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Bears downed: UA routs UCLA 52-14

Claire C. LaurenceArizona Daily Wildcat
55,775 fans packed Arizona Stadium on Saturday night to watch Arizona upset No. 14 UCLA 52-14. Students began storming the field during the final minutes of the blowout to celebrate the Homecoming victory.
By Kyle Kensing
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 7, 2005
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Zona Zoo goes wild, storms field in upset

Arizona Stadium was the site of the largest 2005 Homecoming week celebration for faithful Wildcat football fans.

With two minutes remaining in Saturday night’s football game and Arizona leading No. 14 UCLA 52-14, hundreds of UA students hopped the barricades and joined the team on the sidelines to revel in the upset win.

“This is one of the best fan games ever,” said senior defensive end Copeland Bryan. “It was great to hear them calling out ‘five seconds, four seconds’ when the clock was running down. They just really got into the game and helped us out.”

Claire C. Laurence/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Senior offensive lineman John Abramo, right, celebrates with junior tight end Brad Wood after Wood’s first-quarter touchdown.

Arizona’s Zona Zoo section counted down the game’s last minutes, cheering from the sidelines and singing choppy, yet exuberant, renditions of “Bear Down, Arizona.”

As freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama knelt to run off the final seconds, the red swarm charged onto the field.

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

Arizona Stadium became a full mob scene, as scores of spectators covered the field.

“It was exciting, but I was a little scared,” said junior safety Marcus Hollingsworth with a laugh. “I ran off the field before they got started.”

For many on the Arizona roster, Saturday’s win was a way of showing the team’s appreciation.

“To give the fans a win like this, against a top-10 team, means a lot to us and this program,” said senior running back Gilbert Harris, of the then-No. 7 Bruins.

Harris finished with 113 yards on 16 carries and one touchdown. His performance was just one of many highlights on a night where Homecoming festivities reached a pitch not seen in Tucson for some time.

Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
A Homecoming reveler basks in the light at Friday night’s bonfire.

Peters said winning was the ultimate gift for the seniors on the team, who were able to finish their final Homecoming appearance in spectacular fashion.

“(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 among those drowned in a sea of red shirts on the Arizona Stadium field, as one group of fans carried Bell away on its shoulders.

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

For some UA alumni in attendance, the victory was the perfect cap to their return to Tucson.

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

Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Members of the Chain Gang Junior Honorary cheer out the windows of a school bus during the Homecoming Parade around the UA Mall on Saturday afternoon. About 100 organizations participated in the parade.

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

Members of the Pima County Police Department, TPD, University of Arizona Police Department and event security attempted to block the goal posts at their base, but were unsuccessful.

Some fans scaled the goal post in the north end zone to try and tear it down, despite warnings from the public address announcer of possible arrests or bodily harm. The goal posts are buried nearly 30 feet in the ground and reinforced with concrete.

Taylor House/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Members of the UA colorguard celebrate at the Alumni Plaza during Friday evening’s Homecoming bonfire. The event featured a rock concert, fireworks and a pep rally.

A student from the University of Minnesota-Morris died two weeks ago in a similar effort to tear down a goal post.

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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