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No more Mr. Nice Guy


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Dan Rosen

By Dan Rosen
Arizona Daily Wildcat, September 13, 1999

The Arizona Wildcats had a 34-0 lead in the fourth quarter and looked as though they were cruising to an easy victory.

Easy and Wildcats - those two words don't go together in the same sentence.

Instead of running up the score, possibly getting the attention of the East Coast voters and a chance at the Bowl Championship Series this season, Dick Tomey and his vaunted nice guy attitude decided to be...well...nice to the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State and put in the guys that certainly don't deserve to be playing yet.

The younger players will have their days in the sun as college football players, but when we live in a day that running up the score gets you the better votes and a chance at the national championship, it is about time Tomey rolled up the sleeves and said go kill, kill, kill!

MTSU rolled up 19 points on the Wildcats in the fourth quarter and made this look like an actual game. While all of us who were there know that it was never a close contest, those voters just look at the score and the stats and say, 'hey, those Wildcats just ain't that good.'

"It doesn't matter if it is the ones, twos or threes, you just can't give up that many points to a team of this caliber," senior free safety Rafell Jones said.

Some of the offensive stats, whether it be younger guys or veterans, though, did look pretty good on paper and yes, on the field as well.

Canidate finally got his 100 yards and it took him only 30 minutes, Jenkins did a formidable job without the other head of the monster and Northcutt once again wowed the crowd and for that matter the nation with two punt returns for touchdowns, one of which counted.

When it came down to the younger guys getting their chance, whether it was a good idea or not, they did all right. Leo Mills rushed eight times for 53 yards, Larry Croom rushed four times for 23 yards, Lance Briggs rushed three times for eight yards and a touchdown, proving he could be the next Kelvin Eafon. Jason Johnson completed his only pass for 17 yards and Marvin Brown caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Not a bad showing by any means, but when Jenkins came out with 10 minutes left to go in the game, the Wildcats offense hit cruise control instead of stepping on the accelerator and blowing right past the Blue Raiders while moving up in the polls.

"I thought for three quarters it was really good and I think it deteriorated in the fourth quarter," head coach Dick Tomey said. "Obviously we need to play four quarters, but the starting group just played one series in the fourth, which was not a good series for them."

The players and coaches will tell you that the polls don't mean anything until about the seventh or eighth week. But when you beat Middle Tennessee State by only 15 points, it most definitely will be remembered later...when those polls do mean something.

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