Wildcats Top Huskies
Nov. 6, 2004
By JIM COUR
AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) - Cornerback Wilrey Fontenot returned a fumble 33 yards for thego-ahead touchdown and Arizona gave first-year coach Mike Stoops his firstPac-10 victory, beating Washington 23-13 on Saturday.
The Wildcats (2-7, 1-5 Pac-10) ended a seven-game losing streak this seasonand shoved the Huskies (1-8, 0-6) into sole possession of last place in theconference with their fourth straight Pac-10 defeat.
Washington self destructed with four second-half turnovers after departingcoach Keith Gilbertson took out starting quarterback Casey Paus and replacedhim with sophomore Isaiah Stanback after one series in the second half.Gilbertson brought Paus back with his team trailing 23-13 in the fourth quarterand he threw an interception, too, giving the Huskies 44 turnovers this season.The Huskies didn't commit a turnover in the opening half, when they led 13-9.
Washington leads the nation in turnovers and the Pac-10 with 19interceptions.
Stanback had a pass intercepted and lost a fumble, but the Huskies' mostcritical turnover was a fumble by Shelton Sampson that Fontenot returned for atouchdown with 4:10 left in the third quarter to put Arizona ahead 16-13. Itwas Arizona's first defensive touchdown of the season.
Stoops left the Oklahoma program, where his brother Bob is the head coach,to take the Arizona job that opened up when John Mackovic was fired five gamesinto the 2003 season.
Stoops watched the Wildcats go ahead 23-13 with 39 seconds to go in thefinal period on a 13-yard run by Mike Bell after Stanback's pass wasintercepted by linebacker Kirk Johnson at the Washington 40.
The Huskies announced Monday that Gilbertson will resign as the coach at theend of the season and his team played an inspired first half. Gilbertson has a7-14 record in his two years as Washington's coach.
Washington came back to lead at halftime after falling behind 9-0 in thefirst 3:18. Richard Kovalcheck set up an Arizona touchdown on a 1-yard run byBell by completing a flea-flicker pass for 50 yards to Syndric Steptoe to theHuskies 1. The 50-yard pass was Arizona's longest of the season.
Then defensive end Copeland Bryan blocked a punt by Sean Douglas out of theend zone for a Wildcats' safety.
A 57-yard pass from Paus to Sampson, the longest play by Washington thisseason, set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Sampson midway through the firstquarter. Sampson took a dumpoff pass from Paus and scrambled up the leftsideline. Sampson's TD was Washington's first touchdown in three weeks.
Evan Knudson kicked a 42-yard field goal in the final minute of the openingperiod and added a 34-yard field goal with 2:51 gone in the second quarter forWashington.
Arizona lost two touchdowns, one on a kickoff return and the other on a puntreturn, in the first half because of penalties. Steptoe lost two fumbles, oneon a punt return.