Pac-10 Week 12 Notes and Observations: Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats 6-4 Overall (4-3 Conference)
This Week’s Score: Oregon 44 – Arizona 41 (2OT)
Next Week’s Opponent: @Arizona State
For Wildcats fans, none of the cliches in the book about how great of an effort last Saturday’s game was are going to make the loss sting any less.
That said, I’ll make the point anyway; Saturday’s game against Oregon was an extremely respectable effort, and the Wildcats and their fans should hold their heads up high for showing as much fight as they did and providing a fantastic game that not only lived up to all of the hype, but far surpassed it.
This team has come a long way over the last few years in terms of talent and mental toughness, and they should be able to build off of these invaluable experiences next season.
Nick Foles had an excellent day, passing for 314 yards and four TDs (30/46, 1 INT). His main target was Juron Criner, who made five catches including three for touchdowns, capped off by an electrifying 71-yard play on a short pass that at the time gave the Wildcats the lead.
The defense also played a very good game. When Oregon’s offense is rolling, there isn’t any stopping it; but to slow it down is an impressive feat. And in fact, the defense stepped up huge midway through the fourth quarter when they forced a 4-and-out to get the ball back at the Oregon 45 to preserve the touchdown lead. The offense turned the ball back over with just over three minutes left to play, and you can’t give an offense like Oregon’s a second chance.
With the Rose Bowl out of reach and a bowl game already locked up, the Wildcats will have to dig deep to find motivation to finish up the last two games of the season. Granted, there is always plenty of motivation when playing hated rival ASU, but even that will pale in comparison to Saturday’s game. Hard to go from controlling your own destiny for the Rose Bowl to bring (likely) one loss away from a 6th place finish in the conference, but that’s the reality.
Will the Wildcats finish strong, or fizzle to the finish line? We will soon find out.