Big plays abound in final scrimmage

Spring football still has three practices remaining, but the Wildcats went through the final scrimmage of the spring on Friday night. The session was highlighted by big plays on both sides of the football. The offense threw the ball effectively, but had trouble with the defense's pass rush.

The Wildcat offense scored six times, all in the air. Ryan O'Hara and John Rattay got the bulk of the work due to an injury to Nic Costa.

"Nic (Costa) hit his finger yesterday, so he didn't play very much today," explained John Mackovic.

Costa started the scrimmage but played just one series due to the sore finger, which is described as "bruised". He was just 1-2 for a single yard.

O'Hara was a house of fire, having a spectacular scrimmage. After sitting out Tuesday's practice, O'Hara responded by completing his first ten passes. His lone incompletion was on the final pass of the day. O'Hara tossed four touchdown passes, including two over 45 yards. O'Hara hit Andrae Thurman on a 50 yarder and Mike Jefferson on a 45-yard score. He also found Thurman and Lance Relford for scores.

For the second straight practice John Rattay saw extended action. The JC transfer responded to the extra work by completing 7-of-13 passes, two of which went for touchdowns.

Adam Austin also saw limited action. He had six yards on 1-3 passing.

"John (Rattay) and Ryan (O'Hara) both did a good job, and they threw very well," Mackovic said. "They did a good job of finding some different people, and they picked up the receivers and made some throws underneath."

All told ten receivers caught balls. Thurman led the way with five catches for 115 yards. Jeffeson totaled 70 yards on a pair of catches. Rick Williams and Gilbert Harris also had touchdown catches.

The running game was not as effective as the aerial attack. Mike Bell was solid, gaining 28 yards on just seven carries. Chris Harris got the bulk of the work but managed just 11 yards on 11 rushes. Beau Carr had six yards on seven attempts. Gilbert Harris had two carries for one yard.

The defense hounded the quarterbacks all day. The defense racked up nine sacks, with Paul Phillip leading the way with three. Brad Brittain and Marcus Smith each had two sacks.

Phillip also forced a fumble, but the offense recovered to maintain possession.

Special teams were also a focus of the scrimmage. Before the practice started, the punters were given a good look. According to media relations, James Molina averaged 43.8 yards per kick and Danny Baugher averaged an even 45.0 yards a punt.

Bobby Gill made 1-of-2 field goals, connecting from 32 yards and missing from 36. He converted both PAT's while Nick Folk made all three extra points.

Arizona has three practices remaining on the spring schedule. The Wildcats will practice on Monday, April 21, at 4:30 p.m., and Tuesday, April 22, at 4:30 p.m. The team will conclude sessions with the final practice on Thursday, April 24, at 6:30 p.m.

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