Sept 8, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Jason Johnson threw for 304 yards, including a record-setting 99-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall, as Arizona beat Idaho 36-29 Saturday night.
After settling for short passing routes for most of the first half, the Wildcats surprised Idaho (0-2) with Marshall going deep to build a 15-0 halftime lead.
The touchdown with 2:05 remaining in the first half was the longest offensive play in Arizona's history and its fourth longest scoring play.
The Wildcats (2-0) kept the big plays coming as Johnson's 19-yard touchdown pass to Andrae Thurman in the opening minutes of the third quarter appeared to put the game away.
Arizona started to take its starters out by early in the fourth quarter with a 36-7 lead, but Idaho closed it to 36-29 with 52 seconds left when Rossi Martin scored off a tipped pass from John Welsh from 6 yards out.
The Wildcats ran out the clock to give coach John Mackovic a victory in his home debut.
Marshall's TD, which made it 15-0, came on an over-the-shoulder catch near midfield against defender Ighe Evero.
The Wildcats' previous long pass play was a 94-yarder from Bobby Waters to Alonzo Washington against New Mexico in 1987.
Two of the three longer scoring plays in school history belong to Chris McAlister, who had 100-yard kickoff returns in 1996 and 1998 against UCLA and Hawaii. Chuck Cecil had a 100-yard interception return in 1986 against Arizona State.
The school's record running play is a 96-yarder by Trung Canidate in 1997 against San Diego State.
Johnson finished 20-of-30. He also connected on a 50-yard pass play to Bobby Wade midway through the second quarter.
Clarence Farmer, who rushed for 118 yards on 18 carries, had scoring runs of 7 and 1 yards for Arizona, while Leo Mills added a 22-yard TD run in the fourth quarter for a 35-7 lead.
Welsh, who finished 28-of-46 for 349 yards, threw fourth-quarter scoring passes of 8 yards to Martin, 20 yards to Chris Lacy and 25 yards to Ethan Jones.