TUCSON--Arizona's Chris Jennings, a walk-on junior college transfer, ran for 201 yards and a pair of touchdowns to highlight Arizona's 28-10 victory over Stephen F. Austin Saturday night.
The Cats ran for a total of 263 yards, had senior starter Adam Austin complete 11of 16 passes and lead the team to a pair of scores, and welcomed the return of sophomore quarterback Willie Tuitama, who completed six of nine fourth-quarter throws and led the club on its final two scoring drives to ice the game.
UA stopped the Lumberjacks on seven plays and three plays on their first two possessions, but SFA mounted a 12-play, 80-yard drive to tie the game in the second quarter, scoring on a dive by Louie Runnels after a 21-yard scramble by quarterback Danny Southall put the ball on the 2 yard line.
Cory Long gave SFA a 10-7 lead a few minutes later, taking advantage of a 14-yard punt by UA’s Kyle Mcquown. The Jacks took over at the UA 28 yard-line, drove a couple of yards in a few plays and then had Long boot a 37-yard field goal.
The Wildcats answered with a four-minute drive to regain the lead, 14-10, with two minutes left in the half, with
Head coach Mike Stoops said after the game that Jennings already was tabbed to be put on scholarship, with paperwork to be completed this week.
Arizona held the Lumberjacks to just 76 yards in the second half, but couldn't pull away, with three stalled drives in the third quarter, two ending on punts and one on an Austin interception by Greg Meinzer after a tipped ball.
But its two fourth-quarter drives were more cohesive -- the first an eight-play march of 58 yards capped by
Steptoe on 1st-down catch
The Cats had good numbers from redshirt freshman running back Xavier Smith, with a young career-high 10 carries for 57 yards.
Receiver Mike Thomas (5-47), tight end Brandyn McCall (career-high four catches for 35 yards) and Syndric Steptoe (4-26), led the UA in receiving.
Arizona conluded its non-conference slate at 2-1, its best marks in such games since a 3-1 start in 2002.