Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Terris Jones-Grigsby
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Cats, Rebels Kick Off 2014 Season Friday
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: August 25, 2014

Game 1 » UNLV (0-0, 0-0 MWC) at Arizona (0-0, 0-0 Pac-12)

» Weekly Notes: Arizona (PDF) | UNLV (PDF)

Game Information
Friday, Aug. 29
Time: 7:30 p.m. (MST)
Location: Tucson, Ariz.
Stadium: Arizona Stadium (56,029)
Surface: FieldTurf
Television: ESPN (national)
All-Time Series: Arizona leads, 2-0
In Tucson: Arizona leads, 1-0
Last Meeting: UA 58, UNLV 13 (Sept. 7, 2013 at Las Vegas, Nev.)
Streak: UA has won all meetings
Tickets: Available

Television Information
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Play-by-Play: Mark Neely
Analyst: Mike Bellotti
Sideline: Dawn Davenport

Arizona IMG Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Brian Jeffries
Analyst: Lamont Lovett
Sideline: Dana Cooper
Flagship Stations: 1290 AM, 1490 FM
Statewide Affiliates: Click Here
Listen on TuneIn:
Satellite Radio: XM (91), SIRIUS (91)
Spanish Radio: 990 AM (Samuel Sandoval Analyst Marco Rincon)

Hard Edge Game Notes 

» Arizona defeated UNLV, 58-13, last Sept., 7, at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The Wildcats won the only other meeting, 38-21, on Sept. 22, 2001, in Tucson.

» The Wildcats are 80-25-5 all-time in season openers highlighted by six-straight victories. UA has won 12 of its last 14 openers.

» Since 1983, UA is 15-1 when playing a home game on Labor Day weekend. That includes 14-straight wins.

» Arizona opens a season on a weekday for the eighth time, but Friday’s contest marks only the second time the Cats have done so at home (35-0 vs. NAU last Aug. 30).

» Senior WR Austin Hill missed the entire 2013 season receovering from an ACL injury. As a redshirt sophomore, Hill finished No. 6 among FBS players with 1,364 receiving yards on 81 receptions (11 TD).

» Rich Rodriguez is 8-0 in non-conference games as Arizona’s head coach. That mark includes wins against each non-conference foes on this year’s schedule.

» The Wildcats are 31-15 at home since the start of the 2007 season, including 10-4 under Rich Rodriguez.

» Arizona’s roster includes 13 players who have previously played at other FBS programs. Additionally, the Wildcats have a player from 19 different states.

» The Wildcat defense intercepted 18 passes last year, which was the most at UA since 1990. Five of those were returned for TDs, including two at UNLV.

» Arizona’s offensive line returns 104 career starts. Included are 38 by left tackle Mickey Baucus and 37 by right tackle Fabbians Ebbele. Both are graduate students.

Some Game Themes: The wait is over – college football season is here! Football returns to the Old Pueblo for a Friday night kickoff before a national television audience … UNLV’s trip to the desert is its first since 2001, and this marks only the third meeting in series history after the Wildcats dispatched the host Rebels, 58-13, last year in Las Vegas … That thumping seemed to be a turning point for UNLV, which won seven of its final 10 regular season games once Arizona left town … Rich Rodriguez & Co. head into Year 3 with stability across the board, though most wonder who will be named the starting quarterback. It was a steady four-man race throughout fall camp and that competition hopefully has prepped one (or two?) for a dozen or more gridiron clashes in the months to come … The Wildcat coaching staff returns intact for the first time since 1999 (yes, 1999!) and thus familiarity with the system and personnel across the board is an asset … Arizona has been a prominent running team the last two years, but a bevy of wideouts will be tempting to throw to all season for whomever gets the nod as the quarterback … Among the notables is senior Austin Hill, a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist with 1,364 receiving yards in 2012, who missed all of last season with an ACL injury … Somewhat lost in the Arizona discussion is replacing two-time consensus All-American running back Ka’Deem Carey, but a handful of capable names await their chance to shine and perhaps replace Carey by committee … The Rebels are likely to go with a similar approach to replace career leading rusher Tim Cornett, while Scottsdale Community College transfer Blake Decker was named the starting quarterback two weeks before the opener … On the defensive side, the Wildcats believe they have more depth, yet there is inexperience, if not talent, at some key positions … The meeting last season saw the Cats’ defense score twice – an early indicator that the unit was vastly improved, something that did play out over the course of the season … Home-openers have been promising for the Wildcats in recent years, and Rodriguez is a perfect 2-0 in his first two tries … The first full week of classes will be in the books as Friday’s contest kicks off Labor Day Weekend.

Last Time Out: Arizona capped Rich Rodriguez’s second season with a 42-19 rout of Boston College last Dec. 31 at the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in Shreveport, La. The Wildcats struck first with Ka’Deem Carey’s two-yard run in the middle of the first quarter and never trailed in the contest. The Eagles kicked a pair of field goals to keep things close into the second period, but Will Parks turned the tide with a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown, and Trey Griffey hauled in a touchdown pass with 30 seconds left in the half to put Arizona comfortably on top, 21-6, at halftime. Any hopes of a BC comeback were thwarted when the Cats marched 75 yards on 11 plays in the first 2:49 of the second half to put the game away. Fittingly, Carey punched in the touchdown – his school-record 48th career rushing score – and finished the game with a routine 169 yards. But the offensive star may have been quarterback B.J. Denker, who rushed for 51 yards and a score himself, plus completed 17-of-24 passes for 275 yards and two more scores to finish his career on a high note. Freshmen receivers Nate Phillips (nine receptions for 193 yards) and Trey Griffey (two touchdowns) were the benefactors of Denker’s highly efficient finale. The game had been billed as a matchup of the nation’s two premier running backs, but Andre Williams – who edged out Carey in the Doak Walker Award voting – was shut down by a stingy Wildcat defense. The Cats limited Williams to 75 total yards on 26 totes, a 2.9 yards per carry clip that left the pro-style Eagles struggling to move the ball. Senior linebacker Jake Fischer was the leader of the aggressive defensive unit, totaling 14 tackles, including a sack and 1.5 stops for loss. The Wildcats were the more disciplined squad, too, losing only 23 yards on penalties, while the Eagles were flagged five times for 55 yards. The bowl victory was Arizona’s second-straight (also won 2012 New Mexico Bowl) and gave the program back-to-back eight-win seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

What Happened in Vegas: Arizona hit the road and hit the jackpot with a convincing 58-13 victory that was seemingly over from the get-go last Sept. 7 in Las Vegas … The Wildcats opened up a 17-0 first quarter lead and then Ka’Deem Carey and the defense provided a highlight-filled second quarter … Carey took his first carry to the house – a 58-yard burst – to show he had the capability to back up his All-American sophomore season, which he ultimately did. He needed just nine carries in the second quarter alone to rack up his then-11th career 100-yard game and he finished with a game-high 171 yards – the fifth straight game he has rushed for 170 or more yards … Not to be overshadowed, backfield mate Daniel Jenkins ran for 82 yards and quarterback B.J. Denker added 60 yards and two touchdowns … Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ defense got into the action with Jake Fischer (49 yards) and Tra’Mayne Bondurant (52 yards) stepping in front of Nick Sherry passes and returning them for touchdowns … It was a two-touchdown game for the defense – it’s first in some 202 contests dating to 1996 … Continuing with the defensive trends, the unit was stout on third downs, holding the Rebels to a 4-for-15 conversion rate and even worse 0-for-3 rate on fourth downs … Kicker Jake Smith connected on 3-of-4 field goals, added seven extra points and kicked off 11 times in a game that saw him set a school record with 16 points by kicking … Freshman linebacker Scooby Wright continued to show what he can do defensively, leading the charge with seven tackles and one for loss … The scoring output was the second-most in modern history for Arizona in a road game, and it was the largest margin of victory in road contest since 1952 … Rich Rodriguez won his 130th career game and the Wildcats won for the third straight time away from home.

View complete Arizona Game Notes release here


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