Cats Ready For First Road Trip
Sept. 8, 2008
Arizona Football Game Notes
Arizona @ New Mexico
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008
Albuquerque, N.M. - 6 p.m. MDT
Television: CBS College (Tucson - Comcast 274, Direct TV 613, Dish 152)
Radio: 1290 A.M., 990 A.M. (Spanish), 107.5 F.M.
New Mexico and Arizona - Fast Facts
First Meeting: 1908 - Arizona 10, New Mexico 5
Last Meeting: 2007 – New Mexico 29, Arizona 27
All-Time Series Record: UA leads (43-19-3)
New Mexico and Arizona – 2007 Flashback
New Mexico took the opening drive 80 yards in 16 plays for a seven-minute tour into the end zone, and things didn't quite seem right to the 51.996 fans in Arizona Stadium. They weren't. The Lobos ended up playing better football and emerged with a 29-27 victory for their program's first victory over a Pac-10 team (since it became a 10-member league). A near-record passing night by Arizona's Willie Tuitama was tarnished by nine UA penalties, two key turnovers and another mistake that cost points. Leading 13-10 in the third period, UA drove 55 yards to the red zone, and Tuitama fumbled at the UNM 5 yard-line on a scramble, picked up and returned 39 yards by O.J. Swift. That set up a 46-yard scoring drive that gave UNM the lead for good. In the waning moments of the period, Tuitama was penned in his own end zone and was called for intentional grounding, resulting in the recorded sack/safety and two UNM points. Trailing 26-20 but with apparent life and some spark five minutes into the final period, Arizona drove to New Mexico's 24 yard-line, and Chris Jennings lost the first running-back fumble in 467 attempts, returned 30 yards by non other than O.J. Swift. That led to a 19-yard drive into field goal range and three more points. UNM's Donovan Porterie connected three times for scoring passes and posted 327 passing yards on 29-41 throwing, to overshadow Tuitama's 446 yards on 30 completions in 50 throws -- all personal bests and the No. 2 figures in each category in UA history. He also connected for three TD tosses including two by Mike Thomas. Thomas (137), Terrell Turner (109) and Anthony Johnson (102) each caught seven balls and gave UA three 100-yard receivers in one game for the first time in history. That could not overcome the effort by UNM wideouts Marcus Smith (11-164, 1 TD) and Travis Brown (10-121, 2 TD), plus UNM had some dimension with 94 rushing yards by Rodney Ferguson (26 carries) including 32 yards late in the fourth quarter when UA needed the ball. Arizona averaged a then-season-best 6.5 yards per play and netted 484 yards but they ended up be nothing more than numbers. New Mexico also won the physical battle. The Lobos broke up 11 passes and a number of those were in the end zone.
The UA-UNM Series: One of Arizona’s oldest rivalries is renewed against New Mexico. Dating back to 1908, UA and UNM have played 65 games leading up to this weekend, with the Cats owning a 43-19-3 advantage all-time ... Arizona has won four of the last five contests between the two dating back to 1977, but UNm escaped Tucson with a victory a year ago ... Always a closely played game in the all-time series, the last 11 games played between the two have been decided by just 7.55 points per game. In the 65 games played the winning team has pulled off the victory by seven or less points 22 times, including six one-point wins, and there has been the three ties as well ... As charter members of the Border Conference (1931-60) the Wildcats went 18-6-2 against the Lobos ... In the WAC days (1962-77) the two schools posted an even 8-8 record against each other in 16 games ... Since UA moved to the Pac-10 in 1978 the Cats are 3-1 in non-league games vs. the Lobos ... In 1910 Arizona won a 1-0 game on a UNM forfeit.
Some Game Themes... Old friends and foes from WAC, Border Conference and earlier days meet for a second consecutive year in a 66th matchup, second only to UA-ASU (81 games) among all-time Wildcat opponents... Arizona puts its best start in Mike Stoops' tenure on the line and therefore shoots for his first undefeated record in non-conference play... As noted after week one, the successive week's challenge increases twofold or more, as UA takes on a program from the Mountain West Conference with five bowls in the last six years. UNM's total defense ranking of 30th nationally underscores the hill-climbing factor in UA's early season... The Lobos' No. 23 pass defense plays host to UA's No. 27 pass offense... Arizona takes gaudy defensive figures from its two WAC/MAC games to Albuquerque -- No. 7 in total defense, No. 10 in pass efficiency defense, No. 14 in scoring defense and pass (yards) defense and No. 19 in rushing defense... Will Arizona unveil more of its spread attack or see if back Nic Grigsby (152 ypg, 8th nationally) and the seeming strength of its running game are for real?... The 2-0 Wildcats test their momentum against a team smarting from an 0-2 start... A final non-conference game for UA, while UNM opened against MWC foe TCU and will play a non-league tilt a Tulsa a week hence...
Last Week: Arizona kept its early-season momentum rolling with a 41-16 victory over visiting Toledo, giving it back-to-back 40-point games for the first time in 26 years. The Cats did it with rushing (Nic Grigsby's second 100-yard game), passing (Willie Tuitama's 76-percent, 299-yard effort), defense (244 net yards by the Rockets) and special teams (171 return yards, some field goals). The defensive effort was colored by a gift touchdown -- UA turned it over inside its own 12 yard-line leading to Toledo's lone touchdown. A pair of goal-line stands after UT had 1st-and-goal from the 5 and 1 yard-lines helped force two of the Rockets' three field goals. Arizona was a bit more methodical than in its opener, with relative (three minutes or more) clock-eating drives for six of its scores. Two-thirds of the way through the second quarter and it was 24-6 with the outcome more or less not in question. Sophomore Grigsby rushed 20 times for 135 net yards and three touchdowns and cemented his role as the marquee back. Senior receiver Mike Thomas snagged nine balls for 138 yards and a score, while mates Delashaun Dean (5-37, TD), Terrell Turner (5-37) and fourth starter Juron Criner (4-45) helped Tuitama push UA down the field. A pair of new faces -- freshman Keola Antolin (3-98) and juco transfer Nick Booth (2-52) showed that Arizona will possibly end its decade-long drought of no kickoff returns for scores. Antolin was tripped up by the last-chance guy, the kicker, on a 41-yarder to open the second half. Arizona compiled 452 yards in total offense, while the UA defense held Toledo to 244. The Wildcats had 28 first downs and held UT to 12. Arizona was against perfect in the red zone -- six-for-six -- although it had to settle for the two Jason Bondzio field goals for the first time in 15 red zone chances this year. Defensively, linebacker Sterling Lewis, a mid-year junior college transfer, led all hitters with 12 tackles in his first extended playing time. Meantime, up front, UA had one of its best interior efforts in years with converted TE/H-back Earl Mitchell, a junior, notching eight tackles and the Cats' first sack of 2008. Rocket receiver Stephen Williams had a nice day with 12 catches, but was held to 67 yards and only the short 3-yard TD pass. Arizona had to punt only once.
‘O’ What a Start: At least that’s what the Wildcats are hoping to say before the start of Pac-10 play on Sept. 20 at UCLA. So far, the Cats have been able to dispatch two of three ‘O’ opponents – Idaho and Toledo. Now the ‘Cats take that challenge on the road to face New Mexico to wrap up non-conference action.
They’re Taking Notice: Antoine Cason won the Jim Thorpe Award last year, now a host of other Wildcats are on the early watch lists for major college football awards. Eight different Wildcats are on pre-season watch lists for awards:
QB Willie Tuitama – Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)/Davey O’Brien Award (Top QB)
WR Mike Thomas – Maxwell Award (College Player of the Year)
OT Eben Britton – Outland Trophy (Top Interior Lineman), Rotary Lombardi Award (Top Lineman)
P Keenyn Crier – Ray Guy Award (Top Punter)
Jason Bondzio – Lou Groza Award candidate (Top Kicker)
C Blake Kerley – Rimington Trophy (Top Center)
TE Rob Gronkowski – John Mackey Award (Most Outstanding Tight End)
LB Ronnie Palmer – Butkus Award (Top Linebacker)
Mike T and 200: His next catch gives UA senior receiver Mike Thomas 200 career receptions. The 199 is No. 2 among all active FBS receivers, 21 behind senior Jarrett Dillard of Rice and his 220 grabs. Thomas this year moved inside after playing his true freshman, sophomore and junior seasons as a wide-out. Last week's nine-catch, 138-yard (1 TD) game against Toledo helped Money Mike pace Arizona's receiving corps for yet another time.
Special K: Freshman running back Keola Antolin had his kickoff return debut against Toledo after a few modest punt returns in the opener. He posted three take-backs for 98 yards including a 41-yarder against the Rockets, putting him No. 13 nationally at 32.7 per KOR. That total has helped Arizona post a whopping total of 430 yards in returns in the first two games -- 169 on punts, 150 on kickoff returns and 111 on interception returns. Mike Thomas (10.6) leads the way in punt returns. The sudden nature of 430 yards factoring into field position in relative blinks of the eye is apparently part of UA's 2008 makeup.
Red-Zona: Arizona is tied with a bunch of teams for the nation's lead with 100-percent success in the red zone. But, UA leads with 15 tries, so it's atop the list. (No. 2? Oklahoma, with 13.). The Cats have a nation-best 97 red-zone points on seven rushing touchdowns, six passing TDs and two field goals. UA was 9-for-9 with all touchdowns in the opener and 6-for-6 (2 FGs) against Toledo.
Second-Down Conversions: Never heard of it... Get this: Arizona had 28 first downs against Toledo and was only 4-for-8 on third-down conversions. Why? The Cats made 15 first downs on second-down plays, and they weren't all gimmes. They also had six first-down plays go for more than 10 yards to move the chains.
Short Fuses: Mike Thomas (5-foot-8), Nic Grigsby (5-foot-10) and Keola Antolin (5-foot-8) combined for 414 different kinds of explosive yards against Toledo. Thomas had his 159 all-purpose total built with 138 receiving yards and three punt returns for 21 markers. Grigsby had 135 net rushing yards including a 27-yard change-of-direction TD run. Antolin had 98 yards on three kick returns and 22 rushing yards.
Time is of the Essence: Or maybe not. Against Toledo the Wildcats had six scoring drives of three minutes or more, but also notched a touchdown in three plays and 1:12. That was UA's eighth TD in a drive taking less than two minutes. An informal survery (thanks to Navy's SID) shows UA leads the nation in quick-strikes:
Most TD Drives under Two Minutes
Arizona - 8
Iowa State - 6
Tulsa - 6
Georgia Tech - 5
Colorado - 5
Seven teams - 4
Efficiency under Center: Arizona's school record for pass efficiency rating is held by Keith Smith, who on UA's last bowl team in 1998 finished with a 174.2 rating. Willie Tuitama checked in a sixth on that single-season list in 2005 (136.9), at 10th last year (134.5) and with a 114.3 mark in his concussion-marred 2006 year. This season he's at 181.60 after two games – good enough for No. 12 in the nation to date – largely because of a 78 percent completion rate, five TDs and no interceptions after two modest (to him) games totaling 471 passing yards. Watching this factor play out in the ensuing months will be intriguing.
Rush to Judgment: Okay, there's a boatload of games left and many trends to be determined. But Nic Grigsby's 304 rushing yards after two games would have been No. 2 on the team a year ago. The Cats rushed for 927 net yards in 2007 and have 418 entering the UNM game. Evidently coaches spent more than lip service on re-invigorating the running game. Obviously opponents factor in the early success. The Cats have rushed 82 times in the two games, one-fourth of last year's full-season total (320). The day sophomore tight end Rob Gronkowski returns to action (missed both games so far with illness) might a good moment to check what Arizona's 2008 emphasis could be. He's a guy whose talent begs a big piece of the action. That UA could be so effective in the running game without him says a lot about the offensive line, backup tight end A.J. Simmons, and the staff's use of skill people who can block at the point of attack and down field.
Ground Attack: Arizona has had 35 or more points six times in the Mike Stoops era including two weeks ago against Idaho, so it's not surprising the 35 points off five rushing touchdowns against Idaho is a tenure high. The multiple spread used all -- well, not exactly -- its nuances against the Vandals, but kept at the rushing game, sending ball carriers into the fray 49 times compared to a total of 31 passes. A week later against Toledo, UA rushed 33 times compared to 34 passes, and racked up 153 yards on the ground. Through two games, UA is averaging 209 yards per game on the ground – a number that may not have been expected by many given UA’s passing attack.
Senior Status: Willie Tuitama enters his final campaign at Arizona in elite company on a national level. The Stockton, Calif., native is one of seven quarterbacks across the country that has become a four-year starting quarterback after taking over the starting role in the final four games of his freshman season when he helped UA to wins over Oregon State and a Top-10 UCLA team. Here are the other six four-year starters:
Rudy Carpenter, Arizona State
Curtis Painter, Purdue
Mike Teel, Rutgers
Drew Weatherford, Florida State
Pat White, West Virginia
Drew Willy, Buffalo
Decoys are for Hunting: Senior receiver Mike Thomas has played in 37 games and caught a pass in 36 of them. His one miss – the final game of his freshman year on Nov. 25, 2005, at Arizona State. In that game he wore a soft but cumbersome cast on a hand, courtesy of an injury a couple weeks earlier. No passes went in his direction, but he drew coverage as expected anyway. Otherwise, Thomas could challenge for the Arizona record for consecutive games catching a pass. That’s held by Dennis Northcutt, who posted 42 successive games with a grab after he was switched from true-freshman cornerback to receiver in late October of 1996, through his senior year in 1999… Northcutt (223) and Thomas (199) join leader Bobby Wade (230) in the all-time threesome for career pass receiving at UA. Northcutt was on the Arizona squad that posted the top two Wildcat per-game offense averages of 471.9 yards (’99) and 444.9 (’98), Wade was part of John Mackovic’s passing makeover of the UA attack, and Thomas is now part of Mike Stoops’ and Sonny Dykes’ system that topped the historical chart with 308 yards passing per game last year. Thomas should emerge as Arizona’s all-time pass receiver with anywhere near his 83 grabs from a year ago (14 to date in ’08), and if he can match his 1,000-yard junior season he’ll push for the career figure in yardage as well. (See ‘Charting Some Cats’ elsewhere in this release for the numbers.) Clearly, there’s little doubt you can say ‘Mike Thomas’ in the same Arizona historical context as Northcutt, Wade or Jon Horton and the late Theopolis T. Bell -- among others: playmakers all.
All Guts, No Glory: One thing Arizona brings on its 10-returning-starters offense is a line with some game experience, but it’s a unit that is often overlooked in favor of the gaudy statistics produced by the spread offense when all cylinders are clicking. The guys up front are often the keys to making the system work and guard Joe Longacre (29), tackle Eben Britton (26), center Blake Kerley (26) and guard Colin Baxter (13) are a nice starting point. The left tackle spot, where departed Peter Graniello handled duties for 43 career starts, has been assumed by Adam Grant (2 starts), who was plagued by injuries early in his career. The unit helped pave the way for 265 yards against Idaho and 153 against Toledo to average 209 yards rushing per game in 2008 – a mark that ranks No. 25 in the nation. And don’t forget, the line has only allowed one sack thus far, which has allowed Willie Tuitama the time to find receivers while racking up his 78 percent completion percentage.
Carry Over: For a second straight year, UA put together a three-game win streak against Pac-10 teams late in the year to restore bowl game hopes, only to drop finales’ to rival Arizona State and keep the Cats home for the holidays. In 2006, UA put together its first three-game win streak since 2001 while knocking off No. 25 Washing State, No. 8 California and Oregon. In 2007, the Wildcats rallied from a 15-point fourth quarter deficit at Washington before returning to Tucson to knock off UCLA on Homecoming and then upset No. 2 Oregon in front of a National TV audience for the first Thursday night game at Arizona Stadium since 1995. Unable to carry over the momentum created by a three-game streak last year, UA hopes it will be more successful in doing so this year and through the first two weeks that appears to be the case. UA has won its first two games of the year for the first time since 2002 and has won five of its last six games overall.
TEP Bill: It’s a good thing that Tucson Electric Power is a proud sponsor of Arizona Athletics because the Arizona offense hopes to keep electricians busy by lighting up the home side of the scoreboard with points. Entering 2008, the Arizona spread attack returned 10 starters from a year ago and entered the second year of an offensive system that averaged 28.0 points per game, the highest mark for a UA team in six years (29.1 ppg, 2001). Even more impressive was the offensive output in the Wildcats’ five wins in 2007, when the unit tallied totals of 45, 48, 48, 34 and 34 points for an average of 41.8 points per game. However, none of those totals match the 70 points put up against Idaho in Week 1 – the third highest total in program history and the most since 1921. Combined with 41 points against Toledo, UA is averaging 55 points per game in 2008.
Offense Wins Games: While Head Coach Mike Stoops is known for his defensive prowess as a coach, he has realized the need for a high-scoring offense in the Pac-10. Arizona only needs to look back on its 2007 season to understand the importance of scoring points as the Wildcats were a perfect 5-0 when scoring more than 27 points in a game. Arizona failed to post more than 20 points in six of its seven losses, and mustered only 27 points at Cal in a 45-27 loss in September. This year, UA is averaging 55 points per game while allowing 8.0 points per game.
Close Calls: Arizona played six games in 2007 that were ultimately decided by seven points or less, including wins at Washington (48-41) and on Homecoming against UCLA (34-27). Unfortunately, UA was on the losing end of such close ball games twice as many times. The Wildcats dropped heartbreakers to New Mexico (29-27), USC (20-13), Stanford (21-20) and Arizona State (20-17). That is four games lost by a combined 13 points (3.25 points per game).
Arizona’s Aerial Assault: Senior quarterback Willie Tuitama helped UA finish No. 10 nationally in passing by tossing for 3,683 yards and 28 touchdowns in 2007, among his school records. There is no reason he can’t continue the assault in 2008 and after two outings doesn’t look to have missed a beat. In only one half of action against Idaho, the senior slinger compiled 179 yards passing and three touchdowns while completing 17-of-21attempts (81 percent) and then followed that performance up with 292 yards passing on 25-33 passing. He has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions on the season.
Willie in the Pac – Willie Tuitama has not only written his name in the UA record books, his arm and UA’s spread offense has helped him etch his name into the Pac-10 records and with a similar season in 2008 to the one he had a year ago, he will find himself among the Conference’s best. Tuitama is only 2,732 yards away from jumping 25 spots (currently No. 35 with 6,594 yards) in the all-time passing yards, which would put him in the top-10 of one of the Conference’s most prestigious record books. Currently No. 30 all-time in touchdown passes with 49, he needs 18 more to tie UCLA’s Drew Olson, who currently stands at No. 10. His 2007 total of 3,520 all-purpose yards ranks him No. 11 all-time in single season total yardage, which includes sacks. If he did not lose yards on sacks and only used his total passing yards as the total offense stat (3,683), Tuitama would move himself into the top-10. As is, his single season passing yards total does rank No. 10 all-time, and his 28 touchdown passes in 2007 place him in a tie for No. 14 in a single season. Add in one more scoring toss and he would again find himself in the top-10 of a category.
Money Mike in the Pac – Like the other half of the TNT connection (Tuitama and Thomas), “Money” Mike Thomas is moving up the Pac-10 charts. With 83 receptions in 2007, he ranks No. 15 in single season receptions and his 11 touchdown grabs also place him No. 15 in a single season. Thomas is within striking distance of some career marks, including career receptions. The senior playmaker, who has 199 receptions in three-plus years (currently No. 14 all-time), is only 60 catches away from becoming the Pac-10’s all-time receptions leader (Derek Hagen, ASU, 258). And while he currently stands at No. 29 in career receiving yards (2,572), a modest – by his standards – 566 more yards this season will move him into the top-10. Lastly, with five more touchdowns, he will find himself among the top-10 all-time leaders in receiving touchdowns (currently t-No. 27 with 20 TDs).
40 x 40: With 70 points against Idaho and 41 against total, UA has scored 40+ points in consecutive games for the first time since 1982. Here is a look at the other games:
Bondzio, Jason Bondzio: The man with the gold finger, er, toe, for Arizona is senior kicker Bondzio. In 2008, he has connected on two of three field goals and kicked home all 12 extra point attempts. Last year he knocked home 21 field goals in 26 tries. That .808 percentage is the second best in school history and his total made him only the fourth place kicker in Arizona history to make 20 or more. Max Zendejas (1982-85) had numerous last-second winning kicks (like at Notre Dame in 1982) and built a legend with 20 or more his sophomore through senior years, while his successor, Gary Coston was 21-for-24 in 1986 and Lou Groza Award winner Steve McLaughlin was 23-for-29 in 1994. Coston’s .875 mark in ’86 is the school record. Bondzio scored 100 points on the nose in 2007 (with 37-for-38 PAT support) to make him the first kicker in school history to reach the century mark and the No. 3 spot overall for season scoring. Zendejas, whose nephew Alex is Bondzio’s understudy redshirt freshman, had 99 points in 1983 when he kicked 20 field goals and 39 extra points. Here’s a look at the historical Made Field Goals chart for UA:
Steve McLaughlin, 1994 23-29 FG, .793, 26-26 PAT
Gary Coston, 1986 21-24 FG, .875, 34-34 PAT
Max Zendejas, 1985 22-29 FG, .759, 23-23 PAT
Jason Bondzio, 2007 21-26 FG, .808, 37-38 PAT
Max Zendejas, 1984 21-27 FG, .778, 23-24 PAT
The Graduates: Two Arizona players already have received degrees, placekicker Jason Bondzio in finance and offensive lineman James Tretheway in mathematics. J.B.'s working on a master's degree, while Tretheway is taking an additional bachelor's degree program in economics. Three other letterwinning Wildcats are anticipated to graduate in December -- H-back Brandon Lopez, offensive guard Joe Longacre and offensive lineman Bill Wacholz.
Gronk-WOW-ski: Sophomore tight end Rob Gronkowski, who missed the first two games with illness, wasted no time moving up the top performance charts in Arizona history at the tight end position. In his first season, he set the UA single-game receiving yardage record for a tight end with his 4-115 effort against WSU, becoming only the second UA tight end to rack up 100 yards in a single game (Mark Keel had the only other tight end 100-yard game with an even 3-100 effort vs. Stanford in 1982). Gronk totaled 525 yards on 28 snares last year to average a whopping 18.8 yards per reception. He looks to exceed the total catch and yardage numbers in 2008 with a year’s worth of experience in the offense and improved route-running abilities.
More Robbie: Although he has only played just 12 career games, Gronkowski is already statistically placing himself among the top TEs in school history. A look at what Gronk has done through 12 games against the career totals of some of the best TEs UA has had to offer over the years:
Player Years Rec Yards TDs
Ron Beyer 75-78 53 811 7
Mark Keel 81-82 59 856 6
Gary Parrish 84-85 28 366 1
Richard Griffith 89-92 35 358 2
Mike Metzler 94-96 34 497 6
Mike Lucky 95-98 43 563 4
Brandon Manumaleuna 97-00 40 544 3
Steve Fleming 01-04 50 584 4
Brad Wood 03-06 41 413 7
Rob Gronkowski 07- 28 525 6
* Season-opening games
# UA defeated Phoenix Indians 55-0 in between these two games. Such games against non-major college football programs during this era are not counted for statistical purposes.
Century Mark: With 111 points combined in its first two games, UA has eclipsed 100 combined points in consecutive games for the first time since 1954 and only the sixth time in school history. Here is a look at those games:
Year Total Opponents
1952 119 Points vs. Hawaii (W, 57-7)/New Mexico State (W, 62-12)
1916* 114 Points vs. UTEP (W, 41-0)/New Mexico State (W, 73-0)
1954 112 Points vs. New Mexico State (W, 58-0)/Utah (W, 54-20)
2008 111 Points vs. Idaho (W, 70-0) / vs. Toledo (W, 41-16)
1921 105 points vs. UTEP (W, 74-0)/New Mexico State (W, 31-0)
1920 101 points at UTEP (W, 60-7)/vs. New Mexico St. (W, 41-0)
- UA defeated Phoenix Indians 55-0 in between these two games. Such games against non-major college football programs during this era are not counted for statistical purposes.
Sub-200: Arizona's defensive effort against Idaho was the seventh time in the last 11 seasons that the Cats have held a club under 200 yards. Most recently in 2006 UA had a superlative effort at Stanford and held the Cardinal to 32 plays and a total of 52 yards, the Cats' Pac-10 -game record. That season UA held Stephen F. Austin to 50 plays and 196 yards. In 2005 Arizona held Stanford to 58-195. In 2000 the Cats held San Diego State to 66-196. In 1998, the 12-1 team held Oregon State to 54-167 and Hawaii to 60-176.
Records Check: As one might expect in a 70-0 romp, Arizona broke several school records for offensive scoring output against Idaho. The first record to fall was the 28 year old record for most points scored in a single half (42 points against Pacific in 1980 and against UTEP in 1976) as the Wildcats tallied 49 first-half points.In doing so, UA posted 35 second quarter points, breaking the previous high mark set in 1954 when the Cats scored 29 in the third quarter against New Mexico State.
Cloud 9 – UA scored 10 – yes, 10 – touchdowns against Idaho on Aug. 30. What can be more impressive than scoring 10 touchdowns in a single game? How about nine (9) different players scoring those touchdowns. Nic Grigsby (2), Mike Thomas, Marquis Hundley, Chris Gronkowski, Keola Antolin, Terrell Turner, Matt Scott, Nick Booth and Xavier Smith all found the endzone in what is believed to be the most individual touchdowns in a single game in UA history.
Opening Day Rosters: Arizona had 16 former players suit up for NFL opening-week games as active roster members. They included linebacker Lance Briggs-Bears, Tedy Bruschi-Patriots, defensive lineman Copeland Bryan-Ravens, defensive lineman Lionel Dotson-Dolphins, cornerback Antoine Cason-Chargers, kicker Nick Folk-Dowboys, running back Chris Henry-Titans, safety Michael Johnson-Giants, linebacker Spencer Larsen-Broncos, tight end Brandon Manumaleuna-Chargers, offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo-Ravens, cornerback Chris McAlister-Ravens, receiver Dennis Northcutt-Jaguars, receiver Syndric Steptoe-Browns and receiver Bobby Wade-Vikings.
MOV: Not that any team can or should expect 70-0 performances to be the norm, but UA’s 70-point margin of victory last Saturday was a long time coming. It was the largest MOV since 1921 and the third largest in school history. Here’s a look at the Top 5 MOV’s in UA history:
Point Margin Opponent Year Score
1. 74 UTEP 1921 74-0
2. 73 New Mexico St. 1916 73-0
3. 70 Idaho 2008 70-0
4. 60 South Dakota St. 1956 60-0
5. 59 Arizona St. 1919 59-0
Fresh Faces: Head coach Mike Stoops wasn't blowing smoke when he noted in his pre-opener news conference that a number of new guys had chances to play. In UA’s opener against Idaho, a total of 31 players saw their first official game action as Wildcats.