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Cats Run Past Lumberjacks, 28-10
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 09/17/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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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.

Tuitama, who had practiced only one day this week, Thursday, after being knocked in the head at LSU last Saturday, watched from the sidelines throughout the first three quarters while Arizona battled to build some momentum over Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin.

Jennings, who started in place of junior Chris Henry, who missed the game for undisclosed reasons about which coach Mike Stoops would not elaborate, made the most of his extended playing time. He finished with 26 carries, and lost only four on those carries to net 201. It was the most by a Wildcat since Mike Bell, now a Denver Bronco, had 26 carries for 222 yards against Washington in 2003.

Jennings played at Arizona Western College in Yuma, and joined UA's program without a great deal of fanfare the first day of training camp in August. He has steadily made a bid for a key role since.

Arizona took its first possession and marched 79 yards for the opening score, using a 14-play, seven-minute drive that posted a season-high four third-down conversions. Adam Austin was five for six for 39 yards and running back Jennings capped it with a two-yard run for the touchdown ?- two of his 38 yards on the drive.

Jennings
Jennings gave the Cats their single-game rushing high for the year on the next UA possession, using a 30-yard run to push him over the 60-yard figure, but the drive stalled and Nick Folk missed a 34-yard field goal try, hitting a low line drive wide right.  

 

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 Austin capping the march with his first career touchdown, a one-yard sneak. Jennings went over the 100-yard mark with a  career-best 41-yard run to move the ball deep into SFA territory, and Xavier Smith took over to give him a breather, rushing four times for 15 yards to put the ball on the 1 yard-line for Austin’s plunge.

 

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
Jennings' second touchdown and the next a 69-yard drive in 11 plays marked by Tuitama's short toss of three yards for the score by Anthony Johnson.

 

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.

 

 

 

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