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October 4, 2008

UW offense stalls against Wildcats

Every week this season, GOAZCATS.com will run a simulation of each game that the Arizona Wildcats football team is involved in. The simulation will run on the Xbox 360 version of NCAA Football 2009 by pitting two CPU-controlled teams against each other.

Arizona got off to a hot start and never looked back as the Wildcats smashed Washington 24-3.

Playing without injured quarterback Jake Locker, the Huskies were unable to muster up a touchdown drive and their offense appeared much more predictable with freshman quarterback Ronnie Fouch under center.

Wildcats quarterback Willie Tuitama completed 19 of 25 passes for 189 yards and a touchdown. He also added 28 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown from inside the one-yard line.

Running back Nicolas Grigsby carried the ball 24 times for 103 yards. 59 of those yards came on a long touchdown run, Grigsby's lone score of the day.

Tuitama was able to spread the field and get everyone on offense involved. Freshman Juron Criner led all receivers with four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown reception. All of Criner's action came on the second drive of the game.

The Wildcats came out firing on all cylinders right off the bat.

On the very first play from scrimmage, Tuitama hit receiver Terrell Turner for a 31-yard gain to put the Wildcats in Washington territory. Two plays later, Tuitama hit tight end Rob Gronkowski for an 18 yard gain to put the Wildcats in the red zone.

Unfortunately for Arizona, the drive stalled and it had to settle for a 37-yard field goal from Jason Bondzio as the Wildcats jumped ahead early 3-0.

After Washington went three and out, Arizona got the ball back and proceeded to march right down the field for the second straight drive.

Tuitama and Criner led the drive with little resistance from the Huskies' defense. A seven-play drive was capped off by a six-yard touchdown pass from Tuitama to Criner as UA took a 10-0 lead.

Washington appeared to right the ship as Fouch led the Huskies down the field on the next drive. Assisted by a 21-yard run by freshman running back David Freeman, the Huskies moved quickly into Arizona territory, but Fouch would make a costly error in the red zone when UA safety Cam Nelson jumped the route and picked off Fouch's pass at the five-yard line.

Tuitama took the Wildcats 85 yards on 11 plays during the next drive. Tuitama capped that drive by forcing his way into the end zone on a one-yard touchdown run to give UA a 17-0 lead going into halftime.

The Huskies offense continued to be stifled by the Arizona in the second half.

Consecutive Husky possessions were ended on sacks from defensive end Apaiata Tuihalamaka and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. During those drives, Fouch completed just two passes in eight attempts and Freeman was stuffed behind the line four times.

Later in the third, Freeman broke a 26-yard run that helped Washington finally get on the board with a 45-yard field goal from kicker Ryan Perkins to make it a 17-3 game.

The Huskies would not get the ball past the 50-yard line again.

Arizona put the nail in the coffin in the fourth quarter when Grigsby broke outside and went 59 yards for the score to give UA a 24-3 lead with under four minutes to play and that's the way the game would end.

Arizona will look to redeem itself for last year's upset at the hands of Stanford next week when it travels to Palo Alto to face the Cardinal.

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