Arizona avoided one of the worst losses in program history as it was able to defeat Grambling State 31-21 on Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.
Grambling State started on its own 19 with a false start and incomplete pass. After a penalty on Arizona, Verlan Hunter caught a 19-yard pass on third down.
Chad Williams then gained 43 in the air on the next play. Arizona got called for a five-yard penalty and Martez Carter had two runs for a combined nine yards.
On the next play, Hunter scored on a shovel pass from two yards out as the extra point out the Tigers up 7-0 with 12:05 left in the first quarter.
Arizona got the ball on its own 24 and started with a seven-yard run by Nick Wilson. After an incomplete pass, Wilson ran for three.
Arizona found itself on third down and Brandon Dawkins hit Trey Griffey for 18. Wilson proceeded to pick up gains of 10, 3, and 2.
Grambling State held up and Arizona went for it on fourth and short, but Wilson was unable to get the first and turned it over on downs.
The Tigers got the ball on their own 31 and had a four and nine-yard run from Devante Kincade. After a false start, Kincade hit Dominique Leake for 11 yards.
The Wildcats proceeded to force a fumble and Justin Belknap for a sack on third down to force a punt.
Arizona took possession on its own 17 and started with a five-yard run from Dawkins and Wilson.
The drive basically stalled there, as Dawkins ran five yards short on third down and the Wildcats punted.
Grambling State began on its own 14 and on second down, Carter caught an 11-yard pass. He then ran for 11 more, but the Tigers were called for a chop block.
A four-yard loss proceeded to end the first quarter with Grambling State up 7-0.
The second quarter started with an incomplete pass and on 3rd and 29, Carter caught a 49-yard completion for the first down.
Williams then caught a six-yard pass and three plays later, Carter ran for seven. After a holding call and an incomplete pass, Devon Lindsey caught a 26-yard touchdown as the extra point gave Grambling State a 14-0 lead with 11:55 left in the half.
Arizona got the ball on the 14 and Wilson carried for two yards. Dawkins gained three and then found Grant for 13.
Orlando Bradford picked up six and after an incomplete pass, Samajie Grant caught a five-yard pass.
Dawkins gained 42 and Arizona was eventually forced into a 4th and 1 situation. The handoff was fumbled and the Wildcats turned it over on the Grambling State 10.
The Tigers got a first down, but weren’t able to get anything going and had to punt, giving Arizona the ball back on its own three.
Grant caught a 70-yard pass on first down and Grambling State was called offside on the next play.
Wilson lost a yard, but Shawn Poindexter came back with a nine-yard completion. Arizona couldn’t get anything going and settled for a 31-yard field goal that cut the lead to 14-3 with under five minutes left in the half.
Grambling State took over on its own 25 with a one-yard run by Carter. Hunter then caught an eight-yard pass and Carter picked up four on the ground.
After an incomplete pass, Kincade ran for three yards. Williams then got a 12-yard completion and added one for four yards.
Carter caught an eight-yard pass, but the Tigers lost five yards own a fumble. Williams proceeded to catch a pass for 30 yards and added 10 more.
On the next play, Carter ran it in from one yard out and the extra point put the Tigers up 21-3 at the half.
Arizona began the second half on its own 30 with an 11-yard completion to Cam Denson and an eight-yard pass as well.
Wilson ran for seven yards and Shun Brown added a seven-yard completion. Two plays later, Grambling State was called offside.
After an incomplete pass, Griffey caught a 13-yard pass and Wilson ran for 15. Two plays later, Dawkins scored on a two-yard run and the extra point cut the lead to 21-10 with 12:07 left in the third.
Arizona and Grambling exchanged drives before the Tigers took over on their own 11. Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles was able to come up with an interception and Arizona got the ball on the opposing 42.
The Wildcats’ ensuing drive did not go any better, as Dawkins was unable to convert on 4th and 1 and Arizona turned it over in Grambling territory.
Grambling State started on its own 36 with a holding call. Arizona was then called for roughing the passer and Leake caught an 18-yard pass on the next play.
Two plays later, Jace Whittaker came up with an interception and Arizona had the ball on the Grambling 45.
Griffey caught a nine-yard pass on first down and Wilson picked up the first with a one-yard gain.
Wilson then ran for eight yards and two plays later, Dawkins hit Griffey for the 34-yard touchdown.
The extra point cut Grambling State’s lead to 21-17 with 2:42 left in the third quarter.
After no gain on first down, Kelly ran for seven on second down. On third, Grambling State fumbled and Arizona recovered on the 29.
Josh Kern gained seven on first down and the Tigers were called for a personal foul. On the next play, Wilson scored from 11 yards out and the extra point put the Wildcats up 24-21 with 42 second remaining in the third.
The Tigers started on their own 22 with a four-yard run by Carter and the Wildcats led to end the third quarter.
Williams caught a 13-yard pass and two plays later, Arizona got a sack. On the next play, Grambling State fumbled and the Wildcats recovered on the 29.
After a three-yard run by Wilson, Dawkins was sacked. Trevor Wood caught a 12-yard pass and Dawkins proceeded to keep it and score from 21 yards out.
The extra point put Arizona up 31-21 with 12:08 left in regulation.
Grambling tried to get momentum back, but Arizona got a sack on first down. Williams caught a 12-yard pass and Arizona was called for targeting with Cody Ippolito being ejected.
After an incomplete pass, Montrel Meander caught a 10-yard pass. Arizona forced third down and got a sack, forcing a punt.
Neither team got much going for the rest of regulation, as the Wildcats were able to hang on.