Wildcats Host No. 10 Trojans for Homecoming
TUCSON, Ariz. — The Arizona Wildcats (3-4, 1-3) return to Arizona Stadium to host their Homecoming game against the No. 10 USC Trojans (6-1, 3-1) this Saturday evening.
Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. MST paired with a television broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks featuring Ted Robinson (PxP) and Yogi Roth (Analyst) on the call.
The Wildcats are well rested coming out of their bye week and will look to get back in the win column against USC.
Included in Saturday's Homecoming ceremonies will be an appearance from Rob Gronkowski and the induction into the Arizona Football Ring of Honor for a trio of legendary Wildcats.
A complete preview of the Wildcats Homecoming matchup can be found below.
ARIZONA NOTES & NUMBERS
- The Arizona Wildcats host the No. 10 USC Trojans on Homecoming at Arizona Stadium this Saturday.
- Saturday's contest will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks with Ted Robinson (PxP) and Yogi Roth (Analyst) on the call.
- Legendary Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski will serve as the Wildcats honory team captain for Saturday's game.
- Vance Johnson, Ortege Jenkins, and John "Button" Salmon will all be inducted into the Arizona Football Ring of Honor on Saturday.
- The Wildcats are 60-38-5 all-time in Homecoming games and have won three of their last four. Arizona's only win during the 2021 season (10-7 vs. California) came on Homecoming.
- Arizona is seeking their first victory over USC since 2012, a 39-36 win in Tucson.
- Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan earned his second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week nod for his seven catch, 132 yard, two touchdown performance against Washington in week seven. All three marks are career highs for the standout freshman.
- In the Wildcats victory over Colorado in week five, Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura tied the program single-game record with six passing touchdowns. His 484 passing yards were the fifth most in a single contest in school history.
- Wide receiver Dorian Singer was added to the watch list for the Biletnikoff Award last week. Singer currently sports 41 receptions for 605 yards and two touchdowns. This award honors the top receiver in the nation at any position.
6 — The Wildcats boast the 6th ranked passing offense in the nation averaging 334.4 yards per game and 31.6 points per game (54th) and are 25th nationally in total offense (465.1).
39 — WR Jacob Cowing has recorded 39 consecutive games with at least one reception, the third-longest active streak among all FBS players.
470 — Tetairoa McMillan leads all FBS true freshman with 470 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
3 — The Wildcats have seen 21 400-yard passing performances in program history, three of which belong to QB Jayden de Laura this year.
23 — TE Tanner McLachlan's 23 receptions this year are tied for the fifth most by a tight end in a single season in program history. He is four receptions shy of tying Mark Keel in 1981 for fourth place.
VERSUS USC: This is the 46th all-time meeting between Arizona and USC. The Trojans hold the all-time series lead 37-8. Arizona has lost the last nine games dating back to its last win over Southern California on Oct. 27, 2012, in Tucson (W, 39-36). Arizona is 4-15 at home and 4-21 on the road against USC. The nine-game winning streak for Southern California marks the longest winning streak in the series. In the last matchup, Arizona fell 41-34 at USC on Oct. 30, 2021. The Wildcats trailed 35-14 at halftime and outscored the Trojans 20-6 in the second half to climb back into the game. Arizona held USC to a field goal with 3:24 in regulation and got the ball back trailing by 10 points. The Wildcats began its drive at its own 25-yard line, but the drive stalled in USC territory on an incomplete pass on 3rd and 7 at the 23 yard-line. Kicker Tyler Loop made a 40-yard field goal to cut the deficit to seven points with 1:26 left in the game but USC ran out the clock and Arizona fell 41-34.
LAST TIME OUT: Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. passed for a school-record 516 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score and Washington beat Arizona 49-39 on Saturday. Penix hit Rome Odunze on scoring passes of 45 and 48 yards in the decisive third quarter to help the Huskies snap a two-game losing streak. The junior transfer entered the game as the nation's second-leading passer and didn't disappoint in a game that featured the Pac-12 Conference's top two offenses and two of its star quarterbacks. Penix led the Huskies to 608 total yards of offense and, along with breaking Cody Pickett's passing record of 455 yards, he set the school record for total yards with 529, breaking Marcus Tuiasosopo's record (509 yards). Penix led the Huskies to a quick 7-0 lead on their first drive, hitting Jalen McMillan in the back of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. Jayden De Laura tied the game two drives later when he hit Tetairoa McMillan, who broke a tackle on his way to a 46-yard touchdown. Tailback Cameron Davis put Washington up 14-7 with a 1-yard dive early in the second quarter, one of two scoring runs. The Huskies' early lead might have been bigger, but the Wildcats defense came up with two fourth-and-short stops in the first half. Jalen Harris and Jacob Manu stuffed Taulapapa on fourth-and-2 in the first quarter and D.J. Warnell Jr. stopped Cameron Davis for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the 19 in the second quarter. De Laura tied it 14-14 on a 39-yard pass to Dorian Singer, who came wide open down the right sideline when his defender, Jordan Perryman, came up lame and began to limp. The Wildcats left 2:23 on the clock, however, and Penix picked apart the defense on a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 4-yard scoring pass to Sam Adams II with 8 seconds left for a 21-14 halftime lead. Penix was 9 of 11 on the drive for 72 yards. He kept it rolling, hitting Odunze for a 45-yard touchdown and a 28-14 lead just 46 seconds into the second half. And he added an 8-yard scoring run midway through the quarter to answer a Jonah Coleman 3-yard touchdown dive and keep the Huskies up 35-21. Then Penix seemed to put the game out of reach with another deep shot to a wide-open Odunze, who caught the 48-yard touchdown to make it 42-24 with 1:56 left in the third. De Laura, last seen in Seattle leading an upset of the Huskies last season for Washington State, escaped the Washington rush again and again to keep Arizona in it. He hit Tetairoa McMillan again midway through the fourth, this time from 26 yards out, to cut the lead to 42-37. But Penix led another long drive capped by a 19-yard Davis scoring run with 5:25 left for the win. De Laura finished 25 of 34 for 400 yards and four touchdowns.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Tetairoa McMillan has earned his second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor following his performance on Saturday at Washington. McMillan earned his second Pac-12 Freshman of the Week honor after making seven receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns. All those marks are career highs for the first-year Wildcat out of Servite High School. McMillan's longest touchdown reception of the season, 46 yards, capped a four-play 79-yard drive with a score to tie the game 7-7 at Washington on Saturday. He is the second player in the Pac-12 to earn the award for a second time (Cal RB – Jaydn Ott, 3 times) and McMillan is the only player outside of the states of Washington and California to earn the honor.With touchdown receptions of 46 and 26 yards, it marked the first multi-TD game for McMillan, who now has six receiving touchdowns this season. Since 1996, Arizona's true freshman receiving touchdown record is seven from Nate Phillips in 2013. McMillan leads all true freshmen nationally in yards (470) and he is tied for the lead in touchdown receptions (6). He logged the first 100-yard receiving game of his career, going for a team-leading 132 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. McMillan is 8th in the conference with 470 receiving yards, 12th in receiving yards per game, and tied for second in touchdowns (6). He is one touchdown behind teammate Jacob Cowing, who is first in the Pac-12 in touchdown receptions (7). The freshman from Waimanalo, Hawai'i, was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Week for the first time in his collegiate career on Oct. 3, following Arizona's 43-20 win over Colorado. McMillan becomes the first player to win this award twice for Arizona since it was created prior to the 2019 season. QB Grant Gunnell was honored in Week 5 of the 2019 season. The Wildcats have earned a Pac-12 Player of the Week honor for the fifth time this season after de Laura took home the offensive player of the week following a Week-1 victory at San Diego State, Jalen Harris (Week 1) and Hunter Echols (Week 3) earned defensive lineman of the week honors and McMillan has earned freshman of the week honors in two of the last three weeks.
RING OF HONOR: Vance Johnson, Ortege Jenkins, and John Button Salmon, a trio of legendary Arizona Wildcats, will be inducted into the Arizona Football Ring of Honor. All three will be inducted into the Ring of Honor based on the same criteria: The individual has brought recognition, distinction, and honor to the sports program.
Johnson, a two-sport athlete at Arizona from 1981-84, was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 for his contributions to the Track & Field program. His inclusion in the Ring of Honor comes on the back of a tremendously successful football career that included a First Team All-Pac-10 selection in 1982 and ended with a second-round selection in the 1985 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. After leading the Wildcats in rushing in 1981 and 1982 he transitioned to wide receiver for his professional career and played in three Super Bowls. Johnson's Track & Field exploits were highlighted by a 1983 NCAA National Championship in the long jump.
Jenkins, one of the Wildcats quarterbacks from 1997-2000, most famously secured No. 14 Arizona's 1998 victory over No. 20 Washington with a stunning touchdown run that became widely known as the "Leap by the Lake." Jenkins led the 1997 and 2000 Arizona teams in passing and earned All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention recognition as a senior. To this day he is still 10th all-time in program history with 5,424 passing yards while his 42 passing touchdowns rank eighth all-time. Jenkins joins his teammate and fellow quarterback Keith Smith in the Arizona Ring of Honor with his induction later this month. Jenkins and Smith selflessly split time at quarterback throughout the duration of Arizona's spectacular 1998 season that saw the Wildcats post a program-record 12 wins and earn a trip to the Holiday Bowl.
Salmon, a member of the football team in 1924 and 1925, was a charter inductee of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. The two-year letterman in both football and baseball is best known for being the force behind Arizona's famous athletics slogan "Bear Down." Salmon, who was also student body president, died in an automobile accident in 1926. Shortly before his death his last message to his teammates, spoken to Arizona athletic director J.F. McKale, was "tell them to bear down."
TIGHT END U: Redshirt junior tight end Tanner McLachlan is 17th among tight ends nationally in receiving yards (309), 15th in yards per catch (13.4), and 15th in yards per game (44.1) among the nation's best tight ends. McLachlan has caught 23 passes, which is tied for 17th nationally at the position. His 23 receptions this year are tied for the fifth most in a single season in program history with Steve Fleming who caught 23 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns in 2004.
GAME-BREAKER: The Arizona Wildcats finished the win against Colorado with two receivers recording over 100 yards receiving (Cowing 180 yards, Singer 163) for the second straight week following the 133-yard effort by Cowing and 103-yard performance by Singer at Cal on Sept. 24. Arizona has now notched two games with a pair of 100-yard receivers in a single season for the first time since 2014 (Cayleb Jones 186 & Austin Hill 127 vs. California; Austin Hill 110 & Samaje Grant 101 vs. UNLV). The Wildcats 673 yards of total offense in its 43-20 win over Colorado set a school record for most yards of offense in conference play as a member of the Pac-10/12 Conference. Cowing's 566 receiving yards are the third-most by an Arizona player through the team's first five games since 1996. Only Dennis Northcutt (629 yds, 1999) and Bobby Wade (581 yds, 2002) had more.
THE NATION'S BEST AT WIDE OUT: Junior wide receiver Jacob Cowing has tied a career-high seven touchdown catches in his first five games with Arizona. He is two TD grabs away from moving into the top-10 in single-season touchdown receptions. Cowing is currently tied for 16th for a single season in program history. With three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter, Cowing eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark for his collegiate career while catching his seventh touchdown of the season. He sits with 3,332-career yards after making seven receptions for 94 yards at Washington on Oct. 15. Cowing is 122nd in FBS history, moving past Arizona receivers Mike Thomas (3,231) and Dennis Northcutt (3,186). The only Arizona wideout with the most career yards is Bobby Wade (3,351) from 1999-2002.
SETTING THE TONE: Sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura is tied for second in the Pac-12 with 19 passing touchdowns. De Laura tied his career-best seven-game touchdown streak with four touchdown passes at Washington on Oct. 15. It was the first time in his collegiate career that he suffered a loss (6-1) after throwing for more than three touchdown passes (4). De Laura threw for the third-most yards in a game this season (400) at Washington. He threw for a career-high 484 yards and six touchdowns against Colorado. 484 passing yards marked the most allowed by Colorado in school history. The six touchdown passes tie a school record set by Tom Tunnicliffe against Pacific on Oct. 23, 1982. De Laura led the Wildcats to a 43-20 win over Colorado and became the first Arizona QB with 400-plus passing yards in consecutive games since Matt Scott in 2012. De Laura's 484 yards marked a career high and the fifth most passing yards by a QB in Arizona history. He has set career-high marks in passing yards in back-to-back weeks. This performance comes on the heels of throwing for 401 yards at Cal to become the 19th quarterback in Arizona history to turn in a 400-yard passing performance. De Laura led a comeback 31-28 win after trailing by four entering the fourth quarter, 28-24, against North Dakota State. De Laura connected with Cowing on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 4:53 left in the fourth quarter to earn the win. De Laura threw for 229 yards and one touchdown and rushed for career-highs with 10 carries and 58 yards and a rushing touchdown against the Bison to help the Wildcats improve to 2-1. 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 at San Diego State. De Laura's four touchdown passes are 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. 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.
DEFENSIVE STANDOUTS: Sophomore safety DJ Warnell Jr. made his first start at Washington and recorded a career-high 11 tackles (7 solo, 4 assist) including 0.5 tackles for loss to lead the Wildcats defense. Junior safety Jaxen Turner made a career-high 13 tackles (8 solo, 5 assists) against Oregon on Oct. 8. It marked the second time in his collegiate career that he finished a game with 10-plus tackles (first; 10 vs. UCLA, 10/9/21). Turner is third on the team with 37.0 total tackles. He has one of the Wildcats' two total interceptions. Linebacker Jerry Roberts reached double-digit tackles (10) against Mississippi State to achieve the feat in a second consecutive game. Roberts previously had one double digit tackle game in his career at Arizona (Utah 2021). Roberts is fifth in the Pac-12 with 7.7 tackles per game and is third in overall tackles (49.0). Senior defensive lineman Hunter Echols forced a fumble for the first time in his career and has set a new career high with 36.0 total tackles this season (18 solo, 18 assists). Senior Jalen Harris is on his way to surpassing his career-high 44 tackles from 2021. Harris has 33.0 tackles (13 solo, 20 assists) through six games, averaging 4.83 tackles per game with 1.5 sacks.
THE STREAK CONTINUES: Junior wide receiver Jacob Cowing extended his streak of consecutive games with a catch to 38, which is the third-longest such streak in the nation (1st; 41, Chris Autman-Bell, WR, Minnesota). Through seven games, Cowing is 10th in the nation with 737 receiving yards. He is also tied for 10th nationally in touchdown receptions with seven. Cowing recorded a career-high 180 receiving yards in his most recent outing against Colorado and he has caught a touchdown in five of seven games played this season. He made seven receptions for 133 yards at Cal, marking the second-most receiving yards in a single game this season. He has surpassed last year's top scoring threat through the air, running back Michael Wiley, who tallied four receiving TDs in 11 games played. He is three touchdown catches shy of breaking into the Arizona all-time top-10 and five off the single-season record of 11 touchdown catches held by six players. Cowing caught a touchdown with 4:53 remaining in the fourth quarter to put the Wildcats in front of North Dakota State 31-28, marking his third straight game with a reception (5 rec., 55 yards) and the first Wildcat player with touchdown catches in three straight games since Michael Wiley caught a touchdown in each of the final three games of the 2021 season. 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.
WILDCATS IN THE NFL: The Wildcats are once again well represented in the National Football League this year with 10 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
|Stanley Berryhill III||WR||Detroit Lions|
|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|