Football Team Takes A Week Off, Faces ASU Nov. 23

Nov. 13, 2001

The Game -- 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 20 scoring unit...

The Series -- 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...

The Coaches -- 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.

Last Week -- 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.

Note: Check back for the complete weekly release Sunday, Nov. 19...

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