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Homecoming upset a celebration for players, fans


By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sunday, November 6, 2005

For the Wildcat football faithful, Arizona Stadium was the site of the biggest of all of the 2005 Homecoming week celebrations.

With two minutes remaining last night and Arizona leading No. 7 UCLA 52-14, hundreds of Arizona students swarmed onto the sidelines to revel in the upset win.

And as freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama knelt to run off the final seconds, the red mob charged onto the field.

"We took (the stadium) over, and now we're taking over the whole town," said fan Kelly Peters, 24. "The Wildcats are hot like wasabi."

Senior running back Gilbert Harris finished with 114 yards on 16 carries a one touchdown, his performance just one of many highlights seen on a night Homecoming festivities reached a pitch not seen in Tucson for some time.

"To give the fans a win like this, against a top-10 team, means a lot to us and this program," Harris said.

Peters said Arizona winning in spectacular fashion in the final Homecoming appearance for its seniors was the ultimate gift for the elder Wildcats.

"(Safety) Darrell Brooks is the heart and soul of this football team, and tonight he got the win he deserves," Peters said.

The senior trio of Brooks, Harris and running back Mike Bell were drowned in a sea of red shirts on the Arizona Stadium field, as one group of fans carried Bell away on its collective shoulders.

"It was like one of those things you dream for," Bell said. "It was a blessing. I'm almost in tears."

For some Arizona alumni in attendance, the victory was the perfect capper to their return to Tucson.

"We came to see one of the greatest games in the last 10 years," said 2000 alumnus Jeff Cruechsield.

While the celebration was an expression of excitement and joy for many, it was a cause for concern for university event staff and officers with the Tucson Police Department who were on hand.

Some fans scaled the goal post in the north end zone, which is buried nearly 30 feet in the ground and reinforced by concrete, despite warnings of arrest from the public address announcer.

Nevertheless, the illegal behavior of a few was not nearly enough to deter from the overall sentiment of triumph, including that from Arizona head coach Mike Stoops, who addressed the media holding his son Colton.

"(The fans) have been by us, even when the media hasn't," he said. "Our kids have stayed positive, our staff has stayed positive, and (the fans) have stayed with it."



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