PREVIEW: A first look at the Wildcats

This is the first of a three-part series in which we preview Saturday's clash between the LSU Tigers and the Arizona Wildcats. Both teams enter the contest 1-0. Arizona defeated BYU 16-13 while LSU drilled ULL 45-3.





All-Time Series: 2-0-0


Stadium: Arizona Stadium (59,920)


Conference: Pac-10


First Meeting: 1984, LSU 27, Arizona 26


Last Meeting: 2003, LSU 59, Arizona 13



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Head Coach: Mike Stoops, 6-16 at UA and overall, 2 years


2005 in Review: 3-8, 2-6 Pac-10


Final '05 Ranking: Not ranked


Off. / Def. Systems: Multiple Pro-Style/4-3


Returning Starters: 17; 7 offense, 9 defense, kicker


Last Bowl Appearance: 1998 Holiday


Last Conference Championship: 1993 Pac-10 Co-champs






Rushing: Chris Henry – 34 rushes, 119 yards, 0 TD


Passing: Willie Tuitama – 142-82-5, 1105 yards, 9 TD


Receiving: Mike Thomas – 52 catches, 771 yards, 5 TD


Tackles: Wilrey Fontenot – 93 TT (62S, 31A)






    Date                Opponent           '05 Result


S-2            BYU                  ---


 S-9           at LSU                       ---


S-16          Stephen F. Austin        ---


       S-23           USC                   L, 42-21


       S-30           Washington                L, 38-10


        O-7           at UCLA             W, 52-14


        O-14         at Stanford         L, 20-16


         O-21         Oregon State              W, 29-27


 N-4          at Washington State    ---


     N-11             at California               L, 28-0


       N-18           at Oregon          L, 28-21


       N-25           Arizona State              L, 23-20




Head to Head




Arizona WR vs. LSU CB

Mike Thomas vs. Jonathan Zenon

Mike Thomas may not be the most physically imposing player on the Arizona roster. Standing 5-8 and 173 pounds, Thomas isn't big, but he's quick and he led the Wildcats in receiving in 2005 with 52 catches for 771 yards and five touchdowns. Zenon is emerging as LSU's next great lockdown cornerback after recording career interceptions three and four last week versus ULL.




Arizona CB vs. LSU WR

Wilrey Fontenot vs. Dwayne Bowe

LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe didn't even start for the Tigers last weekend. The senior from Miami, Fla., sat out the first two series serving a minor suspension stemming from last year's Peach Bowl. He still managed to lead the team in receiving with four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Bowe will have a 6-inch height advantage over Arizona's Wilrey Fontenot, who is the Wildcats' leading returning tackler from 2005.




Player to Watch

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Willie Tuitama

QB, Sophomore

6-3, 218

St. Mary's HS

Stockton, Ca.


Why it is important to stop him?

Willie Tuitama has the skills to take over a game. Poised to be the next great quarterback from the Pac-10, Tuitama is the prototypical pocket passer that can pick apart a defensive secondary if he is given the time to stay in the pocket. Last year, Tuitama took over the reins of the offense midway through the season and completed 82 of 142 passes for 1,105 yards and nine touchdowns offset by just five interceptions. In last Saturday's win over Arizona, Tuitama completed 19 of 39 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown.


Who has to stop him?

The LSU defense cannot allow Tuitama to stand back in the pocket or it could be Arizona State and Sam Keller all over again. The Tigers, especially Glenn Dorsey and Marlon Favorite, have to get to Tuitama early and often before he can find his rhythm. With the way LSU's cornerbacks have played thus far, a little pressure could result in interceptions going the other way.

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