Game Log: Mixed Emotions

It was a strange game for Arizona. They started strong against Stephen F. Austin and then went into a long funk only to rebound when Willie Tuitama entered the game. I kept a running game log where I kind of went through a roller coaster ride of emotions and feelings about this team.

Against BYU there was a huge buzz around campus. That was lacking this time out. There were a lot of tailgaters, but the overall crowd and atmosphere was not as good.

12:44 in the first:
Southall throws a perfect strike…to the Arizona sideline. Mark Stoops makes the pick. He shows off the hands that made him a successful DB at Iowa.

11:04 in the first:
Adam Austin completes his first pass as a starter. He hits Thomas on a quick screen which goes for eight.

6:29 in the first:
Austin completes his first five passes on the drive but nearly has the sixth one picked off. It went through the hands of an SFA defender. Had he hung on he would have run for awhile.

4:23 in the first:
A methodical drive concludes with a short Chris Jennings run. The Cats take over 7:00 off the clock and go 79 yards for the score. They convert four third downs in the drive, which is a season high already. Jennings is close to matching the season rushing totals as well.

2:10 in the first:
Jennings with a sick run where he changed directions, made tacklers miss and then jumped over a would be tackler. The run gives Arizona their best rushing night of the season.

2:01 in the first:
Xavier Smith with his first career carry. He squirts past the right side for a twelve yard gain.

14:49 in the second:
SFA actually commits three penalties on one play but two false starts are negated by a delay of game. That is what you call execution.

10:03 in the second:
SFA is taking advantage if the Folk missed field goal. They march 80 yards in 10 plays and tie the game up on a short TD plunge.

9:51 in the second:
a big Steptoe return will be called back for a hold. Cats start at the nine, not the 38.

7:54 in the second:
The boo birds are out. Not only do the Cats fail to convert on third and short when Freddie Parish was in the backfield waiting for Jennings, but then Kyle McQuown's punt goes for just 14 yards, giving SFA the ball at the UA 28. I'm not sure the punt went as far as the flag that the officials threw on the kick off.

6:02 in the second:
SFA leads at Arizona stadium 10-7 thanks to a field goal. SFA has won the special teams battle so far.

5:19 in the second:
Jennings has to allude another would be tackler in the backfield. This time a DB blitzed and Steptoe blocked him into Jennings' path. He winds up with a six yard gain.

4:32 in the second:
Jennings follows that up with a 41-yard run. He got a nice hole and then eluded tackler before scooting down the right sideline. Smith follows it up with a seven yard run and a five-yard run. Cats are able run so far tonight.

3:25 in the second:
SFA's head coach is not slim. He looks like he could go toe to toe with Friedgen or Mangino at the buffet line.

2:25 in the second:
Cats appear to have come up short at the goal line but this one will be reviewed. Maybe the Oregon replay booth officials are in town, in that case the Cats could be awarded a touchdown…No, they hold up the ruling on the field and the Cats will have third and goal from the three centimeter line.

2:01 in the second:
Austin keeps and scores his first career rushing touchdown.

1:34 in the second:
The bad news is that the Cats only have 14 points, but they have scored on two of their four possessions and have been inside the 20 on three of the four possessions.

1:21 in the second:
Wait a minute. There is a fumble and the Cats recover at the SFA 20. It looks like Donald Horton punched it out and Krogstad covered it up. The cats have momentum so what do they do? Run it up the middle. No gain on the play and they burn a second time out. Somewhere Dick Tomey is smiling.

0:56 in the second:
Cats give it right back. Syndric Steptoe coughs it up and a great opportunity is wasted. SFA took advantage of the short field earlier in the quarter, but the Cats cannot.

SFA has blown two timeouts at the start of drives. They seem unprepared for running clock to start each possession.

14:15 in the third:
Not the way you want to start the half. Mass confusion on the offense. Austin actually grabs Earl Mitchell as he tries to go in motion and makes him go back the other way. Then he and Jennings mishandle the exchange and put the ball on the ground. They recover and Jennings scoots for 15 on the next play.

13:14 in the third:
The Cats look downfield for the first time. Thomas was open but Austin led him too far and he is a yard out of bounds when he catches the ball. Ice to see the pages in the playbook with downfield passing has not been completely ripped out.

12:02 in the third:
Folk has regained the punter job and nearly pins SFA inside the five. His line drive rugby punt has a little too much oomph on it and skirts into endzone.

9:06 in the third:
At this point things are a bit perplexing. The Cats are really running the ball well, but have the most conservative passing game. Almost every pass is some sort of screen. They have gone deep downfield just once and more than five yards just a handful of times.

8:51 in the third:
Things just got worse. Austin has a ass tipped at the line and it is ruled an interception. This one will be reviewed and deemed an incomplete pass, but Arizona should not be in a position where one play could put SFA back in the lead.

Wait, the interception is upheld and SFA has the ball at the Arizona 12. They can take the lead here. This is bad.

7:01 in the third:
Tuitama is warming up. Will we see the real UA offense with him in the game? Or have we been watching it for the last 38+ minutes regardless of the quarterback?

6:43 in the third:
SFA settles for a field goal, but they are within one…wait, there is a penalty. 10 yards and they will re-kick.

6:39 in the third:
Bad snap and the 37-yarder is no good. Cats still lead by four and HAVE to do something.

1:47 in the third:
Cats move the ball but stall inside of SFA territory. Things come to a grinding halt when Austin short hops a wide open Thomas and then drops the ensuing shotgun snap. Tuitama is now warming up with his helmet on.

0:00 in the third:
Through 11 quarters Arizona has 33 points. That's an average of three points a quarter.

14:44 in the fourth:
It's Tui time! Tuitama is in the game, now the offense better respond or things could be bad, really bad, this year.

12:22 in the fourth:
Tui's fist pass misses badly, but at least it was downfield.

11:54 in the fourth:
Big conversion on third and 17. Willie finds Step over the middle for a 19-yard gain. It was a laser throw and Steptoe paid for it, but it kept the drive alive.

10:35 in the fourth:
Let's call Jennings the "Bright Spot". The junior scores an 11-yard touchdown and becomes the first Wildcat over 200 rushing yards since Mike Bell in 2003.

7:00 in the fourth:
The Zona Zoo begins the "Tuitama" chant.

5:22 in the fourth:
It looks like a completely different offense with Tuitama in the game. He has already completed more downfield passes in two drives than Austin did in over three quarters.

I feel a lot better about this team at the end of the fourth quarter than I did at the end of the third quarter. The offense was so much better with Tuitama in the game. There were more plays, more efficiency and of course more scoring. There are still some holes to fill and questions to answer but the team looked pretty good on offense with Tuitama in the game.

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