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Cats, Dawgs Open Pac-12 Play in Seattle
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 09/23/2013
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B.J. Denker
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics

Game 4
Arizona (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12) at No. 16 Washington (3-0, 0-0 Pac-12)

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28      Time: 4 p.m. (PDT)
Location: Seattle, Wash. (Husky Stadium – 70,138)
Television Broadcast: FOX
TV Broadcasters: Gus Johnson (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst), Kristina Pink (sideline)
UA Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network, 1290 AM and 107.5 FM in Tucson
UA Radio Broadcasters: Brian Jeffries (pxp), Lamont Lovett (color analyst), Dana Cooper (sideline analyst)
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 92, XM 190 (Washington radio call)

Arizona-Washington Series History
All-Time: Washington leads, 18-10-1
First Meeting: Nov. 4, 1978 (Washington 31, Arizona 21 – at Seattle)
Last Meeting: Oct. 20, 2012 (Arizona 52, Washington 17 – at Tucson)
Streak/Note: Home team has won five straight games

Some Game Themes: Arizona ventures into truly hostile territory for the first time this season with a trip to the Emerald City … A national television audience tunes in for a glimpse at a pair of clubs vying for early season position in the Pac-12 race ... The September slate will close on a perfect note for one squad, while the other will find itself with ground to make up in October … Perhaps the marquee matchup is two No. 25’s at running back likely to contend for conference and national awards by season’s end … Two high-tempo offenses are sure to test much improved (at least on paper) defensive units … The Huskies pose a balanced offensive threat headlined by highly efficient Keith Price at quarterback, Bishop Sankey in the backfield and Austin Seferian-Jenkins at tight end … Arizona counters with a dynamic backfield duo of Daniel Jenkins and Ka’Deem Carey, but don’t sleep on quarterback B.J. Denker. The senior lefty is set to make his fifth career start and is a run-pass threat waiting for a true breakout performance … Keep an eye on third downs. Arizona has limited opponents to a lowly 32-percent conversion rate on third downs, while Washington ranks third nationally in converting third downs … The Wildcats get their first look at renovated Husky Stadium – a venue that has been the sight of some wild finishes between the teams over the years … Home field has proved advantageous over the last five seasons … In the end, it’s only the first of nine conference games and the Pac-12 Championship race is a marathon, not a sprint, no matter how fast the two teams snap the ball .. Pac-12 play is here. Sit back and enjoy it.

The Coaches: Arizona - Rich Rodriguez (West Virginia '86), second year at Arizona (11-5) and 19th as a head coach overall (131-89-2). At Arizona, Rodriguez’s teams are 8-2 at Arizona Stadium, 2-3 on the road, 1-0 at neutral sites, 4-5 in Pac-12 games and 1-0 in bowl games (2012 Gildan New Mexico). Rodriguez was introduced as the 30th head coach of the UA football program on Nov. 22, 2011. He carries Division I records of 11-5 at Arizona, 60-26 at West Virginia (2001-2007) and 15-22 at Michigan (2008-10). He began his head coaching career at Salem University (W.Va.) in 1988 and then coached at Glenville State (W.Va.) from 1990-96. Rodriguez's West Virginia teams were Big East Champions in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2007 while appearing in two BCS bowls, the 2005 Sugar Bowl with a victory over Georgia for an 11-1 record and a victory over Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl to finish 10-2 shortly after Rodriguez had left for Michigan. His teams have appeared in bowls in eight of 11 seasons an FBS head coach … Washington - Steve Sarkisian (BYU '97), fourth year at Washington (28-25) and fifth year overall as a head coach. A former WAC Offensive Player of the Year ('96) as a quarterback, he started his coaching career mentoring the position at El Camino College in 2000, and then spent three and four seasons at USC sandwiched around a QB coach job for the Oakland Raiders in 2004. His last two seasons in Los Angeles (2007-08) were as offensive coordinator. He's been on that side of the ball throughout his coaching career. He is 2-2 against Arizona with both victories in Seattle, and has guided UW to three consecutive bowl berths.

Against The Top 25: Saturday’s showdown at No. 16 Washington is Arizona’s first crack at defeating a ranked opponent this season. Last season, the Wildcats upset No. 18 Oklahoma State (Sept. 8) and No. 10 USC (Oct. 27) to give Arizona at least one win against a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll in eight of the last nine seasons. The highest-ranked foe to go down in the last nine seasons was then-No. 2 Oregon, 34-24, in Tucson on Nov. 15, 2007. Historically, Arizona is 41-101-1 against teams ranked in the AP Top 25. Rich Rodriguez is 2-4 such games at Arizona.

2012 Arizona-Washington Rewind: Arizona erased an early three-point deficit by scoring 24-unanswered points in the first half and then shutout Washington en route to a 52-17 victory before a Family Weekend Crowd of 50,148 at Arizona Stadium last October 20. Senior quarterback Matt Scott passed for 256 yards and accounted for five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) as part of a 533-yard output for the Wildcat attack. Running back Ka’Deem Carey racked up 172 yards on a career-high 29 carries, while receivers Dan Buckner (5-86), Garic Wharton (3-59) and Austin Hill (2-70) each went over 50 yards receiving. Junior receiver Richard Morrison also got in on the action taking a punt back 63 yards for a touchdown. The Arizona defense forced three turnovers and held the Huskies to 5-for-17 on third downs while pitching a second half shutout. Along with the turnovers, Washington hurt itself with 10 penalties for an even 100 yards. The win was Rich Rodriguez’s first over a Pac-12 foe at Arizona and improved the Wildcats to 4-3, propelling them to a 5-2 record over their final seven games of the season.

Sleepless In Seattle: It started with the “Leap by the Lake” in 1998 and continued over a decade later with the “Immaculate Interception” in 2009. Indeed, Arizona-Washington games in Seattle have produced some edge-of-your-seat, down-to-the-wire excitement that have made some sleepless nights for fans of both schools. The last seven matchups in Seattle have seen the Huskies win four games, while the Wildcats hold a 223-216 overall scoring edge. The Huskies’ four wins have all come by four points or less, while the Wildcats have 10-point, seven-point and three-point margins in their favor. Ortege Jenkins’ head-over-heels flip into the endzone with only a few ticks on the clock is one of the iconic plays in Arizona football history and gave the Wildcats a 31-28 victory that was one of the highlights in a 12-1 season in 1998. Then in 2009, the Wildcats seemingly had a comfortable fourth quarter lead after Alex Zendejas kicked a field goal to give UA a 33-21 advantage with 4:22 remaining. But Jake Locker led a quick-strike attack that cut the deficit to 33-28. On UA’s ensuing possession, Nick Foles checked a run-pass option into a seemingly safe wide receiver screen pass, but some outside pressure forced Foles to change the angle of his pass to Delashaun Dean. The ball skipped off the Husky Stadium field turf – or perhaps the very spot Dean’s foot was planted – and ricocheted into the hands of Mason Foster, who returned it 37 yards for a touchdown (and UW’s subsequent two-point conversion), capping a 15-point swing in 18 seconds. Officials upheld the call on the field as an interception, but some replay evidence indicated the ball may have hit the turf. Either way, it was another thrilling chapter in the series history in Seattle. Here’s how the last eight games have gone at Husky Stadium (* winning score):

2011: Washington 42, Arizona 31
2009: Washington 36, Arizona 33
2007: Arizona 48, Washington 41
2004: Arizona 23, Washington 13
2002: Washington 32, Arizona 28
2001: Washington 31, Arizona 28
2000: Washington 35, Arizona 32
1998: Arizona 31, Washington 28
Cumulative score: Washington 258, Arizona 254

More Than a Win: Last year’s meeting in Tucson proved to be a critical turning point in Arizona’s season. The Wildcats entered with three consecutive losses (all to nationally-ranked Pac-12 foes), but a bye week allowed Arizona to regroup and get healthy for the second half of the season. The result was a 52-17 thumping of Washington, a result that was far more significant than just the final score. The Wildcats would go on to win five of their final seven games, capturing an eight-win season and a bowl victory in Rich Rodriguez’s first season. Added with three wins to open 2013 and Arizona is 8-2 since the matchup with Washington last year. Now the Wildcats are coming off another bye week with aspirations of upending the Huskies once again.

Strive For Five: Arizona enters play this weekend with a four-game winning streak dating to the New Mexico Bowl victory over Nevada last season. Rich Rodriguez has opened up 3-0 in each of his first two seasons at the school with last year’s extending a carry-over win streak to five total games, something the Wildcats could match with a win at Washington. Five consecutive wins happens to be the most consecutive victories for Arizona since winning the final seven games of the 1998 season.

Schedule Quirk: Coming off its first bye week, Arizona should be well-rested when it heads to Seattle. But looking beyond this week, the Wildcats’ second bye week looms before a Thursday night showdown at USC on Oct. 10. That means this Saturday’s game at Washington is Arizona’s only game in a span of 25 days – something akin to bowl preparation. The Wildcats used all of their two weeks to prep for Washington and maintained a regular practice schedule even during the bye week.

Three and Oh: For the second-consecutive year, Rich Rodriguez has the Wildcats sitting at 3-0 to open the season. The last time Arizona opened 3-0 (or better) in back-to-back seasons was under Dick Tomey in the 1993 and 1994. The 3-0 start to the 2013 campaign is just the 11th of its kind since the Wildcats joined the conference in 1978. The other 10 seasons are: 2012, 2010, 2001, 1998, 1994, 1993, 1990, 1986, 1985 and 1983.

September Success: Head coach Rich Rodriguez has enjoyed a long history of success in September. He boasts an impressive 37-9 (.804) record in the month of September in his 12 seasons as a head coach of FBS programs at West Virginia, Michigan and now Arizona. His teams have gone to bowl games in eight of those years, including two BCS berths.

The Road Ahead: Despite a pair of breaks in the upcoming schedule, Arizona will be on the road for four of its next five games. This weekend’s nationally televised game at Washington will be followed by a Thursday night showdown at USC on Oct. 10. The Wildcats finally play again at home Oct. 19 against Utah, before road trips to Colorado (Oct. 26) and California (Nov. 2). Arizona does play three straight home games in November to balance the schedule.

Scoring Defense: By allowing only 26 points through three games (8.6 per game), the Wildcats are among the national leaders in scoring defense. They’ll surely be tested by some of the dynamic Pac-12 units moving forward, but it is still the fewest points the school has allowed in a three-game stretch to open a season since 1996 (23-3 win vs. UTEP, 21-20 loss at Iowa and 41-0 win vs. Illinois). Credit should be given to limiting UTSA to only 13 points – its lowest scoring output over a 19-game stretch dating back to 2011.

Turning Points: It’s one thing to have a positive turnover margin, it’s another to cash in on the difference. So far, Arizona has done just that. The Wildcats have scored 42 points off their opponents’ eight turnovers (six touchdowns, one missed FG and one punt). The defense has scored three of its own touchdowns, including a pair of interception returns by Tra’Mayne Bondurant (23 and 52 yards) and another by Jake Fischer (49 yards). At the same time, the Wildcats have only turned the ball over twice and neither occasion has resulted in a scoring drive for the opposition. Added up, it’s a 42-0 advantage in points off turnovers for the Wildcats.

Turning Points Part II: In 2012, Arizona was minus-1 in the turnover department over the 13-game season. The Wildcats turned the ball over 28 times and gained 27. The net result was a 122-104 deficit in points scored off turnovers. Another way to look at it: Arizona scored 3.85 points per turnover, while its opponents scored 4.36 points per turnover. After three games in 2013, the Wildcats have improved to 5.25 points per turnover, while they have yet to allow an opponent to score off a turnover.

Third Down Defense: Arizona’s defense has done a solid job getting off the field on third downs this season and that figures to be a critical point at Washington. The Huskies are third nationally in third down conversion percentage at a 66-percent clip. The Wildcat defense thus far has limited opponents to 32 percent conversions (32nd nationally), which is a significant improvement over the 44 percent (90th nationally) conversion rate allowed a season ago.

Ground Attack: Arizona ranks No. 5 nationally with 322.3 rushing yards per game headlined by a triple-threat attack of running backs Ka’Deem Carey (299 yards, 4 TD) and Daniel Jenkins (239 yards, 1 TD) along with quarterback B.J. Denker (224 yards, 5 TD. If the current per-game clip held up, it would shatter the school record of 276.5 per game set in 1954. The Wildcats are averaging 6.45 yards per carry and have scored 12 touchdowns on the ground – tied for eight-most nationally. It’s a continuation of the way Arizona closed the 2012 season by gaining 1,246 yards over the final four games. Added with the first three games of 2013, the Wildcats have rolled up 2,213 yards – or 316.1 yards per game – over essentially a half-season of six games.

Run KDC: With two games under his belt, junior running back Ka’Deem Carey has begun backing up his All-American sophomore campaign. On several preseason watch lists (Maxwell Player of the Year Award, Doak Walker Award and Walter Camp Football Foundation), Carey took his first handoff of the season 58 yards for a touchdown against UNLV on Sept. 7. He went on to finish with a game-high 171 rushing yards on 16 carries and added another 100-yard game against UTSA a week later (128 yards). Here are some nuggets of note regarding the nation’s defending rushing leader:

- In 2012, became first Wildcat to lead the nation in rushing since Art Luppino in 1955 (also 1954).
- Has 36 career total touchdowns (No. 2 at UA and tied for FBS lead with Wisconsin’s James White).
- Has 33 career rushing touchdowns (No. 2 at UA and No. 2 among active FBS players behind White, 36).
- Has 2,653 career rushing yards (No. 8 among active FBS players).
- One of two active FBS players (Georgia’s Todd Gurley) to average over 100 yards per game in his career (102.0).
- Has 3,757 career all-purpose yards (No. 14 among active FBS players)
- Has 12 career 100-yard rushing games, including six straight (most by a Pac-12 player and No. 4 for active FBS players.
- Averages 6.1 yards per carry (No. 5 in FBS) on 437 career rushes.
- Set UA single-season record with 1,929 rushing yards in 2012.
- Set an Arizona program record with 23 rushing touchdowns in 2012.
- Led the Pac-12 with 10 100-yard rushing games in 2012 and matched Trung Canidate (1999) for the school record for 100-yard games in a season.
- Finished the 2012 season with 2,248 all-purpose yards, falling one yard shy of Dennis Northcutt's single-season school record of 2,249 set in 1999.
- Carey finished the 2012 season with 24 total touchdowns to tie Art Luppino (1954) for the most individual touchdowns in school single-season history.

Sensational Six: Running back Ka’Deem Carey has rushed for 100 yards in six consecutive games – a stretch that includes some remarkable performances. Here’s a look:

Date Opponent Rush Att.-Yards TD Avg.
Nov. 10, 2012 Colorado 25-366* 5^ 14.6
Nov. 17, 2012 at Utah 26-206 1 7.9
Nov. 23, 2012 Arizona St. 25-172 1 6.9
Dec. 15, 2012 vs. Nevada 28-172 3 6.1
Sept. 7, 2013 at UNLV 16-171 2 10.7
Sept. 14, 2013 UTSA 27-128 2 4.7
Totals 6 games 147-1,215 14 8.3/202.5 per game

* Pac-12 and Arizona single-game rushing record
^ School single-game record; tied Pac-12 single-game record

Big Play B.J.: Quarterback B.J. Denker has not been asked to do much in the passing game yet this season, but he’s showcased his abilities in the run game. Through three games, Denker has gained 224 rushing yards on 40 carries and has a team-high five touchdowns. It’s an average of 74.7 yards per game – a figure that ranks No. 9 in the Pac-12. Perhaps most impressive has been his ability to make big plays with his feet. The senior has a touchdown run of at least 30 yards in each game this season, including back-to-back contests with a career-long 35-yard touchdown run. With a duo of Ka’Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins alongside him in the backfield, it’s a true triple threat ground attack.

Pick Your Poison: Run to set up the pass, or pass to set up the run? This time a year ago, Arizona was 3-0 and ranked No. 7 nationally with 356.7 passing yards per game. A year later, the Wildcats are again 3-0 but have passed for only 326 total yards and find themselves No. 5 nationally by rushing for 322.2 yards per game. That’s quite a shift in philosophy or production, but also hints at what lies ahead in the Pac-12. Staring at the stats reveals four Pac-12 teams (California, Oregon State, Colorado and Arizona State) rank among the top 10 FBS schools in passing yards per game. At the same time, three squads (Oregon, Arizona and Washington) show up in the top 10 for rushing offense per game. If early results are any indication, being top 10 in either category is positive beyond the stat sheet. The 10 teams leading the way in passing are 24-8 on the year, while the 10 rushing leaders are 26-6. Pretty good company either way.

Outta Their League: Rich Rodriguez is 7-0 against non-conference opponents, including 5-0 at home, since debuting as the Wildcats’ head coach in 2012. Arizona has won eight-straight games against non-conference foes and is 17-5 over its last 22 such games dating back to 2008. Considering regular season games only, the Wildcats have won 11 of their last 12 non-conference games and are 15-3 since the start of the 2008 season.

Quarter Scores: The Wildcats have scored in all 12 quarters to open the season with a particular liking to the first half. Arizona has jumped on its opponents for 38 first-quarter and 45 second-quarter points, enjoying a cumulative 83-12 halftime lead through three games. An even split of 24 points per period in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, rounds out Arizona’s 131-26 cumulative scoring margin this season. Arizona has yet to allow a point in the third quarter this season (24-0). Including the fourth quarter of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the Wildcats have scored in 13 consecutive quarters.

Disciplined Start: Through three games, the Wildcats have been flagged 10 times for 85 yards – a 26.7 yards per game clip that ranks No. 6 in the nation. That mark is more than half of what UA’s opponents are averaging per game (19-193, 64.3 yards per game). It will be something to keep an eye on against the Huskies, who have been flagged 36 times for 295 yards (98.3 yards per game) this season – most by any of the 125 FBS teams.

Red Hot Zone: Arizona has produced in the red zone this season scoring on 11 of 13 such trips (85 percent). However, the Wildcats would like to punch it in the endzone more frequently than their 8-for-13 (62 percent) clip. Last season, Arizona scored on 79 percent of red zone drives with a 64-percent touchdown rate. One thing the Wildcats have done well this year is score from outside the redzone. The offense has six scoring players of 30 yards or longer preventing the opportunity – and need – to convert in the red zone. But expect such conversions to be critical moving forward in Pac-12 play. The Huskies have thwarted their opponents on four of the eight red zone trips allowed this season (only two touchdowns allowed).

Defense on the Offensive: Arizona’s defense has accounted for three touchdowns in the first three games (all via interception returns) this season. That’s as many touchdowns as the unit has allowed (three) – a nugget of note in its own right. But perhaps most impressive is the fact that at UNLV (Sept. 7), Tra’Mayne Bondurant (52 yards) and Jake Fischer (49 yards) produced the first multiple-touchdown game for the Arizona defense since Sept. 14, 1996. On that day, Chester Burnett (33 yards), Mikal Smith (86 yards) and then-defensive back Dennis Northcutt (63 yards) returned a trio of interceptions back for touchdowns – all in the fourth quarter – against Illinois in a 41-0 thumping. It was a span of 202 games without the defense scoring two touchdowns in a game by itself. In terms of all non-offensive scores (kicks, blocks, etc.), the Wildcats had collected seven multiple-touchdown games with the last coming on Sept. 18, 2010. Trevin Wade returned an interception 85 yards and Travis Cobb returned a kickoff 100 yards in a 34-27 upset of Iowa.

Bookend Tackles: Junior tackles Fabbians Ebbele and Mickey Baucus account for 56 of Arizona’s 85 career starts along the offensive line. With each registering 28 consecutive starts, the bookend duo was a significant part of the Wildcats’ record-breaking offense in 2012. They helped pave the way 227.8 rushing yards per game and the offense yielded only 18 sacks in 13 games while tallying 298.4 passing yards per game. The unit has picked up where it left off, with Baucus and Ebbele helping roll up 322.3 rushing yards per game and only three sacks allowed through three games in 2013.

Mr. Versatility: One of Arizona’s offensive leaders is the ever versatile Chris Putton, a fifth-year senior who has mastered all five positions on the offensive line. Putton doesn’t claim a natural position – he willing says he will play wherever coaches need him – but his skills are perhaps best suited at guard where he has made 22 career starts. In a pinch, he can slide out to tackle if needed behind starters Fabbians Ebbele and Mickey Baucus, or take the controls at center. His experience and versatility will pay dividends in the trenches this season.

Senior Encore: Arizona welcomes back senior wide receiver/tight end Terrence Miller for a fifth season. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native was granted a medical hardship waiver in the spring and his return to the Wildcats gives Arizona a proven target in the offense and a leader on and off the field. Miller, who also received his degree in the spring, caught 13 passes for 143 yards and two scores in four games last year despite battling a series of injuries. His season was cut short for good after sustaining an injury on a touchdown at Stanford last October. Now healthy again, Miller can play any of UA’s receiver positions in the slot or on the outside. He will also put his hand down as a tight end, so expect the Wildcats to move him around early and often. He has two catches for 20 yards on the year.

Terrific Tra’Mayne: Arizona’s biggest defensive playmaker has been “spur” safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant. The junior leads or is tied for the team lead in total tackles (19), tackles for loss (3) sacks (1), interceptions (3) and pass breakups (3). He has a pair of interception returns for touchdowns (23 yards against NAU and 51 yards at UNLV) and is one of five players in the FBS with two touchdowns off interceptions. In his career, Bondurant has six interceptions for 170 yards and three touchdowns (ranks No. 10 for active career interception return yards).

Defensive Development: What a difference a year makes for defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. In his first season implementing the 3-3-5 stack at Arizona, Casteel inherited one of the thinnest and youngest defenses in the nation evidenced by more than half of his depth chart comprising freshman or sophomore. This year, things have shifted in his favor with more depth and more experience. In fact, Wildcat defenders have combined for 243 career starts with the same 11 starting each contest this season. Senior lineman Sione Tuihalamaka and senior cornerback Shaquille Richardson lead with 27 career starts apiece, while senior linebackers Marquis Flowers and Jake Fischer boast 26 and 24 starts, respectively. Junior “spur” safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant has tallied 21 starts, including 21 of Arizona’s last 22 games (only missed 2012 New Mexico Bowl). True freshman linebacker Scooby Wright is the only player without prior starting experience and has earned the nod in each of his first three collegiate games.

Desert Bloom: It was in fall camp a year ago when Marquis Flowers was shifted from safety to linebacker to add depth at a position of need. Now, some 13 months later, Flowers figures to be one of the top linebackers in the Pac-12 Conference. As a junior, he was second on the squad with exactly 100 tackles and led the team with 13 tackles for loss and a team-high 5.5 sacks. He also proved to have a nose for the football, intercepting three pass, forcing three fumbles and recovering another. A full year of experience and an offseason to study the defense in the film room should benefit Flowers even more, and he has 12 tackles – three for loss – and a 36-yard fumble recovery to open his senior campaign.

Scooby (Can) Doo: Despite a veteran starting unit on the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats have a new face in their starting lineup: Scooby Wright. The true freshman has started each game at strongside linebacker and leads the team with 19 total tackles, including three for loss. In his first collegiate game against NAU, Wright finished with six tackles, including one for loss, and tipped the pass that Tra’Mayne Bondurant stepped in front of before returning it 21 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Tackling Machine: Senior middle linebacker Jake Fischer returns as one of the top tacklers in the Pac-12. A year ago, Fischer led Arizona with 119 stops and ranked third in the conference with 9.2 tackles per game. A physical, yet slightly undersized player, Fischer uses his high football IQ to put himself in position to make plays. He had 6.5 tackles for loss, four fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles and three passes defended a season ago as he returned to full strength after missing the 2011 campaign with an ACL injury. His perseverance paid off as he was a Pac-12 honorable mention selection in 2012 and could contend for higher honors this season. Fischer is on the Lott IMPACT Trophy Watch List and the Bednarik Award Watch List. He has 12 tackles and a 49-yard interception return for a touchdown through two games as a senior.

Scholarships Earned: Several walk-ons earned the praise of head coach Rich Rodriguez, who rewarded them with scholarships this offseason. Nose guard Tevin Hood, linebacker Sir Thomas Jackson and receiver Johnny Jackson earned scholarships in the spring, while running back Terris Jones and receiver Trevor Ermisch were put on scholarship last week. Rodriguez values a strong walk-on program and benefitted such a program himself. At West Virginia, Rodriguez started as a walk-on in 1981 and became a three-year letter winner as a defensive back from 1982-84.

Gridiron Graduates: Eight Wildcats have earned their degrees from the University of Arizona, a tally that ranks fifth nationally for FBS programs. Included are running backs Daniel Jenkins and Kylan Butler, receivers Terrence Miller and Richard Morrison, defensive backs Derrick Rainey and Justin Samuels, offensive lineman Eric Bender-Ramsey and defensive lineman Sione Tuihalamaka.

Coach for the Cure: The Arizona and Washington coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.

Up Next: Another bye. The Wildcats will be off next Saturday (Oct. 5th) before heading Los Angeles for a Thursday night showdown at USC on Oct. 10. Kickoff in the LA Memorial Coliseum is set for 7:30 p.m. (PDT) on Fox Sports 1.

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