Game Analysis: 'We were our own worst enemy'

By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 17, 2005

Miscues keep Wildcats winless in conference

The Arizona football team beat Stanford in nearly every statistical category Saturday night.

Total yards, 271-195. First downs, 17-11. Time of possession and third-down conversions? Advantage Cats.

The problem was they also topped the Cardinal in turnovers, 5-0, and that caused the Wildcats to lose to the Cardinal in the only category that counts - the final score.

Arizona (1-5, 0-3) dropped its third consecutive Pacific 10 Conference game this season to Stanford, and it was those five turnovers that kept the Wildcats out of the Pac-10 win column.

"I think we got just a little too impatient and try to make too many things happen," said senior running back Mike Bell, who ended the day with 88 yards on 21 carries. "We were our own worst enemy."

Stanford was able to convert three Arizona turnovers into 13 points, and all three of those scoring drives lasted no more than five plays and no more than 35 yards.

"Any time you turn the ball over (five) times and get no turnovers ourselves and still have an opportunity to win, it's very disappointing," said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops.

Arizona's first turnover came early in the second quarter, when redshirt sophomore quarterback Richard Kovalcheck was sacked by defensive lineman Udeme Udofia, causing the ball to squirt out of Kovalcheck's hands, only to be pounced on by a Stanford defender.

Five plays and 22 yards later, the Cardinal got on the scoreboard with a 37-yard Michael Sgroi field goal.

"Offensively, we continue to struggle for whatever reason and our execution, turning the ball over and penalties, (is) very disappointing," Stoops said. "We're better than that, but for whatever reason we can't find our rhythm."

The Wildcats had two more turnovers while driving for scores in the second quarter - a fumble by freshman receiver Mike Thomas while he was fighting for more yards after a catch, and a Kovalcheck interception that resulted in a Trent Edwards touchdown pass.

Edwards, who finished the game 16-of-26 for 137 yards with two scores and no interceptions, found running back Anthony Kimble on a 10-yard slant in the end zone to put their team up 10-7 going into halftime.

"We just don't do things good enough to win," Stoops said. "In critical situations, we turn the ball over," Stoops said.

Arizona outgained Stanford 188-97 in the first half and held a 10-minute advantage in time of possession, but the giveaways put the Wildcats in a hole.

"We just have to have the composure, the discipline and the maturity to overcome that," said sophomore linebacker Spencer Larsen.

Kovalcheck fumbled after taking a sack in the third quarter, which led to another Sgroi field goal, and a pass was intercepted a stanza later on fourth-and-long.

"We're just falling short in some areas. That's just how it is," Stoops said. "Sometimes you go backwards before you go forward."