Wildcats Host North Dakota State in Week Three
TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (1-1) remain at home for a second straight home game, this time playing host to the North Dakota State Bison on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8:00 p.m. MST.
The Wildcats and Bison will square off on FS1 with the broadcast team of Alex Faust (play-by-play) and Petros Papadakis (analyst) on the call.
Arizona sports an all-time record of 15-1 against opponents from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), of which North Dakota State is a member.
A complete preview of the Wildcats week three matchup can be found below.
ARIZONA NOTES & NUMBERS
- The Arizona Wildcats remain at home for a second consecutive week and play host to the North Dakota State Bison this Saturday at 8 PM at Arizona Stadium.
- Saturday's game will be nationally televised on FS1 with Alex Faust (PxP) and Petros Papadakis (Analyst) on the call.
- This marks the first all-time meeting between Arizona and North Dakota State. The Bison have won nine of the last 11 National Championships at the FCS level.
- The Wildcats have gone 15-1 all-time against opponents from the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). Arizona's lone loss to an FCS team came last year against Northern Arizona.
- Wide receiver Jacob Cowing has tallied four touchdown catches through two games, tied for the Pac-12 lead. He has already matched the Wildcats 2021 leader in touchdown receptions, running back Michael Wiley.
- Linebacker Jerry Roberts has notched back-to-back double-digit tackle performances to open the season. His 22 total tackles lead the team and his average of 11.0 tackles per game is second in the Pac-12 Conference.
- Arizona's 38 points in their season-opening win over SDSU was the team's highest single-game scoring output since 2019. The Wildcats scored 20+ points only twice during the 2021 season and surpassed the mark in the first half at SDSU.
- Punter Kyle Ostendorp earned Preseason First Team All-Pac-12 honors, while wide receiver Jacob Cowing and defensive lineman Kyon Barrs earned a spot on the Second Team. Defensive back Christian Roland-Wallace earned Honorable Mention recognition.
34 — Wide receiver Jacob Cowing has recorded 34 consecutive games with at least one reception, tied for the second-longest active streak among FBS players.
3 — The Wildcats defense forced three turnovers against Mississippi State (2 FR, 1 INT) marking a season high and equaling half their season total from 2021.
100% — Kicker Tyler Loop maintains a perfect 100% conversion rate for his collegiate kicking career, having gone 14-for-14 on field goals and 19-for-19 on extra points.
3 — Cowing hauled in three touchdowns at SDSU, marking the first three-score game by a player making their Power Five debut since Michael Crabtree in 2007.
6-0 — Quarterback Jayden de Laura is 6-0 in his college career when throwing for 3+ touchdowns.
VERSUS NDSU AND THE FCS: This is the first all-time meeting between Arizona and North Dakota State. Arizona is 15-1 since 1980 against FCS opponents. The only loss was a 21-19 decision against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium in 2021. The Wildcats scored the most points in recent history (77) against an FCS opponent (NAU) on Sept. 19, 2015. The NDSU Bisons have won nine FCS National Championships in the last 11 seasons, more than any FCS program.
ABOUT LAST WEEK: The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of Mississippi State, 39-17. Arizona grabbed a 7-0 lead early after a six-play 75-yard drive was capped with a 34-yard rushing touchdown by running back Michael Wiley. It marked the longest rushing touchdown of Wiley's career and gave the Wildcats an early lead. Mississippi State responded with the next 15 points and didn't trail again. The Bulldogs were helped by an ill-advised heave from de Laura, which turned into an interception and a touchdown on the ensuing drive. Mississippi State took an 18-10 lead into halftime. Both teams finished with three turnovers. MSU quarterback Will Rogers finished 39-of-49 passing, completing 15 passes in a row at one point in the second half. Mississippi State finished with 426 total yards, including 106 on the ground. Mississippi State (2-0) pushed ahead 25-10 early in the third quarter on a 5-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Williams, capping an eight-play, 75-yard drive. It was one of many times that the Bulldogs clearly had the momentum. But the Wildcats weren't done, taking advantage of a Mississippi State fumble to pull within 25-17 on the ensuing drive after a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jayden de Laura to Jacob Cowing. Arizona was driving again later in the third quarter, but de Laura had a pass tipped at the line of scrimmage by Mississippi State's Tyrus Wheat. Teammate Nathaniel Watson plucked the ball out of the air and ran all the way to the Arizona 11. Four plays later, Rogers hit Williams for the pair's second touchdown of the night and a 32-17 lead. De Laura — a transfer from Washington State — completed 23 of 45 passes for 220 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
TURNOVER SWORD: Arizona's defense forced two fumbles and grabbed one interception against Mississippi State. The Wildcats are tied for 13th nationally with five total turnovers. Jaxen Turner forced the second fumble of his career and returned it for a career-long 47 yards. Treydan Stukes grabbed the first interception of his career and brought it back for an 11-yard gain. Hunter Echols also collected a fumble after Gunner Maldonado forced it loose. The defense recorded 6.0 tackles for a loss of 20 yards and 2.0 sacks for a loss of 15 yards while breaking up four passes. The Wildcats are one shy of their six-turnover performance during the 2021 campaign.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: Linebacker Jerry Roberts reached double-digit tackles (10) against the Bulldogs to achieve the feat in a second consecutive game. Roberts previously had one double digit tackle game in his career at Arizona (Utah 2021). Hunter Echols (9) and Kolbe Cage (5) both set career marks in tackles. Kyon Barrs and Paris Shand both tied their career-high with five tackles apiece. »Shand tallied 1.5 sacks on Saturday that marked his second career multi-sack game.
JUST GETTING STARTED: Sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura had a breakout first game with Arizona, throwing for 299 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 38-20 win on the road. He improved to 6-0 in his collegiate career when throwing three-plus touchdowns. De Laura's four touchdown passes were the most by an Arizona QB in their Wildcat debut since Anu Solomon threw four against UNLV in 2014. He completed 29-of-35 passes and connected with Jacob Cowing three times for touchdowns, as well as Tetairoa McMillan once for a TD. De Laura led Washington State to a 7-6 record and a berth in the Sun Bowl after throwing for 2,798 yards and 23 touchdowns on 227-for-359 passing. He was named 2021 All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention. De Laura threw multiple touchdown passes in eight games and led WSU to their first Apple Cup victory since 2012. He earned Rose Bowl Game Pac-12 Player of the Week honors after win over Oregon State in which he threw for a career-high 399 yards and three scores. As a first-year freshman in 2020 went 78-of-129 passing for 886 yards and five touchdowns in four games. De Laura prepped at powerhouse program St. Louis High School in Honolulu and helped lead program to two state championships. He went 11-0 and won state as a junior to earn second team All-Hawaii recognition. Followed that up with an undefeated season as a senior, steering team to 12-0 finish and another state championship. De Laura was honored as a High School All-American according to MaxPreps. He was named 2019 Hawai'i Gatorade Player of the Year. De Laura, as a senior in 2019, threw for 3,452 yards and 29 touchdowns on 228-of-319 passing. Up for a challenge? De Laura's full name is: Jayden pukonakona ha'awi mai na makua ha 'ele mai ka hiapo e wili 'ia me ke aloha de Laura.
MR. CONSISTENCY: Transfer wide receiver Jacob Cowing has made an immediate impact for the Wildcats this season, leading the team in receptions in each of the first two weeks while hauling in four touchdown catches. With last weekend's performance and dating back through his time at UTEP, Cowing has now recorded at least one reception in 34 consecutive games, tied for the second-longest active streak among all FBS players. During that 34-game stretch, which includes every college game he has logged time in, Cowing has posted multiple catches 29 times and 5+ receptions 19 times.
AERIAL THREAT: Junior wide receiver Jacob Cowing extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 34, which is the second-longest such streak in the nation. He finished the night with a team-high seven receptions for 38 yards and one touchdown. Through just two games, Cowing has pulled in four touchdown catches which ranks third nationally. He has already matched last year's top scoring threat through the air, running back Michael Wiley, who tallied four receiving TDs in 11 games played. Cowing caught a touchdown with 7:37 remaining in the third quarter to become the first Wildcat to catch a touchdown pass in back-to-back games since Michael Wiley caught a touchdown in each of the final three games of the 2021 season. He leads the team with 190 receiving yards in two games. Cowing had a breakout game during his debut with Arizona. He made eight catches for 152 yards and three touchdowns to help the Wildcats to a season-opening 38-20 win at San Diego State. The junior from Maricopa, Cowing was named to the Maxwell Award Watch List, Biletnikoff Award Watch List, East-West Shrine Bowl 1000, preseason Second-Team All-Pac-12, and the Reese's Senior Bowl Watch List. Cowing played three seasons at UTEP prior to transferring to Arizona. He led the Miners in receiving yards all three years, including a 2021 campaign in which he finished with 69 receptions for 1,354 yards and seven touchdowns. Cowing earned First Team All-Conference USA honors in 2021 and Second Team recognition in 2020. He finished the 2021 season ranked ninth nationally among all FBS players in receiving yards (1,354). For his career at UTEP, he hauled in 141 receptions, 2,595 yards and 13 touchdowns.
PICTURE PERFECT: Kicker Tyler Loop connected on his lone field goal attempt and both (2) extra-point tries against Mississippi State to remain perfect on his career. Loop is 14-for-14 on field goals and 19-for-19 on extra points. Loop is one of four Pac-12 kickers to begin their collegiate career perfect in kicking at least 14 field goals including Arizona State's Thomas Weber, 17 straight from Sept. 1 to Nov. 3, 2007, Utah's Matt Gray, who made 14 straight from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22, 2017, and Nathan Villegas (Oregon), who made 14 straight to begin his collegiate career from Sept. 5 to Nov. 7, 1998.
WILDCATS IN THE NFL: The Wildcats are once again well represented in the National Football League this year with nine former letterwinners active across the league. One of Arizona's most prestigious alumnus, tight end Rob Gronkowski, retired following the 2021 season after winning the fourth Super Bowl of his career. Gronk was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, a four-time First Team All-Pro selection, and was selected to the NFL's 2010s All-Decade Team and NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team. Over 11 seasons with New England and Tampa Bay, Gronkowski recorded 9,286 yards (5th all time) and 92 touchdowns (3rd all time). Quarterback Nick Foles is in his 11th NFL season after rewriting the Wildcats record books during his time in Tucson. For a complete list of former Wildcats in the NFL, see the comprehensive chart below.
Current Wildcats on NFL Rosters
|Jace Whittaker||CB||Arizona Cardinals|
|Dane Cruikshank||S||Chicago Bears|
|Roy Lopez||NT||Houston Texans|
|Nick Foles||QB||Indianapolis Colts|
|Nick Folk||K||New England Patriots|
|J.J. Taylor||RB||New England Patriots|
|Gary Brightwell||RB||New York Giants|
|Will Parks||S||New York Jets|
|Demetruis Flannigan-Fowles||LB||San Francisco 49ers|