Spring scrimmage re-cap

The final score read 56-28 for the offense, but the modified, special scoring system was not the story of the day. After a very slow start the Arizona offense showed glimpses of explosiveness in the second half of the spring scrimmage.

Arizona did a decent job moving the ball in the fist half, but the defense was the story. The offense was held without a touchdown, while throwing two interceptions.

Willie Tuitama was picked off by Brandon Tatum on his first possession and Michael Klyce picked him off on his next possession. In between Kris Heavner moved the offense deep into the defense's territory, but the team had to settle for a Jason Bondzio 20-yard field goal.

After the second pick Tuitama seemed to settle down. He never got into a great groove, but did avoid the costly turnovers. The next drive saw Tuitama connect on three straight passes to move to the defense's 40. Three straight runs left the offense with fourth and two but the coaches decided to forgo the fourth down conversion for a long field goal. The hold was not great and Bondzio's 51-yarder missed badly to the right.

Tuitama led the Cats to their second field goal of the half thanks to a third down conversion. The junior passer found Terrell Turner for a 12 yard gain on the first play. After two incomplete passes, Tuitama fired a bullet to Anthony Johnson for 21 yards. Again the offense stalled, but this time Bondzio connected on a 21-yarder.

The second half began with a bang. Utilizing the play a fan submitted, Tuitama rolled out left and heaved a long pass to Mike Thomas for a 52-yard gain. The Cats moved down to the six yard line, but after Xavier Smith dropped a wide open pass in the endzone they never recovered. Bondzio connected on his third field goal of the game.

"I think we moved the ball really well from 20 to the 20," Mike Stoops said. "We weren't as good in the endzone."

Tuitama finally got the team into the endzone. Thomas got the drive started with a 10 yard run on the end around. On the next play Tuitama connected with Anthony Johnson for a short gain and then went deep. Tuitama threw a rainbow to the right sideline. A streaking Turner ran under the ball and made a sliding catch out of bounds. After a momentary conference, the officials ruled it a catch. Two plays later Tuitama threw a bullet over the middle that Johnson snatched out of the air for a 22-yard touchdown.

On his final possession Tuitama again found the endzone. Two short passes to Turner and a seven-yard run by Smith moved the offense, but it was a 32-yard connection to Thomas that got the Wildcats down to the 10. On the next play Tuitama lobbed a pass to the back of the endzone for Brandon Lopez. The fullback got his hands on the ball while falling out of bounds. Although the ball popped loose, the officials ruled it a score.

All told Tuitama was 24-39 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two picks.

Tyler Lyon ended the scrimmage by leading the offense to the fourth Bondzio field goal. A 20-yard run by Terry Longbons got things started. Lyon completed his next two passes, but faced pressure on his final three pass attempts. He threw two away to avoid sacks, but stepped out of bounds before he could get off a pass. Bondzio came in and booted a 27-yarder to conclude the scrimmage.

Wildcat Insider will have more from the scrimmage including final stats, evaluations and interviews.


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