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Football: Trouble Bruin on Family Weekend?

CHRIS CODUTO/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona fullback Gilbert Harris breaks a tackle by Louisiana State cornerback Ronnie Prude during the Wildcats' loss to Los Angeles Sept. 6.
By Shane Bacon
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday October 10, 2003

Season-high crowd expected for first conference home game

Arizona football will be hosting its second Pacific 10 Conference team of 2003 tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. when UCLA heads to Tucson to face an Arizona Stadium crowd that is expected to be unusually large.

Last week, the Bruins beat 18th-ranked Washington, 46-16 in Los Angeles. They head to Tucson this week 1-0 in the Pac-10 and 3-2 overall.

The Wildcats will be playing this Saturday to a Family Weekend crowd that is expected to be the largest of the year at Arizona Stadium.

UA Freshman quarterback Kris Heavner knows that a good start will ignite the fans.

"I heard we're expecting a big crowd, so hopefully we can get something going," Heavner said. "(We need) to get some points on the board early (so) the fans will get yelling and it will be wild."

The Wildcats will take the field this week for their first home game with Mike Hankwitz at the reins.

The newly initiated head coach knows the atmosphere will be electric, but he wants his team to understand that this is a big game with even bigger outcomes if the team can notch a win.

"We're practicing better, but at some point, improving and moral victories aren't going to satisfy us," Hankwitz said. "At some point, winning and losing has to mean something, and when it starts meaning enough to you, you'll kick yourself up to the next level."

The last time these two teams met was in 2000 when the Wildcats were ranked No. 24. The Bruins slid past Arizona, 27-24, not only knocking them out of the Top 25, but also beginning the streak of 12 consecutive home conference losses that the team will try to break this weekend.

The Bruins bring to Tucson a team that has underachieved for most the season, but broke through last week against Washington, making it one of the scariest sleepers the Pac-10 has seen in awhile.

"They're good," Heavner said. "They've played some good games this year and played some tough teams. They're going to be tough, but we know we have to play our best game to get the victory."

The freshman quarterback will have a little experience complementing him in the backfield tomorrow, as senior tailback Clarence Farmer was named the starter after sophomore Beau Carr struggled in practice.

Even with the 2001 All-Pac-10 pick in the backfield, Heavner said he doesn't care what the name says on the back of the jersey, as long as the best running back takes the reps.

"It doesn't matter (who the running back is)," Heavner said. "I like all those guys and they've all taught me a lot."

The Wildcats, who are ranked dead last in total offense in Division I-A, will face a Bruin squad that is ranked 16th nationally in total defense.

"We have improved," Hankwitz said. "We're not where we want to be, but we're getting better."

The Wildcats will be looking to find that spark they had in their last home game, a 13-10 overtime loss to then-No. 17 TCU.

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