Cats lose hard fought nailbiter

The Arizona Wildcats came into the game looking for an upset against the Wisconsin Badgers, however, a close game and a missed last second field goal was too much for the ‘Cats to overcome.

Mike Bell started the game strong on Arizona's second drive with an 11 yard gain on his first run to pick up the first down. Splitting time with Gilbert Harris, and Chris Henry, Bell finished the game with 9 carries for 43 yards, as well as a 3 yard reception.

Harris began the game strong as well picking up a first down on early on Arizona's second drive. Harris ended the game with 56 yards on 9 carries, along with 8 yards on two receptions. In addition, Henry ended the game with 25 yards on 7 attempts.

Bell had a 34 yard carry on second down on Arizona's next drive, although Bell was injured on the play, and it seemed to both him the rest of the day.

The game was delayed with 6:13 left in the half due to lightning for 88 minutes. Following the delay each team came out for a 15:00 warmup. The delay and the warmup were used instead of halftime. Head Coach Mike Stoops felt little change following the delay.

"The delay was unfortunate but you have to deal with things like that," Stoops explained. "We got the players relaxed so I don't think it affected them too much."

However, Sean Jones disagreed.

"I wish we didn't have a delay," said Jones. "We got cold. Our legs tightened up."

When the game resumed, Arizona was able to hold Wisconsin forcing them to punt. Wisconsin's punter Kenne DeBauche shanked the 30 yard punt out of bounds at the Arizona 44 yard line.

Henry began running the ball for the ‘Cats after the delay. With just 44 seconds remaining in the half, Heavner threw a 44 yard touchdown pass to Mike Jefferson. Following the successful extra point by Nick Folk, the score was 7-0 with 32 seconds left in the half.

The touchdown was the first touchdown allowed by Wisconsin on the season

Wisconsin ran out the rest of the half, and Arizona received the ball to begin the second half. With a unique opportunity on their hands, having the ball immediately after a score, Arizona would have a commanding lead in the game if able to score. Unfortunately, the ‘Cats were unable to capitalize on the unique opportunity.

On Wisconsin's ensuing possession, they fumbled the ball on the Arizona 45, which was forced by Dane Krogstad, and recovered by Carlos Williams. Arizona's defense truly shined in the game today.

An incomplete pass to Jefferson on the next play led to a 14 yard carry by Harris, and put Arizona on the Wisconsin 41. An offside penalty by Wisconsin put Arizona on the 36. Harris then picked up a nice 8 yard gain for the first down putting Arizona on the 28 yard line.

Arizona was unable to gain a first down on their next three plays. This set up a 43 yard field goal attempt by Folk which went wide right.

Later in the quarter Arizona was able to hold the Badgers on third down at the Arizona 26, setting up a 4th and 3. However, Wisconsin went for it on 4th down once again, and picked up the first, giving them excellent field position at the 19 yard line. Wisconsin ended the 3rd quarter with the ball at the Arizona 17 yard line setting up 2nd and 8.

Wisconsin would score a touchdown a few plays later, off a 7 yard run by Booker Stanley. Wisconsin kicker Mike Allen missed the extra point wide right making the score 7-6 Arizona with 14:32 left in the game.

With 3:47 left in the game, Wisconsin kicker hit a 23 yard field goal to make the score 9-7 Wisconsin.

Things however appeared to turn Arizona's way when the ball was kicked out of bounds on the kickoff, placing the ball at the 35 yard line. Unfortunately, on the same play there was a 15-yard dead ball foul on the Wildcats, placing them at the 20.

Following the penalties, Heavner completed a pass to Ricky Williams putting Arizona at their own 31. Next, a complete pass to Steve Fleming brought Arizona to the Wisconsin 46. Harris rushed for 21 yards over the next two downs, putting the ‘Cats on the Wisconsin 25.

Unfortunately, a five-yard false start penalty put Arizona back to the 30 on the next play. Unable to move the ball, Folk came in for a 47 yard field goal on fourth down with 43 seconds left. Unfortunately the kicked missed to the left, an Arizona was unable to get the ball back.

"I thought he kicked it well," said Head Coach Mike Stoops on Folk's kick. "He just missed it…That's part of football."

Heavner was sacked three times losing 33 yards. However he was 9 for 15 passing for 103 yards, and one touchdown. Despite the sacks, Heavner had a good game at quarterback.

Arizona's defense played well all game allowing 18 first downs, 146 yards rushing on 46 attempts, as well as 116 yards passing on 24 attempts. The Arizona defense also forced and recovered 2 fumbles from Wisconsin.

The telling statistic of the game was third down and forth down conversions. Arizona went a mere 2 of 11 on third down conversions, while Wisconsin went 6 of 15. In addition, the Badgers went for it on fourth down four times, converting three times.

Arizona has been looking better and better each game. Their defense has playing great, and their offense has been putting together many strong drives. Unfortunately, they have had trouble scoring.

"We need to learn how to get the ball in the endzone," explained Stoops.

It was a tough loss for the ‘Cats, but there are some things to grow from it, although Lamon Means may tell you otherwise.

"Nothing good came out of today because we didn't come away with the win," said Means.

For Arizona to play both Utah and Wisconsin as well as they have, there are many things to look forward to with this team. These ‘Cats are tough and tonight's game was the best they have played in possibly four years of football.

"I have been around football for a long time and I know what this team is capable of," Stoops said. "We are a good team."

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