Kickoff: 2 p.m. (3 p.m. MST)
Site: Martin Stadium (37,600) -
Radio: 1290 AM (Brian Jeffries, Lamont Lovett)
First Meeting: 1963 (
Last Meeting: 2004 (
All-Time Series Record:
Notes on the Series: Arizona and Washington State will be meeting for the 34th time this weekend ... This Pac-10 series resumes after a one-year hiatus ... UA heads to Pullman for the first time since 2003 and just the second time since 1999 ... The Wildcats are 7-4 all time in Pullman and lead the series 9-6 in games played in the state of Washington (2-2 against the Cougs in Spokane) ... Arizona’s longest winning streak in the all-time series is four straight, accomplished twice from 1982-1986 and again from 1993-96 ... Washington State is looking to extend its longest winning streak of four straight (2001-2004) with a victory on Saturday ... UA’s largest margin of victory against WSU was a 39-point win in 1983 (45-6) ... WSU’s largest margin of victory over Arizona is 27 points, accomplished in 2001 (48-21) ... The average margin of victory in the all-time series is 12.8 points, however in nine of the last 13 meetings between the two schools, the game has been decided by 10 or fewer points, including two by six points, three by three points and two by a single point ... Two of those 13 contests have gone into OT, including a three-overtime game in 2000.
Some Game Themes...
Arizona started its third different QB of the season as WR Anthony Johnson took UA’s opening snaps from center ... Sr Syndric Steptoe scored his second career TD on a punt reutrn, racing a career-long 67 yards for a quick six ... LB Dane Krogstad picked off his first career pass and returned it 29 yards ... RB Chris Henry caught a career-best eight passes for a career-high total of 87 yards ... PK/P Nick Folk booted a career-long 78-yard punt and finished the contest with a 49-yard average on six punts ... He also added a 30-yard field goal and pushed his streak to 21 straight successful PAT conversions dating back to last season ... After surrendering 171 yards of total offense and 10 first downs in the first quarter, the Arizona defense buckled down and gave up just 161 yards and nine first downs over the final 45 minutes of play ... FS Dominic Patrick record personal highs for tackles (9) and solo stops (8) ... DT Lionel Dotson finished with the most solo stops in his career (5) ... The two interceptions by Krogstad and Marcus Hollingsworth marked a season-high for the Cats.
A Quick Look at
With just three games remaining, the Cougars (6-3, 4-2) welcome the Wildcats to Pullman as a bowl-eligible team having accumulated the necessary six wins for the year ... WSU has won two straight games and three of its last four ... The Cougs most recently went on the road and defeated UCLA, 37-15 ... Offensively, the Cougars enter the week of play ranked 17th in the nation in total yards (.413.89), gaining 262.11 yards per game through the air and 151.78 on the ground. WSU is 16th in the nation in passing offense ... QB Alex Brink averages 240.22 yards of total offense per game and has the third-best passer efficiency in the Pac-10 (138.85) ... Michael Bumpus and Jason Hill are the preferred targets for Brink, averaging 6.11 and 4.33 receptions per game ... The Cougs share the work load on rushing with Dwight Tardy (55.22 yards per game), Derrell Hutsona (41.22) and DeMaundray Woolridge (38.88) splitting the duties ... Defensively, WSU gets after the opposing QB averaging 3.22 sacks per game - a figure that ranks 12th nationally and third in the conference ... For the year, Wazzu is allowing an average of 341.0 yards per game (105.33 on the ground and 235.67 through the air) ... Individually, DE Mkristo Bruce is a force along the line, averaging better than a sack per game (1.11), a figure that places him fifth in the nation and second in the Pac-10 ... Head coach Bill Doba is in fourth season as the main man in Pullman and has put together a 25-19 record heading into the weekend.
Sharing the Duties
The week prior to
The knock on UA’s running game by many of the pundits heading into the season was their proclivity to fumble the ball. RB coach Kasey Dunn focused on holding onto the rock during preseason camp, and his charges have taken heed. On 199 total touches this season (176 rushes, 23 receptions) not a single
The Last 10 Years, Through Eight Games
TDs Allowed 1997
- Numbers in () are minus the three TDs the opposition has scored on interception returns.
- Only the 1997 (3) , 2002 (2) and 2006 (2) teams played at least two games in their first eight vs. Top 10 opponents.
It’s Better Then It Looks
Holding Them Down
Pac-10 Odds and Ends
The 52 yards of total offense allowed to Stanford on Oct. 14 marked the fewest yards surrendered, the fewest yards per play by an opponent (1.6) and the fewest first downs allowed (4) by a Pac-10 school this season ... The Cardinal’s 19 rushing attempts, 13 passes attempted and eight passes completed are tied for the second-fewest by a Pac-10 team ... The Wildcats also own the best punting average in a game this season when Nick Folk and Kyle McQuown teamed up for a 52.0 average against BYU in the season-opener ... Individually, Chris Jennings’ 201 yards rushing against Stephen F. Austin is the second-most yards on the ground by a Pac-10 running back in a game this year, and his two rushing TDs against the Lumberjacks is tied for the second-most by a conference rusher ... Nick Folk’s four FG tries against BYU in the season opener is tied for the second-most by a Pac-10 PK this season ... His 52-yard FG against Washington is the third-longest in the conference this year ... Folk’s nine punts and his 408 yards punted against Washington are atop the conference charts and his 56.0 average against BYU is the best for any Pac-10 punter.
A Dominant Defensive Effort
The Arizona defense limited Stanford to just 32 offensive plays on Oct. 14 (14 in the first half, 18 in the second half) and four first downs (2 in the first half, 2 in the second) ... The four first downs allowed narrowly missed the Arizona school record of three which has happened three times ... The 52 yards gained by Stanford in the entire contest were the fewest for the Cardinal in school history ... It was also the fewest yards surrendered by a UA defense to a Pac-10 opponent in school history, surpassing the 79 yards given up to Oregon State in 1981 ... The Cardinal’s minus six yards rushing marked the first time UA has held an opponent to negative rushing yards since limiting UCLA to -31 yards in 1999 ... Stanford’s longest drive in the game, time-wise, consisted of six plays for nine yards over 3:24. The Wildcats had six drives the lasted at least that long. Stanford’s longest drive, yards-wise, was three plays for 13 yards in the first quarter that ended with a fumble ... The UA defense held Stanford to a 3:23 time of possession in the second quarter. The Cardinal ran three plays for -7 yards in the frame ... Aside from the interception return for a TD, Stanford did not possess the ball inside of
25 and Counting
Senior WR Syndric Steptoe extended his streak to 25 straight games with at least one catch with two receptions for 24 yards against
Among the Best at
Sr WR Syndric Steptoe’s two receptions against
A Spring in his Step
Senior team captain Syndric Steptoe has proven to be a pain for the opposition throughout his career in his role as wide receiver/kick returner. His 107 all-purpose yards against
Step’s All-Purpose Yards
Linebackers Spencer Larsen (62) and Ronnie Palmer (47) are UA’s top two leaders on the tackles chart, a nice trend compared to a year ago when safety Darrell Brooks had 69 tackles after eight games. Add in linebacker Dane Krogstad’s 30 hits and the trio has a total of 139 tackles. Their combined good health was a hoped-for steady factor this year after they combined to miss 14 contests in 2005. Larsen enters the week of play eighth in the Pac-10 with an average of 7.8 tackles per game, while Palmer comes in tied for 19th in the conference (5.9). An
Living Up to the Name
Special teams coach Joe Robinson has turned UA into a unit that truly has become special. The Wildcats enter the weekend of play ranked fourth nationally in the fewest yards allowed per kickoff return (15.5), 23rd in kickoff returns (23.5 ypk) and net punting average (37.5 ypp) and 27th in punt returns (11.8 ypp). Individually, Robinson has coached punter/place kicker Nick Folk to the top spot in the Pac-10 and No. 6 nationally in punting average (45.2 ypp), and he also averages better than one field goal per game (1.13). Senior return specialist Syndric Steptoe is 15th nationally in punt return average (13.10) and 25th nationally in kickoff return average (25.33).
Now How About on Kickoffs?
Senior Syndric Steptoe returned a punt a career-best 67 yards for a score against
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. The multi-talented kicker is headed for a season of double duty as the place kicker and punter for the Wildcats. His season debut against BYU certainly showcased his talents as he connected for a career-best three field goals (30, 22, 48), including the game-winner with one second remaining, while also booting four punts for a net average of 56 yards per kick. He most recently posted a career-long 78-yard punt against
Known for having a big leg on field goals (career-long 53 yards) and kickoffs (74 career touchbacks), his punting prowess came out of necessity for the Wildcats. After punter Danny Baugher went down with a season-ending knee injury in the Wildcats’ seventh game last year, Folk took over the punting duties to go along with his normal place kicking chores. As the “fill in” punter over the last season and a half, all Folk has done is average 45.0 yards per kick (Baugher, a finalist for the 2005 Ray Guy Award, average 47.5 net yards per punt), hit a career-high 78-yarder and place 20 of his 67 kicks inside the opposition’s 20 yard-line. Not too shabby for a guy that rarely practices punting.
No Return Policy
Senior PK Nick Folk has taken the words “kickoff return” completely out of the opposition’s vocabulary. On 27 kickoffs this season, Folk has seen just five of them returned, and one was a squib kick at the end of the BYU game on Sept. 4. Since ending the 16-13 win over the Cougars, Folk has kicked off 22 times over UA’s last seven games, and has seen 19 of the 22 go through the end zone as unreturnable.
One of the Few
Senior Nick Folk is one of seven players on the Division I-A level that handles all of the kicking duties - kickoffs, field goals, PATs and punting - for his team. A look at how Nick stands up against his “brethren”.
KO Nick Folk, Arizona
27-22TB John Deraney, NC State
32-11TB Chris Gould, Virginia
36-18TB Greg Johnson, Texas
34-10TB Matt Lasher, Ohio
41-11TB Ryan Succop, S. Carolina
40-15TB Sam Swank, Wake Forest
Nick Folk Named Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week
Senior Nick Folk was named the Sept. 4 Pac-10 ST POW after booting a career-best three field goals, including the game-winner from 48 yards out in the waning moments, in Arizona’s 16-13 win over visiting BYU in front of a capacity 58,450 fans at Arizona Stadium on Sept. 2. The senior accounted for 10 of UA’s 16 points in the contest, connecting on field goals of 22, 30 and 48 yards on the night and adding one PAT. Folk handed the Wildcats their sixth-straight home-opening win when he capped off the night with his game-winning