. Thomas is UA's all-purpose leader with 105 yards per game and 844 total thanks to his 137 rushing yards, 541 receiving yards and 167 yards on kickoff returns. Grigsby checks in at 99 per game including 113 receiving yards and his 481 rushing markers.

If You Throw It, They Will Score
Not quite, but there is a reality in the numbers. Arizona tight ends Rob Gronkowski, Earl Mitchell and A.J. Simmons have 17 total receptions -- and five of them have gone for touchdowns - that's a rousing 29 percent rate. Sure, some of the scoring throws have gone their way in red zone situations, but Gronkowski's skill is all over the field, with two of his touchdowns coming on 57 and 26-yard plays. Simmons' score came on his first catch ever, against Stanford, on some goal-line play action that left him wide open in the corner. Gronkowski can break free and run over guys. Mitchell is a lead-blocking load with fine hands.

The Long and Most
Here are a couple of single-game or single-play notes involving Arizona and Division I-A this year:
10th-most pass completions single game: Willie Tuitama, 42, at Cal
12th-best punt single-game punt average: Keenyn Crier, 55.0, vs. WSU
15th-most passing yards: WIllie Tuitama, 446 vs. New Mexico
17th-longest punt return in FBS: Antoine Cason, 70 yards vs. NAU
21st-most tackles in a game: Spencer Larsen, 17 at USC
23rd-most catches in a game: Mike Thomas, twice (at Cal and USC)
23rd-most field goals in a game: Jason Bondzio, 3 at OSU
32nd-most all-purpose yards in a game: Grigsby, 262 vs. WSU

Moving the Chains
The Wildcats have recorded 164 total first downs in the first seven games this season (49 rush, 95 pass, 20 penalty), which is already 95 percent of the way towards matching last seasonˇ?s total of 173. Should the Cats continue to move the chains at the current pace (20.5 first downs per game) they would finish the 12-game regular season with 246. The projected sum total for the year would tie for 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 31 first downs on the ground, while Mike Thomas paces the way through the air with 23 receiving first downs.

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 14 of 18 field goal attempts and successfully converting all 23 PAT tries for a team-best 65 points scored, he needs just three points more this season to equal departed PK Nick Folkˇ?s team-high 67 points from last year and just seven 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 11 of his last 12 attempts. He booted a career-long 49-yarder in the third quarter last weekend against Stanford. His kickoffs have been nearly as impressive as he has 17 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 11th nationally with a 444.5 yards per punt average, not too shabby for a newcomer. Crier has placed 13 of his 35 punts inside the oppositionˇ?s 20 yard-line this season and has had five kicks fair caught. At USC on Oct. 13 he placed five of his seven punts inside the 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 en route to being named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. 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 one PBUs of the UA's career chart with 23 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, 51 tackles, a forced fumble and five 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 on Oct. 13? 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.

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. 2 in single-season pass completions (219)
--Is No. 4 in single-season passing attempts (347)
--Is No. 6 in single-season TD passes (16)
--Is No. 6 in single season passing yards (2,294)
--Is No. 6 in career completions (419)
--Is No. 7 in career touchdown passes (32)
--Is No. 7 in career passing attempts (700)
--Is No. 8 in career passing yards (4,734)

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

Rumbling Rob
True frosh TE Rob Gronkowski provided one of the top highlights in Arizona's 47-20 win over Washington State on Sept. 29, 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-yard-line 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 eight games, Gronkowski is already statistically placing himself among the top TEs in school history. A look at what Gronk has done through eight 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- ?12 ?244 ?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 (6.62) and is seventh in the conference in receiving yards per game (68.4) ... Is 10th in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (106.2) ... Has caught six TD passes this season to surpass his previous career high of five set in 2005 ... Has already caught a career season-high 53 passes this year ... Needs just 225 yards this year to pass his single-season highs of 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 20 games played ... Has caught at least one pass in 40 of 41 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 6.6 receptions, 68.4 yards and .75 TD per game, heˇ?ll wrap up the 12-game regular season with 79 catches for 821 yards and nine scores ... He has 2,356 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 244 rushing yards to get to the figure. He should end up in the Arizona career Top 10 all-purpose leaders at his current pace. He needs 1,439 yards to supplant Chuck Levy at No. 10 (3,795 from 1991-93).

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