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Race for Heisman starts early

Jacob Konst/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Microbiology freshman Justin Harris and business freshman Zach Tauber play NCAA Football Challenge yesterday afternoon on the UA Mall for a chance to travel to New York for the Heisman award weekend in December and play for $10,000.
By Anthony Tarnowski
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 30, 2005
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Freshman wins trip to New York in EA video game tourney

Get those thumbs ready - it's football season.

Video game giant Electronic Arts Sports visited the UA Mall yesterday afternoon, touting a series of Xbox booths and showcasing the Heisman Trophy as part of the EA Sports NCAA Football Challenge 2005.

While the Wildcats' football season doesn't begin until Friday, 121 UA students showed up to test their skills in the new game NCAA Football 2006 and compete for a trip to New York City and a chance to win $10,000.

The UA is the first of 16 stops in the competition. Other campuses include perennial football powerhouses Virginia Tech, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida State and Texas.

EA Sports product manager Kendall Boyd said that Arizona's campus life and the new attitude surrounding the football team were reasons for stopping in Tucson.

"(Football head coach Mike) Stoops has been good," Boyd said. "You could really see the improvement in the defense last year and definitely the attitude."

The favorite teams to play with yesterday were Texas, Ohio State and Southern California.

Junior Will Woods, who said he was invited to try out for the Arizona football team this season, used the Wildcats as his team in the challenge

"I won 28-0 with Arizona. ... I got that team spirit," he said.

The final game featured two freshmen, both of whom used defending national champion USC.

I won 28-0 with Arizona ... I got that team spirit. - Will Woods, junior


Tyler Moore beat the last player to register, Erik Ratford, 49-42, winning the trip to New York City during Heisman Trophy award weekend Dec. 8 and 9.

In a spectacular display of virtual offense, Moore jumped out to a 14-0 lead after scoring two touchdowns with Trojan running back Reggie Bush in the first 55 seconds.

Moore's Bush scored five touchdowns in the game, as a crowd of about 30 students watched USC's No. 5 run all over the field for both players.

Ratford managed to make a late charge, recovering a fumble on the 1-yard line. He scored a touchdown to bring himself within seven points of the lead, but Moore held on for the victory.

Moore said after the game that he planned to use the Trojans in the finals, set for Dec. 9 in the Big Apple.

"They're the best in the game," he said.

Students wandered by throughout the afternoon to watch the games played out on a row of Xbox consoles lined up along the Mall, as well as to cheer on friends.

The main attraction, however, was a chance to catch a glimpse of the Heisman.

One of five Heisman trophies owned by the NCAA will travel across the country in a glass case to be displayed during the challenges.

Students took pictures with the 88-pound trophy, which is given out every year to the most outstanding player in college football.

In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, the winner at the finals in New York City will be a guest at the Heisman award presentation dinner and have the chance to meet the many former Heisman winners that return every year for the ceremony.

Even though he's not really playing with the Wildcats, Arizona will be cheering for Moore on Dec. 9 in New York City.

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