Cats and Bears... One Team's Going to Win
Oct. 29, 2001
2001 Arizona Football Schedule/ResultsDate Game Score AttenA 30 at San Diego State (ESPN2) 23-10 28,386S 8 Idaho (Fox Sports Net Arizona) 36-29 44,250S 22 Nevada-Las Vegas# (KWBA) 38-21 47,031S 28 *Washington State (KWBA) 21-48 42,729O 6 *No. 8 Oregon (Fox Sports Net) 28-63 45,258O 13 *at Oregon St. (Fox Sports Net) 3-38 36,619O 20 *at No. 12 Wash.(FSN Syn-KTTU) 28-31 71,108O 27 *USC& (FSN Syndication-KTTU) 34-41 46,399N 3 *at California (KWBA-58 delay) 12:30 PSTN 10 *Stanford% (ABC West Coast) 5 p.m. MSTN 23 *at Arizona State (Fox Sports Net) 1 p.m. MST#Hall of Fame Game, &Family Weekend, %Homecoming
The Game - The Arizona Wildcats (3-5, 0-5 in the Pacific-10 Conference), travel to Berkeley, Calif., to meet the California Golden Bears (0-7, 0-5) at 12:30 p.m. (1:30 p.m. MST) Saturday, Nov. 3, in 92,000-seat Memorial Stadium. The game will be produced by Fox Sports Net Arizona for taped delay broadcast at 10 p.m. on KWBA-TV in Tucson and KUSK-TV in central Arizona, with Dave Sitton and Doug Plank calling the play. A crowd of about 35,000 is expected.
Some Game Themes - Arizona and Cal still search for a league victory and one team gets it Saturday... The Cats lost three league games by a combined 142-52 margin, then lost their last two by a combined 10 points, so improvement has been evident... Two teams that have allowed a combined 574 points, so a best guess is the game might not be a low-scoring affair... Arizona's worst Pac-10 records are a foursome of 3-5 marks and and a 2-3-3 slate in 1987 so there's no margin for error if UA wants to avoid its worst-ever league finish... Cal's first of four remaining chances to avoid its first winless season since 1897, UA wins out and it's in a bowl...
The Series -- The series is tied at 9-9-2 and the two teams meet for the first time since 1998 due to the Pac- 10 scheduling-miss system. Arizona has a two-game winning streak -- 23-7 in Berkeley in 1998 and 41-38 in Tucson in 1997. Two of the last three games have been determined in overtime including the '97 game in Tucson and a quadruple tie-breaker Cal victory at Berkeley (56-55 in 1996). The series is tied for games in Memorial Stadium (4-4-2) and in Tucson (5-5) but UA has won four of the last five.
The Coaches -- Arizona: John Mackovic (Wake Forest '65), first year at UA (3-5) and 14th season as a collegiate head coach (88-69-3, .559). He is the first new UA coach to open 3-0 since Jim Young did so in 1973, when Mackovic was UA's offensive coordinator. He is the first UA coach to open 0-5 in Pac-10 play. He has not coached against California. California: Tom Holmoe (BYU '83), sixth year at Cal (15-36) and sixth overall. Coach Holmoe is 1-2 against Arizona with the victory coming in the 4-OT game in 1996. Holmoe was a safety on the 1985 San Francisco 49ers club that beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-3, then coached by John Mackovic.
Last Week -- Arizona again did some things right but the wrong moves were key in a 41-34 loss to USC. Perhaps QB Jason Johnson's afternoon tells it: composed rally work to bring the team back, a career-high 311 yards passing, a scoring throw and a TD run -- and four interceptions, one returned by Trojan CB Kris Richard 58 yards for the winning score. Still, fourth-quarter heroics were available for UA and that was a step in the right direction. Johnson's nine-yard run tied the score at 34 apiece with seven minutes remaining and UA twice had the ball, driving in USC territory inside the five-minute mark. The Trojans mounted a stop the first time then Richard provided the go-ahead return the second time. Again Arizona had a chance for a tying score but Johnson was twice sacked after UA drove to the USC 38 yard-line. The Wildcats opened the scoring minutes into the game with the first of two Sean Keel field goals, took a 10-3 lead at the end of the 1st quarter on Michael Jolivette's 60-yard interception return, then floundered as USC scored 28 unanswered points in taking a 31-10 lead. Keel's second FG to cap a 30-second, 42-yard drive gave UA some resolve at the close of the half. Bobby Wade's 16-yard punt return set up the Cats' next score and his 17-yard run on a reverse keyed the Cats' next TD to make it 31-27 at the end of the third quarter. UA held SC to a field goal before Johnson's tying touchdown run. Tough early going held UA halfback Clarence Farmer to negative yardage through the half, but he shook it off for an eventual 78 yards on 17 carries. Wade tied his career high with eight receptions and averaged 8.0 yards on five punt returns. Jolivette intercepted two passes and the Cats broke up nine others, but USC's Carson Palmer had time to complete 24 throws for 248 yards and two scores. The Cats held USC's running game in check (64 net yards) but could not overcome the four Johnson interceptions, three of which led to 21 sudden-change points.
Arizona Head Coach John Mackovic
UA's 26th head coach, John Mackovic (Wake Forest '65) assumed leadership in December 2000 and quickly demonstrated his intent to take Arizona football in a new direction. He assembled a quality staff, completed a first recruiting class, installed a new offense in spring ball, then came out in the fall and won his first three games. He snapped a school five-game losing streak and became the first new Arizona head coach to open 3-0 since Jim Young did so in 1973 when Mackovic was an offensive coordinator on the staff. (Young went on to a 5-0 opening mark, UA's best for a new head coach.)
The Wildcats' 3-0 non-conference record in 2001 give him one of only three undefeated non-conference seasons Arizona has enjoyed in the past 11 years.
Mackovic draws on 17 years' experience as a collegiate head coach, athletics director or professional head coach, and from 15 additional seasons in coordinator or assistant positions in the trade. Further, he has three recent years' experience in the media as a college football analyst for ESPN. The transition year has progressed well and given Arizona a mentor with extensive offensive acumen and a strong network of colleagues in the allied professions. His professional and organized approach in assembling a staff, recruiting his first class and establishing the coaching processes for the 2001 Wildcat program have been exemplary.
Mackovic took over for 14-year Arizona coach Dick Tomey and switched gears in placing a primary focus on the passing game and its contemporary derivations, with a vision of Wildcat football as a program employing an attacking offense to go with what typically has been an aggressive Arizona defense. The learning curve was quick at the onset but has slowed as UA continues Pac-10 play. UA's season has demonstrated both Mackovic's talent at play-calling and the fact the transformation of Wildcat football will not occur overnight.
Mackovic, 58, carries a 13-year collegiate record of 88-69-3. He took three of his last four teams (University of Texas) to bowl games and has led nine teams to winning records with eight bowl trips overall as a head coach. In 32 years of coaching he has held three college head coaching positions and one top National Football League spot (Kansas City, 1983-86, 30-34-0 record), served as offensive coordinator at three different Division I-A schools and worked as an assistant under former Dallas Cowboys' legend Tom Landry. He has Arizona bloodlines as Young's four-year offensive coordinator from 1973-76, heydays for prolific Western Athletic Conference offensive displays.
Mackovic has stepped forward at each stop in his 17-year head coaching career to improve the programs he inherited. For that matter, in his first stint at Arizona as offensive coordinator (1973-76), he was part of a staff which improved UA from a 4-7 club to successive 8-3, 9-2 and 9-2 seasons. At Texas, the Longhorns were 5-6 the year before his arrival. His six-year mark: 41-28-2 with three bowl appearances. At Illinois, the Illini finished 4-7 before he arrived. His four-year mark: 30-16-1 with four bowls. At Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons were 1-10 the year before he took over. His three-year mark: 14-20 and WFU's first bowl appearance in 30 years. At Kansas City of the NFL, he took over following a 3-6 mark in a strike year and eventually led the Chiefs to a 30-34 record and their first playoff appearance in 15 seasons.
Cats Still Dogged By The Streak
John Mackovic helped UA end an ignominious streak in the opener, snapping a five-game losing skein with the 23-10 victory at San Diego State. The next obstacle is a streak of conference woe, as he seeks his first Pacific-10 Conference victory and an end to a 10-game league losing streak. Four came on the road. Arizona's last conference victory came against Washington State Oct. 14, 2000. The streak and the home league-loss streak (6) are school low-water marks. Five of the losses were by seven points or less and UA had chances in many games, including the last two.
California (0-7, 0-5) and Match-up Notes...
University of California, Berkeley, Calif.: Enrollment 31,000... Colors - Blue & Gold... Conference - Pac-10... In 2000: 3-8
California and Stanford are the only two league teams not responsible for any part of Arizona's current 10- game Pac-10 losing streak... Cal remained winless with a narrow loss, 19-10, at Oregon State Saturday. After Cal closed to within three points, 10-7, a fumbled interception was returned for a Beavers' score to give OSU a 17-7 halftime lead and its defense thwarted an injury-depleted Cal club in the second half... Junior QB Kyle Boller missed the Bears' contests against UCLA and Oregon State with a sore back, but might be available for the UA game. He's thrown for 4,405 yards in his career, the 10th best figure in Cal history... Tucsonan Reggie Robertson, a redshirt freshman, started at OSU and completed 12 of 32 throws for 120 yards, plus scored the Bears' lone TD on an eight-yard run... Junior tailback Joe Igber, hampered earlier in the year by a sprained ankle, had a 91-yard game against UCLA then separated his shoulder in the second half at Corvallis after gaining 50 yards on eight carries. He has 1,994 career yards and should become the seventh player in Bears history to eclipse the 2,000 mark. He rushed for 116 yards against Illinois in Cal's opener... In his place, Bears' true freshman Terrell Williams finished the Oregon State game with 104 yards on 26 carries... Cal opened its season with each game against six undefeated teams, so quick conclusions about the Bears' record could be groundless. In fact all the teams UC faced were in last week's coaches Top 25 until the OSU game (and it was a preseason No. 1 pick by Sports Illustrated.) Recent Sagarin Ratings gave Cal the toughest schedule in America... The 0-7 start is the worst in 119 years of Cal football... Turnovers have been a factor in the Bears' difficulties. They're last (115th) in Division I-A with a -2.57 ratio, having coughed up 23 turnovers (12 interceptions, 11 fumbles) while forcing just five (two interceptions, three fumbles)... Cal has allowed an average of 41.9 points per game, listed No. 114 this week. The Bears had surrendered points in 20 consecutive quarters before keeping the Beavers off the board in the third quarter... Senior wide receiver Charon Arnold has 34 catches for 419 yards, and at 4.86 catches per game he's No. 51 in the nation... Nose tackle Daniel Nwangu sacked UCLA's Corey Paus three times on Oct. 20 and leads the club with four... Twenty-five-year-old place kicker Mark Jensen has made six of eight field goals for Cal and is 21 for 32 in three years...
Some NCAA Team Statistics - Cats and Bears
Rushing OffenseArizona 73rd - 137.5California 81st - 125.0Passing OffenseCalifornia 44th - 235.6Arizona 54th - 222.0Pass EfficiencyArizona 60th - 118.45California 96th - 101.53Total OffenseCalifornia 66th - 360.6Arizona 71st - 359.5ScoringArizona 54th - 26.4California 106th - 16.4Rushing DefenseArizona 40th - 130.0California 61st - 153.6Pass DefenseArizona 104th - 276.6California 114th - 307.8Pass Efficiency DefenseArizona 73rd - 126.59California 112th - 166.13Total DefenseArizona 84th - 406.6California 104th - 461.4Scoring DefenseArizona 106th - 35.1California 114th - 41.9Turnover MarginArizona 83rd - -.38California 115th - -2.57
Injury Report for California Game
FS and special teams player Clay Hardt (concussion vs. USC) is probable. OLB Joe Siofele (hand) had surgery Oct. 10, missed two games and is doubtful. OL Reggie Sampay (shoulder at UW) is questionable. DE Eli Wnek (hamstring) is questionable. Special teams player Mike LaCoss (knee at Washington) is out for the year. Backup LB Scott McKee (elbow, missed OSU/UW trips) is questionable. UA has had five of its top defensive ends injured this year -- Eli Wnek (foot), Alex Luna (knee), Johnny Jackson (neck), Austin Uku (knee) and Fata Avegalio (elbow/knee), plus worked around injuries to Siofele, LB Shelton Ross (knee), LB Ray Wells (shoulder), DT Anthony Thomas (foot) and DT Keoni Fraser (concussion). The common thread: defensive players. Lost Potential Starts due to Injury: 11 (DE Wnek-7, DT Keoni Fraser-1, WLB Joe Siofele- 3.
Arizona Game Captains
Here are the game captains to date: San Diego State: SS Brandon Nash, WR Malosi Leonard, SS Zaharius Johnson, C Steven Grace, DE Eli Wnek. Idaho: FB Mike Detwiler, LB Lance Briggs, FS Jarvie Worcester, WR Lance Relford, DE Alex Luna. UNLV: TE Peter Hansen, CB Jermaine Chatman, DT Anthony Thomas, OT Makoa Freitas, OG Kevin Barry. WSU: WR Bobby Wade, SS Brandon Nash, DE Austin Uku, C Steven Grace, PK Sean Keel. Oregon: DE Johnny Jackson, ILB Lance Briggs, FS Clay Hardt, FB Mike Detwiler, C Steven Grace. Oregon State: Brandon Nash, Jarvie Worcester, Lance Briggs and Malosi Leonard. Washington: Jason Johnson, Brandon Nash, Anthony Thomas and Steven Grace. USC: Nash, Grace, Barry, Wnek. The Wildcats will select permanent captains following the season.
Boasting About Bobby
Junior wide receiver Bobby Wade tied his career high with eight receptions (84 yards) against USC, a week after he caught six balls for 74 yards and a score at Washington. He also sparked a scoring drive against the Trojans with a 17-yard run on a reverse and returned five punts for an 8.0 average (one was returned 55 yards for a score but he was ruled to have stepped on the sideline after eight yards). He's the team leader with 38 receptions and 476 yards, listed No. 54 nationally this week in catches per game. He has 113 career receptions for 1,556 yards, putting him at No. 5 on the UA career chart for catches. He has caught a pass in 28 consecutive games, No. 14 nationally. He is No. 9 on the UA's career receiving yards chart and would pass Charlie McKee (85-1,652 from 1969-71) into the No. 8 spot with another 97 yards.
Bragging About Briggs
Junior inside linebacker Lance Briggs made the hit, then scraped himself off the ground and made the hit again against USC, notching nine tackles. He leads the club with 78, two shy of his usual average of 10.0 per game. He also leads the team with 10 tackles for loss, plus has 2.5 sacks, has forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. He has 191 career tackles in two seasons as a middle linebacker, an average of 10 per game. He switched from true-freshman fullback to the starting 'mike' linebacker role last year. He's playing these days with a cast (and requisite padding) on his left hand due to a slight fracture.
Don't Pick on MJ
Sophomore cornerback Michael Jolivette intercepted his fourth and fifth passes of the year against USC and returned one of them 60 yards for a score. He also had a 40-yard fumble return for a score against UNLV. He's tied for No. 7 in the nation at .63 interceptions per game. Jolivette's10 career interceptions in two years put him two shy of the UA Top 10 chart. His five this year are one short of the single-season chart. His four passes-defensed against USC gave him 16 for the season and 30 overall, the third-best career figure and within reach of former All-American safety Chuck Cecil's UA record of 38 from 1984-87. He trails Kelly Malveaux (35), who owns the top UA career mark by a cornerback. The team broke up nine passes against USC, a week after knocking down a season-high 11 at Washington. In that game, cornerback Jermaine Chatman had two interceptions and three PBUs. Anthony Banks started opposite Jolivette against the Trojans and broke up three passes in the first quarter. Free safety Jarvie Worcester has two interceptions this year and leads defensive backs with 46 tackles. The other UA interceptions are by linebacker Ray Wells and defensive end Johnny Jackson. Strong safety Brandon Nash leads DBs with four tackles for loss among his 33 total hits, plus returned a fumble 57 yards for a score at San Diego State. Backup FS Clay Hardt has most of his 20 tackles down field on kick coverage. Backup SS Zaharius Johnson has added 19 tackles, a sack and two PBUs, largely in nickel coverage and special teams play
Arizona has a 3-5 record for the first time since 1997 (Dick Tomey), when UA strung together three wins to close the year, then won the Insight.com Bowl. In its Pac-10 affiliation UA also was 3-5 in 1991 (4-7, Tomey), in 1980 (5-6, Tony Mason) and in 1978 (5-6, Mason). In 1977, the year after then head coach Jim Young left for Purdue with his offensive coordinator John Mackovic, UA was 2-6 at this point in the season and finished 5-7 in the school's last season in the Western Athletic Conference under coach Tony Mason.
Opponents Light Up Scoreboard
The Cats have surrendered 221 points in their five Pac-10 games, the most of any stretch in UA's conference affiliation which began in 1978. That's the worst five-game stretch in school history as far as scoring defense goes, although a three-game skein at the end of the 1949 Border Conference season was tough (155-7) with successive losses of 34-7 to Arizona State. 75-0 to Michigan State and 46-0 to Kansas. The 63 points scored by Oregon this year is the most surrendered by UA in a Pac-10 game, eclipsing the 58 put up by Washington in 1997 (a 58-28 Husky victory). Arizona's 1991 team gave up 205 points in five straight games (including a non-conference match against Miami) and an average of 32.8 points per game to post the highest single-season opponents' mark. At this point UA is allowing 35.1 points per game. On a happier note, UA has scored in 214 consecutive games -- just not enough this year.
Senior center Steven Grace jumped in at his original UA position -- left guard -- against Washington and USC. The move puts guard Reggie Sampay at center, where he was indoctrinated last year as a true freshman when Grace missed most of the year. With Grace free to focus on more than just ball management against UW, he was able to help hold Larry Tripplett, the Huskies' leader with nine tackles for losses and two sacks entering the game, to no hits. Redshirt freshman Keoki Fraser had to play center considerably against USC with Sampay nursing a sore shoulder... Fraser and senior Kevin Barry have been rotating at RG, and junior Darren Safranek and sophomore Brandon Phillips rotating at RT, while junior Makoa Freitas holds down the left tackle spot. Grace is considered by John Mackovic to be the best center he's coached, and 2001 was his first collegiate action at the position.
Arizona's near comeback and persistence against USC gave it its first time-of-possession edge in a Pac-10 game this year. The extra minute (30:26 to 29:34) helped reduce UA's overall deficit in league games to about -6:20 per game. Washington State skewed the figure dramatically by holding the ball 14 more minutes than did Arizona. The Ducks had about seven more minutes, Oregon State about eight and Washington merely four. The underlying difficulty: UA's injured defense has been on the field too much.
UA gave notice to the running game the past two weeks, rushing a season-high 44 times and netting 199 yards at Washington then sticking to it in the second half against USC to alter the complexion of the game with some time of possession via the run. Sophomore halfback Clarence Farmer had negative yardage on five carries at the half, then finished with 78 net yards on 12 more carries in the second half. A week earlier he notched his sixth 100-yard rushing game against Washington with 21 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown run of 16 yards to give UA a fourth-quarter lead. He also had two receptions for eight yards. He is close to the Top 25 nationally (33rd) with a per-game mark of 95.6 yards. Farmer's 5.5 yards per carry is an outstanding mark considering much of his work begins inside. He broke runs of 24 and 22 yards (the latter a TD) vs. USC, and one for 35 yards at UW. He ripped off runs of 78, 14, 15, 12 and 25 yards en route to a career-high 158 rushing yards(15 carries) against Oregon, then had to work diligently (19-55) for tougher yards in more rugged going against Oregon State. His 78-yard run against the Ducks was two shy of his career best, an 80-yard jaunt at USC last year. His other 100-yard game this year came vs. Idaho (18-118). He also had 90 (SDSU) and 84 (WSU) yards in two other 2001 games. Some serious score deficits in Pac-10 games reduced UA's intent to use patience in the running game, but Farmer clearly has been one of the most hard-working Wildcats on the field given whatever chances. Junior halfback Leo Mills ran well early against the Huskies, totaling 56 yards on 12 rushes and he was a key with 30 yards on the Cats' first scoring drive. NOTES... The Cats averaged 7.2 yards per running play against Oregon, their season best, and 4.5 per carry against Washington. In the season opener at San Diego State the figure was a season-low 1.48 yards per tote.
Jawing on Jason
UA junior quarterback Jason Johnson has experienced a roller coaster ride in his first year as the main man. He completed 23 of 43 passes for 311 yards, all career highs, against USC, but also suffered a career-high four interceptions. His two 300-yard games this year are the only two such individual UA efforts in the last 49 games. He's thrown for 12 touchdowns, spoiled by 11 interceptions. A concussion at the end of the first quarter knocked him out of a game in which he appeared hot, at Washington. He had completed six of his first eight throws for two scores, then was out of the game with final figures of 7-for-10, 80 yards, two TDs. In the first three UA league games he suffered six interceptions (3 vs. WSU, 1 vs. Oregon, 2 at Oregon State), a development which saw his pass efficiency rating drop from 149.86 (then 14th nationally) to 125.74, listed this week at No. 49 in Division I-A. Still, he's completed 56 percent of his passes (119 for 212, 1,547 yards). The 12 touchdown throws tie him at No. 9 on the single-season UA chart with Marc Lunsford (1976). He's within 201 yards of the No. 10 spot on UA's single-season passing yardage chart. He's within five completions of No. 10 on the single-season completions chart. His efficiency rating is within reach of the Top 10 chart as well. One of his TD tosses was a school and Pac-10 record 99-yarder to Brandon Marshall. His completion percentage is close to UA's single-season record (for a minimum of 200 attempts) of .575 by Keith Smith in 1999. Backups John Rattay and Cliff Watkins each have played, with Rattay getting the nod after Johnson's injury at Washington. He did a reasonable job with a 50 percent (9-18, 115 yards, 1 INT) completion rate, a run for the tying score and leadership on the go-ahead scoring drive.
First and Fourth Quarters
UA cleaned up its act in the first quarter against USC, holding the Trojans to three point for only the third UA end-of-first-quarter lead this year. Then USC tacked on 28 points in period 2, the sixth time a team has scored 21 or more points in a single quarter. The most was 29 by Idaho in the fourth period of UA's 36-29 victory. But USC's 10 fourth-quarter points proved to provide the margin of victory. Arizona has scored fairly consistently throughout games, but has an edge in only one period, the third. The last two games have seen UA shut out opponents in three quarters (two at Washington, one vs. USC).
Catching the Ball
UA quarterbacks have completed passes to 15 different receivers. Tight end Peter Hansen joined the club last week against USC with a catch for five yards, one of seven players to snag receptions. Bobby Wade snared a season-high eight catches for a season-high 84 yards against the Trojans, while sidekicks Andrae Thurman (4-96), Brandon Marshall (4-80) and Malosi Leonard (4-41) also piled up some numbers. UA quarterbacks have hit seven different receivers or more in five games (except OSU-6, WSU-5, UW-5). The nine players catching a ball vs. UNLV was the biggest single-game corps since the 1998 season opener (9 at Penn State). Wade (38-476), Leonard (31-426) and Thurman (22-368) lead the way in receptions, although Marshall's school-record 99-yard catch-run against Idaho puts him close in yardage with 15 catches for 313 yards. He has another long scoring catch, a 44-yarder against Oregon.
Sacking and Protecting the QBs
UA recorded three sacks in the past three weeks -- one by DE Johnny Jackson at Washington, and one each by OLB Ray Wells and DT Anthony Thomas against USC. The Cats had none against Oregon State, the team's first empty pass rush of the year after averaging about 3.5 per game. Some injuries on the edge have hurt UA's continuity in fostering its pass rush. The only sack of the Oregon game came on a blitz by safety Zaharius Johnson. UA had three sacks against Washington State to make it only seven in Pac-10 play. The team has 20 this year. Jackson's sack against the Cougars made for a 17-yard loss and caused a fumble Austin Uku returned two yards for a score. UA did a good job of containing UNLV's mobile Jason Thomas and sacked him three times, with two by Jackson and one by DT Young Thompson. A week earlier UA had seven sacks in the Idaho game, its most since a school-record nine at UCLA in 1999. Lance Briggs and Alex Luna had one and shared another to lead the way. Luna, Jackson and Michael Jolivette had one apiece in the opener at San Diego State.
Opponents have 19 sacks (SDSU-2, Idaho-0, UNLV-1, WSU-3, Oregon-0, OSU-3, Washington-4, USC-6). The Trojans' success in getting to UA's quarterback (including two on the final two plays of the game) pushed UA beyond the acceptable range in terms of Mackovic's designed pass-protection ratio of one sack allowed per 17 pass attempts. UA has attempted 255 passes and is therefore allowing one sack per 13 pass plays.
Rushing Defense Improving
UA held USC to 64 net rushing yards on 22 carries, a 2.1 per tote average. That's the second-best carry figure for UA this year. Washington was held to 2.9 yards per attempt. Both those opponents threw the ball 49 times to move the ball. Arizona held its first three opponents to an average of 92 rushing yards per game, good enough to rate No. 24th nationally, then Pac-10 play began: WSU posted 138 yards, Oregon netted 282 yards with a pair of 100-yard efforts and Oregon State rushed for 195 yards. The last two games have seen UA improve to 40th in Division I-A rushing defense, however. Five backs have rushed for 100 yards against UA this year -- WSU's Dave Minnich (30-121), Idaho's Blair Lewis (21-110), Oregon's Onterrio Smith (15-131) and Maurice Morris (21-110) and OSU's Ken Simonton (18-104) -- among seven running backs to hit the 100-yard mark against UA in the last 20 games. Rotating injuries across the line have hurt UA's continuity if not totally altered its lineup. Senior end Johnny Jackson has been the stalwart, starting all eight games. Otherwise, ends Eli Wnek, Alex Luna, Austin Uku and Fata Avegalio, and tackles Keoni Fraser and Anthony Thomas have lost practice or game time because of various physical difficulties. (Fraser has since quit the team.) When nearly 100 percent healthy at the get-go, UA held San Diego State to 41 net yards rushing on 29 attempts, an average of 1.4 yards per carry in its best effort of the season.
Arizona Football Notes...
...78, 74, 70, 58... Those are the distances of scoring plays that beat Arizona in the last two weeks. The first two were passes by Cory Pickett of Washington and the latter two were interception returns by Kevin Arbet and Kris Richard of USC. That's 28 big-play points in games lost by 3 and 7 points, respectively...
...The Cats held USC to 18 first downs, snapping a string of four weeks in which it had given up at least 24... UA's defense also stopped a streak of 400-plus games, holding USC to 312 while the average in the first four Pac-10 games was 495 yards...
...UA's third-down conversion rate is below expectations at 36 percent. Offensive coaches want a rate no less than 38 percent: UA was 5-for-16 vs. USC (31%) and one more first down near the end of the game might have made a difference... At Washington, UA converted eight of 15 third-down plays, it best of the year (though UW converted 9 of 16, too). The Cats converted 1 of 12 third-down tries against Oregon State, the worst figure... In Seattle, Jason Johnson's two scoring passes came on third down, both in scoring-zone successes. Opponents' season third-down rate is a sterling 41 percent...
...Sean Keel's 10-point game against USC -- two field goals and four extra points -- was the first double- digit scoring game in his three-year career... He's 16 points shy of the UA career Top 10 scoring chart, with 130 career points... Keel made a 28-yard field goal on his only try at Corvallis to give UA its only points and avoid a shutout. Deja vu: a year ago Keel's FGs against Oregon State (3-for-3) proved to be Arizona's only points against the Beavers in a 33-9 loss... UA has scored in 214 consecutive games... Keel did not attempt a field goal against WSU or Washington, the first times a kicker hasn't given it a go since the Ohio State game 17 contests back... He kicked the longest of his career, 44 yards, against Idaho this year...
...The punt Oregon State blocked was the first against Arizona since ASU's Donnie Neal did so last year, and the first block returned for a score since Frank Primus of Stanford did so in 1997... Andrae Thurman blocked a punt at the goal line to give UA a safety at SDSU... The team has blocked 43 kicks in the last 12 seasons...
... Punter Ramey Peru's best outing was a 41.2 average and 39.0 net figure against UNLV, but he kicked well last week against USC, with a 39.6 average and a UA net figure of 37.0 on seven punts, three of which he stuck inside the 20... One of those was downed at the 2 yard-line with a tap from Gary Love to David Hinton... Peru has stuck eight punts inside the 20 and does not have a touchback kick... He had a career-best 62-yard punt with some roll at Washington... Against Oregon he had a 41.3 average but UA gave up 24 yards on returns for a net figure of 33.3 yards...
...UA used a punt return by Bobby Wade (58 yards) to set up a score against the Aztecs, and a 16-yard return by Wade against UNLV to give it scoring-drive starting position at UA's 40 yard-line ...Wade returned five punts for 40 yards against USC...
...With the 15 different players who have caught passes, UA has not had a 100-yard individual receiving game this year, though Brandon Marshall (1-99 vs. Idaho) and Andrae Thurman (5-95 vs. WSU, 4-96 vs. USC) came close....
...Clarence Farmer's 225 rushing yards in the last two games moved him into No. 3 in the league. Farmer's averaging 5.5 yards per tote (138-765)... Farmer's 158 yards against Oregon eclipsed his previous high of 134 at USC last season...
... Redshirt freshman back Tremaine Cox is averaging 5.6 yards per carry (32 tries) and soph Anthony Fulcher is averaging 5.2 on 14 carries... Cox's 80-yard touchdown run against UNLV was UA's longest since Farmer popped for 80 and a score at Southern California last Oct. 7... Fulcher has a 36-yard scoring run to his credit this year, against Oregon...
...UA's four interceptions against Washington compare to the school record of seven against UTEP in 1968... The last time UA had more interceptions was five against Illinois in 1996... Junior linebacker Ray Wells had his first career interception against the Huskies, as did senior defensive end Johnny Jackson. Those were the first non-DB picks of the season for UA... Jermaine Chatman's first interception at UW was in the end zone and turned the Huskies back, his second came a few minutes later and gave UA field position for the go-ahead score...
...Arizona's defensive secondary broke up 11 passes at Washington and nine against USC... UA has broken up 51 of opponents' 301 passes, plus intercepted 11 others to wreck 21% of the other guys' work. Cornerbacks Jolivette (16) and Jermaine Chatman (9) lead the way in PBUs, while Anthony Banks broke up three in his first start of the year in Chatman's spot against USC... ...Arizona ran 77 plays for 5.4 yards per attempt against USC, a week after it had 72 plays for 5.5 yards against Washington, both the highest totals of the year...
...Arizona has more time of possession in three games this year -- the victories at San Diego State (3:12 margin) and against UNLV (3:56 margin), and the loss to USC (0:52 margin)... The other four games UA had a deficit of at least six minutes, with the top difference the 14 more minutes Washington State held the ball...
...The 159 yards of total offense UA garnered at Oregon State almost made the 'top 5' of the Cats' difficult list for tough Pac-10 games. Most recently UA's lowest output in a league game was 159 total yards -- also against Oregon State, in 2000... Jason Johnson's 311 passing yards against USC almost made the UA's Top 5 chart for Pac-10 games. No. 5 on the list is the 342 yards Tom Tunnicliffe (328) and halfback Brian Holland (14) put up at Washington in 1980...
...Arizona has attempted four field goals in its last five games, a 28-yarder made by Sean Keel at OSU, a 50-yarder by Keel against Oregon which he pushed wide to the right and two of 24 and 46 yards he made against USC...
...Inside linebacker Lance Briggs has four double-digit tackles game of the year. His highest total was 13 against WSU... He had 10 at Washington, 12 against Oregon, 10 against Idaho... Cornerback Michael Jolivette had 10 tackles against SDSU... Free safety Jarvie Worcester had 10 at Washington... Defensive end Johnny Jackson leads with five sacks...
...The four interceptions suffered by UA quarterback Jason Johnson against USC and by Johnson (3) and Cliff Watkins (1) against Washington State are the most in a single game since Ortege Jenkins threw four against UCLA last season...
...Jason Johnson's 23 completions against USC was four shy of the single-game team and individual record of 27 by Marc Reed against Utah in 1966... Johnson's two 300-yard passing games this year are the first since Ortege Jenkins threw for 348 yards on Oct. 18, 1997 against Washington... Arizona's 491 yards in total offense against Idaho and the 483 yards against Oregon were the team's biggest totals since Nov. 13, 1999, when UA had 500 even at Oregon State...
...The Cats have recovered eight of opponents' 11 fumbles -- returning three for scores -- and 11 of their own19 drops...
2001 Arizona Football Tentative Depth Chart -- vs. California, Nov. 3, 2001Offense (2001 Starts)WR 25 Malosi Leonard, 6-1, 210, *Sr., 3L, Palmdale, Calif. (Palmdale) (5) 6 Brandon Marshall, 5-11, 200, *Sr., 1L, Oceanside, Calif. (Oceanside/Palomar) (4) 18 Lance Relford, 6-0, 200, *So., 1L, Houston, Texas (Booker T. Washington)LT 77 Makoa Freitas, 6-4, 296, *Jr., 2L, Manoa, Hawaii (Kamehameha) (8) 65 John Vorsheck, 6-4, 299, *Jr., SQ, Laguna Hills, Calif. (Laguna Hills/Saddleback CC)LG 66 Steven Grace, 6-3, 293, *Sr., 3L, Honolulu, Hawaii (Kamehameha) (8) 59 Chris Johnson, 6-3, 301, *Fr., RS, Houston, Texas (North Shore)C 75 Reggie Sampay, 6-3, 273, So., 1L, Houston, Texas (North Shore) (2/8) 66 Steven Grace, 6-3, 293, *Sr., 3L, Honolulu, Hawaii (Kamehameha) (6)RG 67 Keoki Fraser, 6-2, 293, *Fr., RS, Kailua, Hawaii (Kailua) (3) or 72 Kevin Barry, 6-5, 315, *Sr., 1L, Racine, Wis. (Washington Park/Hutchinson) (5)RT 78 Darren Safranek, 6-7, 292, *Jr., 2L, Tucson, Ariz. (Catalina Foothills) (6) or 68 Brandon Phillips, 6-7, 278, *So., SQ, Chandler, Ariz. (Corona del Sol) (2)TE 89 James Hugo, 6-6, 255, *Jr., 2L, The Woodlands, Texas (Oak Ridge) (5) 88 Justin Levasseur, 6-5, 230, *So, SQ, Antioch, Calif. (Antioch) (1) 87 Steve Fleming, 6-6, 237, *Fr, RS, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral) (1)WR 1 Bobby Wade, 5-11, 194, Jr., 2L, Phoenix, Ariz. (Desert Vista) (8) 3 Andrae Thurman, 5-11, 185, *So., Avondale, Ariz. (Westview) (5) 9 Gary Love, 5-10, 176, *So., 1L, 5-10, 176, Los Angeles, Calif. (Jefferson)QB 10 Jason Johnson, 6-2, 210, *Jr., Puyallup, Wash. (Puyallup) (8) 13 John Rattay, 6-3, 200, *Fr., RS, Phoenix, Ariz. (Desert Vista/Tennessee) 15 Cliff Watkins, 6-4, 220, *So., SQ, Breckenridge, Texas (Breckenridge)HB 32 Clarence Farmer, 6-1, 214, So., 1L, Houston, Texas (Booker T. Washington) (7) 20 Leo Mills, 5-11, 214, *Jr, 2L, Humble, Texas (Humble)FB 40 Mike Detwiler, 6-2, 227, *Sr., 1L, Truckee, Calif. (THS/Pasadena CC) (3) 21 Tremaine Cox, 5-11, 195, *Fr., RS, Tucson, Ariz. (Tucson) 36 Anthony Fulcher, 5-11, 197, So., 1L, Scottsdale, Ariz., (Horizon) (1)DefenseDE 54 Alex Luna, 6-1, 240, *Sr, 3L, San Fernando, Calif. (San Fernando) (7) 98 Fata Avegalio, 6-3, 236, *Fr, RS, Pago Pago, American Samoa (Leone)NT 58 Anthony Thomas, 6-2, 290, *Sr., 3L, Pasadena, Calif. (Pasadena) (7) 61 Bobby Ramsey, 6-3, 256, *Jr, SQ, Flagstaff, Ariz. (Flagstaff)DT 93 Young Thompson, 6-2, 293, Jr., 2L, Aloa, American Samoa (Samoana) (6) 92 Carlos Williams, 6-4, 273, *Fr., Denver, Colo. (Montbello)DE 91 Eli Wnek, 6-3, 251, *Sr, 3L, Glendale, Ariz. (Ironwood) 9 Johnny Jackson, 6-2, 246, *Sr., 1L, San Diego, Calif. (St. Augustine/Sacramento CC) (8)ILB 43 Kirk Johnson, 6-0, 203, Fr., HS, Oakland, Calif. (Skyline) (3) or 7 Ray Wells, 6-1, 224, *Jr., RS, San Diego, Calif. (Mt. Miguel/Mesa JC) (8) 38 Shelton Ross, 6-0, 221, *Sr., 2L, Kansas City, Mo. (Hickman Mills/Hutchinson JC)ILB 27 Lance Briggs, 6-2, 232, Jr., 2L, Sacramento, Calif. (Elk Grove) (8) 44 Pat Howard, 6-0, 218, *Fr., RS, La Marque, Texas (La Marque)OLB 7 Ray Wells, 6-1, 224, *Jr., RS, San Diego, Calif. (Mt. Miguel/Mesa JC) (8) or 42 Joe Siofele, 6-2, 252, *So, 1L, Waipahu, Hawaii (St. Louis) (5) 49 Matt Molina, 6-2, 225, *So., SQ, Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral)SS 19 Brandon Nash, 6-1, 217, *Sr., 3L, Los Angeles, Calif. (Beverly Hills) (8) 24 Zaharius Johnson, 6-0, 197, *Sr, 2L, Bradenton, Fla. (New Mexico Military Institute)LC 8 Michael Jolivette, 5-11, 179, *So., 1L, Houston, Texas (North Shore) (8) 2 David Hinton, 5-11, 172, *So., 1L, San Diego, Calif. (Lincoln Prep)FS 47 Jarvie Worcester, 6-0, 205, *Jr., 2L, La Jolla, Calif. (La Jolla) (8) 33 Clay Hardt, 6-1, 197, *So., 1L, Marana, Ariz. (Marana) or 30 Tony Wingate, 6-1, 205, *Fr., RS, Tucson, Ariz. (Sahuaro)RC 23 Jermaine Chatman, 5-11, 184, Sr., 1L, Compton, Calif. (Hawthorne/Pasadena CC) (7) or 17 Anthony Banks, 6-0, 161, Sr., 2L, Los Angeles (San Pedro/West Los Angeles CC) (1)Special TeamsPK: 3 - Sean Keel, 6-0, 201, Jr., 2L, Littleton, Colo. (Mullen), 28 - Bobby Gill, 5-10, 181, *So., SQ, Phoenix, Ariz. (Brophy)P 12 - Ramey Peru, 6-1, 190, *So, 1L, Chandler, Ariz. (Dobson), 33 - Clay HardtKO 34 - Ryan Slack, 6-1, 193, Fr., HS, Tucson, Ariz. (Salpointe), 24 - Bobby GillHold 10 - Jason Johnson, 15 - Cliff WatkinsSnap 65 - John Vorsheck, 67 - Keoki FraserLSnap 50 - Ben DalMolin, 5-11, 209, *Fr., RS, Globe, Ariz. (Globe)PR 1 - Bobby Wade, 25 - Malosi LeonardKOR 4 - Andrae Thurman, 6 - Brandon Marshall, 9 - Gary Love,
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