Huskies Stoop to 'Cats

Arizona turned what was shaping up into a yawner of a football game into a veritable Tucson garden party, as the Wildcats capitalized on three Washington miscues and Mike Bell scored twice to defeat a punchless UW squad 23-13 Saturday at Husky Stadium.

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  • Washington kicked off to Arizona under a cloudy sky and amid cool temperatures. On Washington's first two plays from scrimmage, Craig Chambers was the featured target.

    This didn't aid the Huskies, as they still went the familiar 3-n-out.

    Arizona quickly went to work with a healthy run by Mike Bell followed by a perfectly executed flea-flicker to the UW 1 yard line. Bell dove over the goal line and Arizon jumped out to a 7-0 lead in short order.

    It was the first time UA had scored on a game-opening drive since their season opener against Northern Arizona.

    Washington's next drive sputtered to a stop. On the ensuing punt attempt Arizona's line rush completely engulfed the Washington punt. The ball sailed backward in a majestic arc, way out of the endzone, for about as long a distance as any Husky punt has traveled this dismal season

    With Arizona driving again and moving the football like the '94 Nebraska team, the Husky defense finally rose up. Joe Lobendahn penetrated the backfield for a tackle for loss, followed by an Evan Benjamin sack. Arizona was forced to punt. The Huskies were still within shouting distance, trailing 9-0.

    On the ensuing Husky drive, Paus was under pressure when he tossed a screen pass to Shelton Sampson, who weaved and then sprinted 58 yards to the UA 10-yard line. It was the Huskies' longest gain of the season. Shelton Sampson scored on a run around left end, and that marked the first UW touchdown in 9 quarters of football.

    When Arizona took over, a completed screen pass to the right side was met with a ferocious hit from, Derrick Johnson. The ball popped loose, and the Dawgs recovered at the UA 41 yard line. Unfortunately, the inept Washington offense went backwards and was forced to punt. But for the 2nd time in the first quarter, a roughing the kicker penalty on UA kept the Husky drive alive. Soon after, Evan Knudsen drilled a 42-yard field goal to put Washington atop 10-9.

    To bring to an end to an eventful 1st quarter, Husky James Sims stripped the football away from Arizona kickoff returner Syndric Steptoe to give the Dawgs possession.

    To start the 2nd qtr, Washington couldn't much move the football, but Knudsen again knocked the field goal through to extend UW's lead to 13-9.

    For the duration of the half, Washington's defense was bending but not breaking.

    With 4:52 to go in the 2nd qtr, Arizona head coach Mike Stoops called timeout and came out 20 yards onto the field to scream at one of his defensive players.

    Husky punter Sean Douglas boomed a 57-yard punt with 4:32 to go, that was as quality a kick as we have seen in awhile. Along with the good Husky coverage, the punt pinned the Wildcats back to their 11-yard line.

    After the Husky offense went backwards on their drive, Douglas thumped another great punt. A most absurd 87-yard punt return was nullified by a holding penalty. The Arizona returner brok through a seam and was rambling downfield when he fumbled the football. As the returner lost possession, the ball tumbled out and was inadvertantly kicked by a Husky and right into the arms of Ricky Williams, who raced the rest of the distance for the TD. But as stated, it was cancelled by a holding penalty.

    Washington entered the lockeroom at half, leading 13-9.

    As is Homecoming tradition, former Husky letter winners of all sports held up their letterman blankets and formed a human tunnel through which the Huskies emerged to start the 2nd half. Included among the lettermen, were former Husky gridders Napoleon Kaufman, Lincoln Kenendy and Jeff Jaeger.

    Husky defense stopped Arizona 3-n-out, and UW took over at own 18-yard line. Many of the 63,225 fans in attendance seemed to have left their seats at halftime and never came back.

    The Huskies went three and out, and once again when a pass play went awry, Husky receivers concluded a play by inexplicably looking to referees for an interfrence call, when there was absolutely no basis for it to be expected.

    Isaiah Stanback's entry into the game at the 9:27 mark, was met with enthusiastic applause from the remaining fans. Moments later the fans erupted again, when Stanback ran around end on a keeper, picked up the first down, then lowered his shoulder and knocked a UA tackler on his butt.

    On a key Arizona 3rd and 2 play deep in Washington territory, the Husky defense stepped up with some tough hits and produced another turnover.

    Then on a horrific series of events, Shelton Sampson fumbled the football (with no assistance from the UA defenders); the result was that the Wildcats scooped it up and had their first defensive touchdown of the season. The Husky offense had imploded again, giving up points despite the UW defense playing such stellar football. It was now Arizona 16, Washington 13.

    This was followed by two change of possesions, and a Stanback interception. The Husky D had to drag themselves onto the field yet again...

    Moments later, Wildcat running back and Husky nemesis Mike Bell rumbled in for the touchdown. The drive went 3 plays for 40 yards, in just 0:23. The air was coming out of the Husky balloon.

    At the end of the 3rd quarter, Jacque Robinson was honored in the east endzone as a "Husky Legend". The remaining fans gave him a rousing ovation. Jacque was accompanied by his son Nate (who also received enthusiastic ovation).

    The Huskies faked a punt, and Sean Douglas raced 28 yards for a first down. As the announcer in the press box was quick to point out, it was the longest run in Douglas' career...

    It was all for naught, as Stanback carelessly fumbled the football away on a subsequent scramble and the drive deep into Arizona territory was whittled away.

    And in the end the game was for naught... Washington managed to complete a mere 16 passes in 47 attempts, and turned the ball over four times. The Husky defense put up a fight but in the second half there developed a palpable sense of impending doom. Arizona's 23 points became the most the Wildcats had scored this season.

    And the victory was theirs. Top Stories