Wildcats looking to repeat magic against Washington
Two teams, the Washington Huskies and the Arizona Wildcats, will take the field tomorrow, one with destiny on their side, another with their hopes pinned on Pac-10 team losses and three consecutive wins.
The Arizona Wildcats (6-3, 3-2 in the Pacific 10 Conference) host the surging Washington Huskies (5-3, 4-1 in the Pac-10) at 1:30 p.m. in a game with Rose Bowl implications for each team.
Washington controls its own destiny in the Pac-10. If the Huskies win out, they're in the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1993.
The Wildcats, on the other hand, need a combination of opponent wins and losses. But most importantly, the team can't lose another game if they're still hoping for a trip to the Rose Bowl.
With so much at stake, the game promises to be intense and exciting.
"I can really sense the excitement of a big-time game," freshman wide receiver Bobby Wade said. "Whoever wins this has a shot at the top of the Pac, no matter how you see it."
The game is also Arizona's last home game of the season. Some of the 22 seniors playing in their final game at Arizona Stadium include Trung Canidate, Marcus Bell, DaShon Polk and Keith Smith.
UA head coach Dick Tomey expects quite an emotional last game.
"I don't think the seniors appreciate what that day is going to feel like until the game is over," Tomey said. "It's really going to be unbelievable."
The last time the two teams met, the Wildcats won on a last-second scramble by Ortege Jenkins. "The Leap by the Lake," as it was dubbed, was a staple on sports highlights shows across the nation for the entire season.
With such a close 31-28 loss at home last season, the Wildcats realize that revenge will be the primary motivating factor for the Huskies this weekend.
"It should be one of those days where you can feel the electricity in the air because you are going to have a bunch of guys on both teams giving it up for the cause," Tomey said.
Both teams are coming off impressive offensive games.
The Wildcats posted 500 yards on offense for the fifth consecutive game last weekend in a 33-7 romp over UCLA. The Huskies knocked Stanford off the top of the Pac-10 standings in a 34-31 win.
Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo combined for 509 yards in total offense against Stanford last weekend and presents a running and passing threat to a UA defense coming off, perhaps its strongest game of the season. He will have his hands full against a Wildcat defense that held the Bruins to -31 yards rushing and sacked Bruin quarterbacks nine times.
Walk-on kicker Shawn Keel brought consistency to a struggling special teams unit after nailing two field goals against UCLA. Keel was also a perfect 3-for-3 on extra points.
Trung Canidate is 162 yards away from breaking Ontiwaun Carter's all-time rushing record at the UA. After a slow start, Canidate has been on a running rampage lately, rushing for 100 yards or more in seven consecutive games.
There are a couple of key injuries on the Wildcat defense that will be a concern. UA linebacker Scooter Sprotte is listed as doubtful for the game on tomorrow. He's sat out practice this week with back spasms. Defensive tackle Keoni Frasier sprained his ankle during the UCLA game to add to his impressive injury list, which includes a broken hand suffered Oct. 23 against Oregon. He is questionable for the game as well.