Sept. 8, 2009
FREE VIDEO: Highlights vs. Central Michigan
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Arizona football season ticket marketing slogan this season was "Let the Games Begin". Now that the games have begun, Wildcat coaches, players and fans are feeling pretty good. An agonizing eight-month layoff between the 2008 Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl victory and the 2009 season opener is now a thing of the past, and the Wildcats are 1-0 on the new season.
Despite the threat of thunderstorms and a 43-minute delay for the opening kickoff, a crowd of 51,683 fans cheered the Wildcats to a 19-6 victory as they shut down one of the most prolific offenses in the nation led by Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour.
"The crowd at Arizona Stadium was fantastic last Saturday," UA athletic director Jim Livengood said. "In recent years, the support for our football program has been growing and we have made Arizona Stadium one of the most electric game day atmospheres in the country."
The crowd was the second-largest ever at Arizona Stadium on a Labor Day weekend, a testament to the excitement for Arizona's 2009 season. In 2006, the 11th-largest crowd ever at Arizona, 58,450, watched as the Wildcats defeated Brigham Young, 16-13, on a last-second field goal by current Dallas Cowboys kicker, Nick Folk.
Arizona fans have been a key part of UA's current run of success in Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats have won eight of their last 10 home games dating back to the end of the 2007 season.
Under Mike Stoops, Arizona has drawn 1,794,765 fans in 35 games since 2004, an average of 51,279 fans per game. Four of UA's top six all-time season-per-game attendance figures have come in the last four seasons under Stoops.
The Wildcats' scoring and defense have been much improved in recent years, bringing victories and increased enthusiasm to Arizona Stadium each home Saturday. Last season, Arizona scored at least 30 points five times and has done so in seven of its last 10 homes games, while opponents have struggled offensively.
In the last eight games in Arizona Stadium, UA's defense has held opponents to a paltry 109 total points (13.6 points per game). The Wildcats have allowed just 49 points in the second half of those games (7.0 ppg), and only California (27) has broken the 20-point barrier for points in a game.
This week, the Wildcats welcome in-state rival Northern Arizona this Saturday at 7 p.m. for what will be the final home game in 35 days, tied for the second longest home game drought in the nation. Fans can purchase tickets to the NAU game online, in-person at the McKale Ticket Office or by calling 520-621-CATS.
Arizona returns home in October for an action-packed slate that includes Pac-10 foes Stanford (Family Weekend, Oct. 17) and UCLA (Oct. 24). In November, UA closes its home slate with a Homecoming matchup against Washington State (Nov. 7) and the finale against Oregon (Nov. 21).
News and Notes:
- Those who attended last Saturday's game may have noticed a new addition to Arizona Stadium: chair-back seats. This year, season ticket holders can purchase their own personal chair-back seat assigned to their specific seating location through www.arizonaseatback.com. Visit the Web site to have yours installed for this week's game!
- The Arizona defense coaching staff has been recognized for guiding the Wildcat defense to a dominating performance against Central Michigan. Led by defensive coordinator Mark Stoops, the UA coaches were recognized by FootballScoop.com as "Game-Changing Coaches".
- Former Arizona All-American and three-time Super Bowl champion Tedy Bruschi will join ESPN as an NFL analyst, the network announced today.
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