Wildcats Face ASU For State Pride And More
Nov. 18, 2001
- The Arizona Wildcats (4-6, 1-6 in the Pacific-10 Conference), play their season finale on the road in Tempe, meeting Arizona State (4-5, 1-5) at 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, in 73,379-seat Sun Devil Stadium. The game will be shown on national cable by Fox Sports Net with Steve Physioc, Tom Ramsey and Lewis Johnson describing the action, plus heard nationally on Westwood One Radio. A crowd of about 60,000 is expected.
Some Game Themes
- Arizona's season comes down to one game against its favorite rival, while ASU still has a make-up date with UCLA on the horizon... The Cats fight for a good off-season feeling while ASU can retain hopes of bowl eligibility with a victory... It's the nation's oldest trophy game, with the 1899 Territorial Cup on the line... Both teams need the week off after eight consecutive games without an open date... The league's newest coaches meet each other for the first time... It's a fete of catcalls, with prolific use of the Heavy S word and '1-2-3, Beat Tempe' and 'Fall Down, Arizona' among themes resounding from opposite sides of the fray... Arizona, which might set a school record by allowing 35 points per game, faces a national Top 25 scoring unit...
-- Arizona leads the storied series 32-31-1... The first game was played Nov. 11, 1899 at Carrillo Gardens in Tucson... ASU has a two-game winning streak including last year's 30-17 victory in Tucson... UA's last victory in Tempe came in 1997 (28-16)... The Cats are 15-13-1 in Tempe and 10-10-1 in games played at Sun Devil Stadium... Arizona has won five of the last eight meetings and three of the last four games in Tempe...
-- Arizona: John Mackovic (Wake Forest '65), first year at UA (4-6) and 14th season as a collegiate head coach (89-70-3, .559). He snapped a UA five-game losing streak to open the year and later put an end to UA's 10-game league losing streak. He was the first new UA coach to open 3-0 since Jim Young did so in 1973, when Mackovic was UA's offensive coordinator. He's the first UA coach to drop six league games. Mackovic is 0-1 against ASU, a 21-16 decision in early 1988 in Tempe while head coach at Illinois. He has not coached against Dirk Koetter. Arizona State: Dirk Koetter (Idaho State '81), first year at ASU (4-5), fourth year overall (30-15). He has a predominant offensive background with 13 years as a coordinator. He was such at Oregon for two Ducks' victories over UA in 1996 and 1997 at Eugene.
-- Arizona unholstered its offensive weaponry for a 578-yard, seven-scores effort but unfortunately also shot itself in the foot several times to make it easier for a solid Stanford team in the Cardinal's 51-37 victory, spoiling UA's Homecoming and Senior Night. The loss gave Arizona a winless conference home record for the first time since 1966 and eliminated the Cats from bowl consideration. How many teams could win when allowing 50 points? Few, the Cats re-learned. Of the 16 scores in the game, nine belonged to Stanford and four gave it 20 points following UA turnovers -- two directly on fumble returns of 25 yards (Tank Williams) and 89 yards (Coy Wire). The Cardinal led 27-13 at the half, then opened 3rd-quarter scoring with Williams' play, and added Wire's return, a 71-yard run by Kenneth Tolon and a field goal to take a 51-16 lead into the final period. Arizona showed a measure of pride with 21 points in about five minutes, including scoring runs of 20 and 66 yards by Clarence Farmer and a 21-yard TD pass from backup John Rattay to Malosi Leonard. After that, there simply wasn't enough time. UA lost four of six fumbles and QB Jason Johnson suffered an interception while UA managed one takeaway to give it field position for its first score -- a slick Johnson to Farmer pass down the sideline. Arizona averaged 7.8 yards per play and 6.8 yards per rush, but were able to run only a season-low 24 times in the catch-up position -- not to mention a time of possession deficit of 17 minutes. The Cats threw for 415 yards, the third-highest total in school history. The fact safety Jarvie Worcester had 16 tackles against a team which rushed for 276 yards points out one problem: UA didn't stop people at the line of scrimmage. At the end, UA came up 0-4 in Pac-10 home play for the first time.
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.
Mackovic helped UA end an ignominious streak in the opener, snapping a five-game losing skein with a 23-10 victory at San Diego State. On Nov. 3 he led UA in snapping another shared streak -- 10 consecutive Pac-10 losses -- with a 38-24 victory at California. Unfortunately the Nov. 10 loss to Stanford extended his shared (with Dick Tomey) UA streak of seven consecutive home league losses. UA's season has demonstrated both Mackovic's talent at play-calling and the fact the transformation of Wildcat football will not occur overnight.
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 and has developed to the point 300- and 400-yard passing games are not oddities.
Mackovic, 58, carries a 13-year collegiate record of 89-70-3. At Arizona he is 4-6 overall, 1-6 in Pac-10 play, 2-2 on the road and 2-4 at home. 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 33 years of coaching he has held four 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 Jim Young's four-year offensive coordinator from 1973-76, heydays for prolific Western Athletic Conference offensive displays.
He has worked with and helped to develop such noted offensive players as Arizona's Bruce Hill and Theo Bell, Purdue's Mark Hermann, the Cowboys' Danny White, Illinois' Jeff George and Ricky Williams of Texas. Moreover, his emphasis on the total student-athlete can be underscored by eight national academic/citizenship honor winners including defensive end Eli Wnek's recent selection to the AFCA Good Works Team. Plus, Mackovic has fostered classroom progress which gave him nine overall first-team Big 12 All-Academic honors his charges earned during his tenure at Texas. Quite soon several UA players should join that list.
Mackovic is no stranger to honors. At Wake Forest as a quarterback he won the Atlantic Coast Conference Gold Medal Award and earned Academic All-America honors his senior year. Later at WFU as head coach in 1979 he earned Walter Camp Foundation National Coach of the Year, The Sporting News College Coach of the Year, AFCA District Coach of the Year and Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year. At Illinois where he also served as athletics director, he earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 1988 and 1989. At Texas in 1995 he was Southwest Conference Coach of the Year and a national award finalist. In 1996 he was Big XII Coach of the Year by the Austin American Statesman after taking the Longhorns to victory in the inaugural Big XII title game over Nebraska.
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.
Last Game For UA Seniors
The Arizona State game represents the final game in Cardinal and Navy for 19 Wildcat seniors. Seven are fifth-year seniors who were part of UA's Insight.com Bowl program in 1997 and the Cats' 1998 Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska -- center/guard Steven Grace, tight end and kick blocker Peter Hansen, wide receiver Malosi Leonard, defensive end Alex Luna, safety Brandon Nash, defensive tackle Anthony Thomas and defensive end Eli Wnek. Ten others came to UA as transfers from junior college programs, including cornerback Tony Banks, offensive guard Kevin Barry, cornerback Jermaine Chatman, fullback Mike Detwiler, defensive end Johnny Jackson, safety Zaharius Johnson, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, inside linebacker Shelton Ross, defensive end Austin Uku and defensive lineman Dusty Alexander. Three joined the Arizona program as walk-ons -- Alexander, wide receiver Nick Fleury and Hansen, though Hansen will be a four-year letterman, Fleury will have earned two letters and Alexander is likely to letter this year in his first action, having played in games both as a reserve offensive and defensive lineman. This season 14 have started games -- Banks, Barry, Chatman, Detwiler, Grace, Jackson, Leonard, Luna, Marshall, running back Leo Mills, Nash, Ross, Thomas and Uku. Wnek, injured in preseason, is rounding back into form and was the expected starter on one side as a defensive end, while Fleury, Hansen and Johnson each start on UA special teams and see rotation play. Six seniors will be four-year lettermen, including Grace, Leonard, Luna, Nash, Thomas and Wnek, while Mills will leave UA with three varsity letters.
Arizona State and Match-up Notes...
Arizona State University, Tempe: Enrollment 43,732... Colors - Maroon and Gold... Conference - Pac-10... In 2000: 6-6
...Sophomore QB Jeff Krohn, knocked from ASU's game against Oregon Nov. 3 with concussion-like symptoms, missed the second half of the last game with a sore shoulder, but should be okay for the UA game. He's been among national pass efficiency leaders throughout the season, due in part to a 3:1 touchdown to interception ratio. He's thrown 19 scoring strikes. The TD throws rank him sixth on ASU's single-season chart, and with two more he'd displace John Torok (20 in 1964) at No. 5. Danny White, who played for Mackovic at Dallas, is No. 4 with 23. Pretty good stuff for a walk-on quarterback (since vested with a scholarship)... Backup quarterbacks Matt Cooper and Andrew Walter each have seen action throughout the year... WR Shaun McDonald also is ranked in the nation's Top 10, with 108 yards per game. He's snared 10 touchdown receptions and also sports a 23.6 yards per catch figure. He's had 100 yards or more in each of the past four games -- in fact, he's had 589 receiving yards in that span, including 9-194 against Washington. To break the ASU record of 1,082 receiving yards (Ron Fair, 1989), McDonald needs 115 yards against the Wildcats. A couple of TD receptions could move him to No. 2 on the ASU single-season scoring catches chart. He tied a 50-year-old school record with four TD catches in one game this year (Louisiana-Lafayette)... Receiver Ryen Dennard caught three TD throws and returned a fumble for a score against San Jose State to give him four scores in one game, too... Place kicker Mike Barth, a Lou Groza Award semifinalist, has been successful on nine of 14 FG attempts this year including six of seven inside 40 yards. He also has one of those legs that boots more than half his kickoffs for touchbacks.... Tailback Delvon Flowers has four 100-yard rushing games this year and could hit the 1,000-yard mark with a big day against Arizona. He has 853 yards, is averaging 5.6 yards per tote and has scored eight touchdowns. He had a career-high 226 yards against Oregon State earlier in the year... True freshman free safety Jason Shivers leads the Sun Devils with 68 tackles, while defensive end Terrell Suggs leads the team and is among league leaders with 10 sacks. Suggs has 17 tackles for loss, also among the best in the Pac-10. He led the team with 10 sacks last year when he earned Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors. Shivers is among four true freshman to play for the Devils this year... One of ASU's top players is punter Nick Murphy, who's averaging 41.5 yards per kick and helping (along with kick coverage teams) the Devils post a net punting figure of 37.2 yards... The Sun Devils scored 63 points this year against Louisiana-Lafayette, one splurge which helped them reach their 35 points per game, rated No. 20 in the nation after games of Nov. 10... Senior tailback Tom Pace is among national leaders in kickoff returns with a 27.7-yard average... ASU 2001 team captains elected by players are senior safety Willie Daniel, senior center Scott Peters and junior safety Alfred Williams... A look at the past five years for both Arizona State and Arizona find the programs with near-equal records (including this season) entering the Nov. 23 Big Game -- Arizona has played to a 34-24 record with two bowl appearances while ASU has put up a 30-26 mark with three bowl games. The teams are 2-2 against each other in that span. Two of the bowl games for ASU came with their sixth victory of the year against UA, in 1999 and 2000...
In the Polls
The Wildcats received votes in the Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 polls. UA's most recent ranking was No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today and No. 24 in the AP polls with a 5-2 record last year. Arizona State received votes in the AP poll following its season-opening victory over San Diego State.
Injury Report for Arizona St. Game
OL Reggie Sampay (shoulder at UW, missed Cal and Stanford) is probable. OT Darren Safranek (knee at Cal, required surgery), out. OG Chris Johnson (knee in practice), questionable. UA 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 OLB Joe Siofele (wrist), LB Shelton Ross (knee), LB Ray Wells (shoulder), DT Anthony Thomas (foot) and since-departed DT Keoni Fraser (concussion). Lost Potential Starts due to Injury: 17 (DE Wnek-8, DT Keoni Fraser-1, LB Lance Briggs-1, WLB Joe Siofele-5, C Reggie Sampay-2).
Three fifth-year seniors were elected team captains by their teammates last week: Strong safety Brandon Nash, Beverly Hills, Calif., 4-year letterman Offensive guard Steven Grace, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 4-year letterman, Defensive tackle Anthony Thomas, Pasadena, Calif., 4-year letterman. Nash and Thomas played as true freshman and redshirted as juniors, while Grace is a four-year regular and three-year starter at left guard or center.
Here are the game captains throughout the year: 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, Nash, DE Austin Uku, Grace, PK Sean Keel. Oregon: DE Johnny Jackson, Briggs, FS Clay Hardt, Detwiler, Grace. Oregon State: Nash, Worcester, Briggs and Leonard. Washington: Jason Johnson, Nash, Thomas and Grace. USC: Nash, Grace, Barry, Wnek. Cal: Nash, Grace, Thomas, Wade. Stanford: CB Anthony Banks, Zaharius Johnson, Leonard, Wnek. ASU: Brandon Nash, Steven Grace and Anthony Thomas will officially assume their captaincies.
Boasting About Bobby
Junior wide receiver Bobby Wade caught 21 passes for 333 yards in UA's last three games. He had a season-high 131 yards on seven catches against Stanford. He tied a school record with three touchdown receptions, had a season-high 187 all-purpose yards and 118 receiving yards with 6 grabs at California. His punt return of 44 yards at Cal pushed him into the national top 40 at 10.95 yards per return. A week earlier he tied his career high with eight receptions (84 yards) against USC. The game before that 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. He's the team leader with 51 receptions and 725 yards, listed No. 48 nationally in catches per game. The 51 grabs are No. 10 on UA's single-season chart. He has 126 career receptions for 1,805 yards, No. 4 on the UA career chart for catches. He has caught a pass in 30 consecutive games, No. 12 nationally. He is No. 7 on the UA's career receiving yards chart and needs 80 more to move into the No. 6 spot ahead of Terry Vaughn. He also has 492 career punt return yards on 47 tries for a 10.5 average (37th nationally). His 725 receiving yards this year are No. 15 on UA's single-season chart. He has 2,670 all-purpose yards in his career.
UA's running game is 62 percent Clarence Farmer when it comes to who gets the ball (minus quarterback rushes) and 77 percent Farmer when it comes to yardage gained. Why not? He's averaging 6.1 yards per rush and became Arizona's 11th single-season 1,000-yard rusher in the Stanford game, toting 12 times for 141 yards, with touchdown runs of 66 and 20 yards and a 43-yard scoring reception. He's a fine complement to an Arizona passing attack which generates 250 yards per game on the average. Farmer, a sophomore halfback, moved into the nation's No. 24 spot at 107.1 yards per game with his 306 yards in the last two games. He had 111 yards at the half in Berkeley and finished with a career-high 165 total, including a 65-yard scoring run to give UA a lead it never relinquished. He has eight career 100-yard games and five this year. At Washington he had 21 carries for 147 yards and a touchdown run of 16 yards to give UA a fourth-quarter lead. His 6.1 yards per carry is an outstanding mark considering much of his work begins inside. He ripped off runs of 78, 14, 15, 12 and 25 yards en route to a then career-high 158 rushing yards(15 carries) against Oregon. 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. Farmer clearly has been one of the most hard-working Wildcats on the field... Senior halfback Leo Mills missed the Cal trip with a bruised knee, but returned to action against Stanford.. He had a hot start at Washington, totaling 56 yards on 12 rushes and keying the Cats' first scoring drive... Redshirt freshman back Tremaine Cox is second on the team with 213 yards rushing and has an 80-yard touchdown run this year, tied for the eight-longest in UA history... Sophomore back Anthony Fulcher leads running backs with 10 receptions... Fullback Mike Detwiler has played a ton and has three carries for 13 tough yards and one reception. No other running back has played for UA this year.
The Cats were winless in home conference games for the first time since the late Lyndon Baines Johnson was living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. -- 1966. Arizona was 0-4 in league home games this year, extending a conference home losing streak to seven games. The 1966 team, a Western Athletic Conference affiliate, finished 3-7 overall and lost WAC home games to Utah, BYU and ASU. The last UA home Pac-10 victory came against Washington State (53-47) in three overtimes Oct. 14, 2000. Arizona had one league home victory in Pac-10 play six times since its affiliation -- last year and in 1999, 1995, 1987, 1981 and 1980. The Cats were perfect at home three times in Pac-10 play -- 1993-94 and 1984, plus won three league home games in eight different seasons.
Bragging About Briggs
Junior inside linebacker Lance Briggs was slowed by usual hard-hitting linebacker physical maladies at California and against Stanford, missing the start in Berkeley. He had one of the biggest plays of the game, stripping the QB inside UA's 20 yard-line for a sack-turnover which UA took the other way for a score against the Bears. Against Stanford he notched five hits and recovered a fumble. Against USC he notched nine tackles. He leads the club with 85, slightly off his usual average of 10.0 per game. He also leads the team with 11 tackles for loss, plus has 3.5 sacks, has forced two fumbles and recovered two. He has 198 career tackles in two seasons as a middle linebacker, an average of 9.9 per game. He switched from true-freshman fullback to the 'mike' linebacker role last year. He's played for four games with a cast (and requisite padding) on his left hand due to a slight fracture.
Jawing on Jason
UA junior quarterback Jason Johnson's three 300-yard passing games this year are the only three such individual UA efforts in the last 51 Arizona games. He threw for 300 yards-plus in back-to-back games at against USC and California, the first time a UA quarterback has done so since October 1983 -- 18 years. Tom 'Terrific' Tunnicliffe had 317 passing yards against California and 321 against Colorado State for a total of 638 yards that year. Johnson accumulated 311 against USC and 315 against California for a total of 626. The last time a UA quarterback passed for more yardage in successive games was Dan White with 636 yards in games against USC (370) and Arizona State (266) in November 1994. Johnson's total eclipsed a two-game spree by Alfred Jenkins in November 1984 -- 625 yards in games vs. Utah State (336) and Stanford (289). Johnson has experienced a roller coaster ride in his first year as the main man. He completed 18 of 29 for a career-high 315 yards against California, and 23 of 43 passes (both career highs) for 311 yards against USC. Against Stanford he completed 14 of 28 throws for 260 yards and a touchdown, but suffered an interception and a fumble (which was returned 89 yards for a score). The better game clearly was the Cal game -- UA won and he suffered no interceptions. Against USC he threw a career-high four interceptions. He's thrown for 17 touchdowns, somewhat spoiled by the 12 interceptions. A concussion at the end of the first quarter at Washington knocked him out of a game in which he appeared hot - 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 134.30, listed this week at No. 34 in Division I-A. He has completed Mackovic's predetermined target of 56 percent of his passes (151 of 269, 2,122 yards). The 17 touchdown throws put him No. 5 on the single-season UA chart. He's No. 6 on UA's single-season passing yardage chart. He's No. 6 on the single-season completions chart. His efficiency rating would factor in 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. Backup quarterbacks John Rattay and Cliff Watkins each have played, with Rattay getting the nod after Johnson's injury at Washington and in the Cal game. Rattay had his best outing against Stanford, leading the team on three scoring drives and completing 11 of 22 throws for 155 yards including a 21-yard scoring pass to Malosi Leonard.
Catching the Ball
UA quarterbacks have completed passes to 15 different receivers this year and found 10 of them against Stanford, believed to be a potential school record. However, an obvious corps of go-to people exists. Bobby Wade (51), Malosi Leonard (39), Andrae Thurman (29) and Brandon Marshall (20) have made 65 percent of the receptions. Wade is No. 10 on the UA single-season chart after his seven receptions for 131 yards vs. Stanford. Wade snared a season-high eight catches for 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 seven games (except OSU-6, WSU-5, UW-5). The 10 receivers against Stanford was the most since the 1998 season opener (9 caught balls at Penn State). Marshall's school-record 99-yard catch-run against Idaho puts him atop the list in yards per catch with 20 receptions for 411 yards (20.5). He has another long scoring catch, a 44-yarder against Oregon. Wade leads the team with seven touchdown receptions and Marshall is next with four. Tight ends were more of a focus in the California game, with nominal starter James Hugo snagging one pass for eight yards and swifter Justin Levasseur catching two balls for 43 yards -- one a tight-end season-long 40-yarder for a score. Four tight ends have combined for 16 catches and 139 yards -- Hugo (9-56), Levasseur (5-70), Steve Fleming (1-8) and Peter Hansen (1-5). Hugo, Levasseur and Fleming each have started games in various formation judgements by coaches. Combo back Anthony Fulcher leads with 10 catches out of the backfield
Sophomore cornerback Michael Jolivette intercepted his fourth and fifth passes of the year against USC and returned one 60 yards for a score. He also had a 40-yard fumble return for a score against UNLV. He's tied for No. 15 in the nation at .50 interceptions per game. Jolivette's 10 career picks in two years put him two shy of the UA Top 10 chart and his five per year are one short of the single-season chart. He has 19 PBU this year and 33 overall, the third-best UA career figure and within reach of former All-American safety Chuck Cecil's UA-record 38 from 1984-87. He trails Kelly Malveaux (35) for the top UA career mark by a CB. The team broke up 22 passes in the past three weeks after knocking down a season-high 11 at Washington. Cornerback Jermaine Chatman had two interceptions and three PBUs vs. UW. 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 65 tackles. Worcester had 16 tackles against Stanford, a career-high. The other UA interceptions are by safety Clay Hardt, linebacker Ray Wells and defensive end Johnny Jackson. Strong safety Brandon Nash leads DBs with seven tackles for loss among his 43 hits, plus returned a fumble 57 yards for a score at SDSU. Backup FS Hardt has most of his 26 tackles on kick coverage, plus notched his first interception at Cal. Backup SS Zaharius Johnson has added 22 tackles, three sacks (two at Cal) and two PBUs.
Arizona has led a Pac-10 game in time of possession just once this year. The last game was influenced by Stanford's 38:21 to 21:39 edge. The Cats' near comeback and persistence against USC gave it its first time-of-possession edge in a Pac-10 game this year. The Cats' league games have seen them work at a deficit of about seven minutes per game. Stanford and Washington State skewed the figure most dramatically (WSU held the ball 14 more minutes). The Ducks had about seven more minutes, Oregon State about eight and Washington merely four. California had the ball for a three-minute edge although leading at 38-3 the Wildcats put in backup quarterback John Rattay for some work and he suffered a couple of two-and-out possessions with a lost fumble and an interception.
Opponents Score Big
Arizona is averaging 28.6 points per game, the seventh highest total in school history if it holds. But in the meantime the Cats have surrendered 356 points, six shy of the school-record 361 given up in 1992. UA has surrendered 296 points in its six Pac-10 games alone, the most since Pac-10 affiliation which began in 1978. 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). The 1991 team allowed 32.8 points per game to post the highest single-season opponents' mark. The 1996 Cats allowed 199 points in six consecutive league games, two of which UA won. On a happier note, UA has scored in 212 consecutive home games and 122 consecutive games overall.
Sacking and Protecting the QBs
Neither team had much pressure in UA's last game, with UA notching only one sack and Stanford two. UA came up with some good pressure (11 tackles for loss) vs. California and notched eight sacks by seven different players. The total was one shy of the school record. Nickel back Zaharius Johnson (SS) had two at Cal. Linemen added three and linebackers had two, plus strong safety Brandon Nash added one among his three hits for losses. DE Johnny Jackson leads UA with six sacks. At California Lance Briggs' sack caused a fumble that DT Young Thompson recovered to give UA a red-zone stop and a sudden-change scoring drive. UA had recorded three sacks in the previous three weeks -- one by 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 hurt UA's continuity in fostering a pass rush. The only sack of the Oregon game came on a blitz by safety Zaharius Johnson. UA had three sacks against Washington State and has 16 in Pac-10 play. The team has 29 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. DE Alex Luna, Jackson and Michael Jolivette had one apiece in the opener at San Diego State.
Opponents have 24 sacks (SDSU-2, Idaho-0, UNLV-1, WSU-3, Oregon-0, OSU-3, Washington-4, USC-6, Cal-3, SU-2). One of Stanford's led directly to a score via a fumble return of 89 yards. California's through-the-gaps defense put good pressure on the QB and running backs as the Cats lost 69 yards. USC had the best success in getting to UA's quarterback, including two sacks on the final two plays of the game. Arizona is below coach John Mackovic's ratio goal of one sack allowed per 17 pass attempts. UA has attempted 339 passes and therefore is allowing one sack per 19 pass attempts. Meantime, UA's defense is knocking the other guy at a rate of one sack per 12.5 passing attempts, better than the preferred ratio.
Arizona's 2001 season has been marked by at least one factor -- turnovers. From both sides. In fact, UA games have witnessed an average of 5.3 turnovers per game. Unfortunately 31 of them have been UA's. The Cats entered league play at +3 in total turnovers, then have dropped to the current -9 mark. Stanford had two fumble returns for scores -- two of the six defensive touchdowns by opponents in 2001. One fumble return by Stanford's Coy Wire covered an improbable 89 yards, wrecking a UA possession at the 5 yard-line and turning it into disaster. Malosi Leonard blocked a SU punt to set up a late UA TD... UA's forced 10 turnovers in its last four games -- but suffered 15, including a season-high four lost fumbles against the Cardinal. Stanford scored 20 points off turnovers, and that's not the season high . California took advantage with 14 turnover points following backup QB John Rattay's interception and fumble in the fourth period. After a week in which it fared okay (no turnover points at Washington), Arizona gift-wrapped 21 markers against USC, with two picks returned for scores (70 and 58 yards) and another leading to a four-play, 12-yard touchdown drive. The first three league games saw a similar story: three turnovers led to two short-field touchdowns by the Beavers, who also blocked a UA punt and recovered that ball for a score, five turnovers against Oregon led to five touchdown drives and 35 points by the Ducks, four interceptions against WSU led to three scores. The spate of turnovers in league play shattered UA's ball-control style evidenced in the first three games and dropped UA from a No. 26 standing to 105th in Division I-A. UA trails in sudden change points by nearly a 2:1 ratio. UA does have four returns for scores -- fumbles for 2 yards by DE Austin Uku vs. WSU, by CB Michael Jolivette for 40 yards against UNLV and by SS Brandon Nash for 57 yards at San Diego State, plus a CB Michael Jolivette 60-yard interception return vs. USC. UA suffered an over-the-head snap on a punt that was illegally kicked through the endzone by punter Ramey Peru to give SDSU a scoring possession at the UA 1 yard-line.
Stopping the Run
Arizona closes its season against an Arizona State team with three tailbacks who have 100-yard backgrounds -- starter Delvon Flowers, Tom Pace and Mike Williams. ASU's prolific scoring ability has been pegged to quarterback Jeff Krohn's superlative efficiency, but Sun Devil backs have done good work, combining for 171 yards per game, listed No. 41 nationally. Arizona defensive coordinator Larry Mac Duff continues to emphasize stopping the run as a matter of philosophy but the Cats have had some mixed success this year. Stanford took the challenge with 55 carries (an opponents' season high), had two backs over the 100-yard mark and was effective with 276 total rushing yards at 5.0 per carry. UA held Cal to 63 net rushing yards through three quarters then slipped a bit with some reserves seeing action to allow 52 more yards in the fourth period and 115 total. The Bears were persistent, with 46 attempts, but a 2.5 per carry average was not devastating. The Cats held USC to 64 net rushing yards on 22 carries, a 2.1 per tote average. 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 four games have seen UA hover in the middle of the Division I-A rushing defense rankings. Eight opposing running 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), OSU's Ken Simonton (18-104), California's Terrell Williams (28-108), Stanford's Brian Allen (23-143) and Kenneth Tolon (12-100). Those eight are the only backs to hit the 100-yard mark against UA in the last 22 games. Rotating injuries across the line hurt UA's continuity. Senior end Johnny Jackson has been the stalwart, starting all 10 games. Otherwise, everyone else on the line has lost practice or game time because of various physical ailments, plus DT Keoni Fraser quit the team in October. When nearly 100 percent healthy at the get-go, UA held SDSU to 41 net yards on 29 attempts, an average of 1.4 yards per carry.
Scoring Zone Report
Arizona and opponents have roughly the same scoring-zone percentages, which is good news and bad news. Another factor is opponents' 10 more penetrations than Arizona. Opponents have had success punching it in, notably because of Oregon's eight penetrations and eight TDs. Compared to last year the Cats' offense has stepped up and shown improvement sticking it into the endzone once it penetrates the 20 yard-line. Last year Arizona managed touchdowns only 52 percent of the time (33 trips) it reached the scoring zone, though it did hold opponents to a 44 percent TD factor on 39 penetrations. This year:
UA Totals - 31 times, 23 scores, 19 TD = 143 points, 74% scoring, 61% TD
Opponents - 41 times, 34 scores, 28 TD = 214 points, 83% scoring, 68% TD
Arizona Football Banquet Dec. 2
The 2001 Arizona Football Awards Banquet will be held Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Westin La Paloma resort. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. with a no-host reception and the dinner program scheduled at 6 p.m.. General public tickets for the coat-and-tie affair are $50. For more information call 520-621-6133, extension 5.
1899 Territorial Cup on the Line
Arizona and Arizona State officials worked over the summer to earn NCAA Division I-A designation for the 1899 Territorial Cup as the oldest trophy game in America, eclipsing the battle for the Little Brown Jug, awarded annually since 1909 to the winner of the Michigan-Minnesota game. The Territorial Cup goes to the winning school's athletics department with a replica to the winning school's president's office. Two later trophies in the series also will be awarded -- the Saguaro Trophy for the winning coach (since 1997) and a sculpture piece by artist Ben Goo which is expected to be awarded to the game's Most Valuable Player. That piece formerly went to the winner of the Big Game from 1979 to 1998.
Arizona Football Notes...
Arizona Academic Stalwarts - Brandon Nash, Eli Wnek, Jason Johnson
Arizona's top academic honors candidates include seniors Eli Wnek and Brandon Nash, and junior Jason Johnson. In order they carry 3.79, 3.13 and 3.78 cumulative grade point averages while starting as college football players. Wnek returned to action last week. On Sept. 18 he was named to the American Football Coaches Association 'Good Works Team,' just one of 11 Division I-A players so honored and the only Pac-10 representative. He and Nash earned 1st-team All-Pac-10 Academic honors in 2000, while Malosi Leonard and Jarvie Worcester were honorable- mention picks. Wnek and Nash both earned degrees in May and are taking post-graduate studies. Nash, a recently elected UA team captain, was named a winner of a Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship prior to the season. UA special teams players Ben DalMolin (3.30), Justin Jochum (3.81) Ramey Peru (3.05) and backup QB John Rattay (3.51) also have been nominated to the Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team.
WR, Bobby Wade, 5-11, 187, Jr., Phoenix, Ariz.
Arizona's most experienced receiver, having played in 32 career games (28 starts) ... Moved into fourth place on the all-time UA receptions list (126) and ranks seventh on the career yardage list (1,805) ... A semifinalist for the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Player of the Year Award ... Leads the team with 51 receptions, 725 yards and 7 TDs ... Ranks second on the team with a 104.4 all-purpose yards per game average ... Has at least one catch in 31 of 32 career appearances, including 30 consecutive (which ranks T12th nationally) ... Averaging a team-leading 11.0 yards per punt return and has two returns of 40 or more yards ... Five career 100-yard receiving games to his credit ... Notched second consecutive 100-yard receiving game with a career high 131 yards vs. Stanford, including a season-long 56-yard grab ... Tied a school record with three TD catches (50, 13, 16) at California and finished with six grabs for 118 yards (UA's first 100-yard receiving game this year) to go with 75 yards on three punt returns ... Equaled a career high with eight receptions for a season-high 84 yards vs. USC ... Had a team-high six grabs at Washington for 74 yards and a TD ... Had two receptions for 24 yards at Oregon State ... Had three receptions for 67 yards vs. Oregon ... Collected a TD catch vs. Washington State and finished with 59 receiving yards ... Posted the first two-TD game of his career with a pair of scoring grabs vs. UNLV (14, 15) and finished with four receptions for 54 yards ... Led UA with five catches vs. Idaho and totaled 70 yards ... Also added his third career reception of 50+ yards vs. the Vandals ... Tallied five catches for 44 yards in the opener at San Diego State, and added 107 return yards (59 punt/48 kick) that included a 58-yard punt return ... Led the Cats with 45 receptions and 626 yards last season ... Has blossomed under Coach Mackovic's offensive system ... Has big-play potential with 14-, 60- and 75-yards TD catches last year ... Has 14 TD catches in his career ... Outstanding kick returner who led the 2000 squad with 981 yards.
PK, Sean Keel, 6-0, 200, Jr., Littleton, Colo.
Entered the year on the Lou Groza Award Preseason watch list as one of the nation's top collegiate kickers ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Made 9-of-14 FG atts. on the year ... Has made seven of his last eight FG attempts, including a career-best 52-yarder vs. Stanford ... Ranks 10th on the UA career scoring list with 148 points ... Scored a career-best 13 points vs. Stanford, including 3-for-3 FGs (22, 52, 43) ... Made 1-of-2 FGs at California and added for PATs ... Hit a season-high two FGs vs. USC (24, 46), including a career long of 46 yards as the first half expired ... The 10-point day vs. USC (including 4 PATs) was the first of his career ... Punted once (a career first) for 32 yards at Washington off a FG formation ... Hit a 28-yard FG at Oregon State, his first FG in three games ... Missed a 50-yard attempt vs. Oregon, but went 4-of-4 on PATs ... Was 3-of-3 PATs vs. Washington State, as UA did not attempts a field goal for the first time in 13 games ... Hit a 20-yard FG vs. UNLV and was 5-of-5 on PATs vs. UNLV ... Equaled a then-career long with a 44-yard FG vs. Idaho ... Missed only FG attempt at San Diego State (40 yds.) ... Ranked third in the Pac-10 and 26th nationally with 1.18 FG/game last year ... Made 13-of-17 field goal attempts (.765) and 25-of-26 PATs (.962) in 2000 ... Made 9-of-10 field goals inside 40 yards and was 4-of-5 on attempts of 40-49 yards last year ... Has a career long of 46 yards vs. USC on Oct. 27, 2001 ... Connected on 27-of-39 FGAs in his career (.692).
OL, Stephen Grace, 6-3, 293, Sr., Honolulu, Hawaii
Arguably Arizona's best offensive lineman and one of the finest in the Pac-10 Conference ... Has three consecutive starts at left guard ... Made his first start of the year at left guard (his position last year) vs. Washington after six starts at center which led to much-improved line play and offensive output ... For the second time this season the UA offensive line surrendered no sacks, this time to No. 6 Oregon ... Under his guidance, the O-Line continues to help the UA offense remain balanced and productive, as the squad totaled 440 yards of offense (184 rush/256 pass) in the win over UNLV ... Led the offensive line in allowing no sacks in the win over Idaho as the offense tallied 491 yards of total offense, the team's highest total since Nov. 13, 1999 ... Anchored an offensive line that first-time QB starter to complete 21-of-32 passes for 176 yards vs. SDSU ... Coach Mackovic has called Grace 'the best center I have ever coached.' ... Has recovered from shoulder surgery last year that limited him to just one game played ... Earned second-team all-Pac-10 honors in 1999 as a starter at left guard.
RB, Clarence Farmer, 6-0, 224, So., Houston, Texas
A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Averaging 6.1 ypc in 2001 ... Ranks second in the Pac-10 in rushing yards (1,070) and yards per game (107.0) ... On a pace for 1177 yards this season ... Leads team with 10 touchdowns (9 rush/1 rec.) ... Five 100-yard rushing games this season and eight in his career ... Rushed for 141 yards and two TDs vs. Stanford (119 in the second half) and added a 43-yard touchdown catch (a career long) ... Rushed for a career-high 165 yards on 27 carries at California, including a 65-yard TD run ... Collected 82 yards and a TD in the second half vs. USC ... Went over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season at Washington with 147 yards on 21 totes (7.0 ypc), also has tow reception for eight yards out of the backfield ... Tallied just 55 yards on 19 carries at Oregon State to account for 35 percent of the UA total offense ... Collected a career-best 158 yards on 15 carries (10.5 ypc) vs. No. 6 Oregon, including a 78-yard run (second longest of his career) ... Tallied 84 yards on 16 carries with a 31-yard TD run vs. Washington State ... Collected 35 yards on 11 totes vs. UNLV ... Topped 100 yards for the first time this season (fourth career) with 118 yards on 18 carries with two TDs ... Posted a strong 2001 debut, compiling 90 yards on 21 carries and a TD ... Scored UA's first TD on a nice 12-yard run and set up a second with a 27-yard scamper at San Diego State ... A powerful, bruising back that rushed for 666 yards and five touchdowns last year ... One of only two true freshmen running backs at Arizona to post three 100-yard rushing games ... Had three runs of 35 yards in 2000, including two for scores ... Named a freshman All-American by The Sporting News.
LB, Lance Briggs, 6-1, 230, Jr., Sacramento, Calif.
Ranks second in the Pac-10 with 80 tackles through nine games ... Has 11 double-figure tackle games in 20 games at linebacker ... Totaled a career-low two tackles at California, but managed to register a sack and force a fumble ... Collected nine tackles (five solo) vs. USC to go with a PBU ... Posted 10 tackles (five solo) at Washington to go with two TFL ... Had eight stops (4 solo) at Oregon State ... Recorded at least 10 stops for the second week in a row with 12 vs. No. 6 Oregon to go with 2 TFL ... Notched a team-high 13 tackles vs. Washington State ... Recovered a fumble and registered a team-high seven tackles (six solo) in the win over UNLV ... Led UA with 10 stops (8 solos) 2.5 TFL, one forced fumble and 1.5 sacks vs. Idaho ... Anchored a defense that allowed SDSU just 41 net rushing yards in the season opener ... Tallied 9 stops vs. the Aztecs, including one TFL ... The Pac-10's leading returning tackler with 113 stops ... A second-team preseason All-America pick by Football News ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... Posted seven games with 10 or more tackles in 2000, his first on the defensive side of the ball ... Briggs' earned first-team all-Pac-10 honors last season.
CB, Michael Jolivette, 5-9, 178, So., Houston, Texas
Has five of the 12 UA interceptions this season (team leader) ... Totaled three tackles and one TFL vs. Stanford ... Collected three tackles and two PBU at California ... Had two interceptions and four solo tackles vs. USC, including a 60-yard interception for a TD ... Tallied four tackles and four PBU at Washington ... Collected an interception and six tackles at Oregon State ... Tallied nine tackles (seven solo) vs. Oregon, the second-highest total of his career ... Collected four tackles and an interception vs. Washington State to go with three PBU ... Posted a stellar all-around game in the win over UNLV, totaling two tackles, one forced fumble, one fumble return 40 yards for a TD and one PBU ... Collected his sixth career interception in the win over Idaho to go with 6 tackles ... Arizona's leading tackler in the season opener vs. SDSU with 10 stops (a career high), including a sack (-6) and two PBUs ... A Street & Smith's Preseason honorable mention All-America ... A solid cover guy ... Returns after a freshman campaign that saw him tally 42 tackles and five interceptions (19th nationally) ... A second-team all-Pac-10 pick and freshman All-America as a wide-side corner.
QB, Jason Johnson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Puyallup, Wash.
Has completed 56.1 percent of his throws to 15 receivers on the year ... Currently stands in 5th place on the UA single-season touchdown pass list with 17 ... Completed 14-of-28 throws for 260 yards and a TD vs. Stanford ... Passed for 300 yards for the second game in a row at California with a career-high 315 yards and 4 touchdowns ... Set new career highs with 23 completions, 43 attempts and 311 passing yards vs. USC and added his first career rushing TD ... Completed 7-of-10 passes for 80 yards and 2 TDs at Washington before leaving the game with a concussion ... Passed for a season-low 113 yards at Oregon State on 10-of-24 passing ... Connected on a season-low seven completions in 18 attempts vs. No. 6 Oregon for 132 yards, but did throw 2 TDs, including a 44-yarder ... Completed 13 passes (25 attempts) for 184 yards vs. Washington State to go with 3 interceptions ... Connected on 60 percent of his passes (18-of-30) vs. UNLV for 247 yards and three TDs ... Completed 20-of-30 passes for 304 yards and 2 TDs vs. Idaho ... He is UA's first 300-yard passer since Oct. 18, 1997, and he logged the longest pass play in school and Pac-10 history with a 99-yard TD strike to Brandon Marshall ... Completed 21-of-32 passes for 176 yards in his first collegiate start at San Diego State, and most importantly, led his team to victory ... Showed a strong grasp of the offensive by completing passes to eight different receivers ... Outstanding student with a 3.75 GPA as a business major ... Could be a strong contender for academic All-America honors.