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Errors hound Cats in letdown loss

Chris Coduto/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Arizona junior wide receiver Syndric Steptoe sits dejected on the bench as time expires during the second half of the Wildcats' game against Washington on Saturday. The Huskies defeated Arizona 38-14 for their first Pac-10 win of the season.
By Charles Renning
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, November 14, 2005
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Huskies reel off 24 unanswered second-half points in mauling of turnover-prone Wildcats

Success in the areas that contributed to the Arizona football team's wins the last two weeks didn't show up Saturday night in the Wildcats' 38-14 loss to Washington at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona (3-7, 2-5 Pacific 10 Conference) turned the ball over five times, lost the line-of-scrimmage battle, got outrushed and freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama finally looked like a freshman.

"We just had no answer all night. We got beat up and down the field," said Arizona head coach Mike Stoops. "We got outplayed and outcoached. It's pretty simple. They physically beat us up front."

The Huskies went on a 31-0 run over the final 21:09 to snap their 14-game Pac-10 losing streak and prevent Arizona from winning three straight games for the first time since 2001.

Washington (2-8, 1-6 Pac-10) used a career-high 200-yard performance from senior running back James Sims and racked up 333 yards on the ground to dominate both the Wildcats and the game.

"When a team runs the ball on somebody, it's just really hard to stop it," said sophomore linebacker Spencer Larsen. "It kills the crowd, it kills the momentum. It's tough. If you can't stop the run, a lot of things go bad for you."

On the flip side, the Wildcats could never establish any kind of rushing attack, gaining just 87 yards a week after going for 315 against UCLA.

Arizona-14, Washington-38

Score by quarter
Washington (2-8, 1-6)
1st: 7, 2nd: 7, 3rd: 14, 4th: 10, Final: 38
Arizona (3-7, 2-5)
1st: 7, 2nd: 7, 3rd: 0, 4th: 0, Final: 14

Offensive stats
Washington Passing Yards: 157 Rushing Yards: 333
QB Isaiah Stanbeck: 10-of-19, 157 yards, touchdown, interception; 14 carries, 96 yards, two touchdowns
RB James Sims: 30 carries, 200 yards, touchdown

Arizona Passing Yards: 235 Rushing Yards: 87
QB Willie Tuitama: 22-of-41, 235 yards, two touchdowns, three interceptions
WR Syndric Steptoe: five catches, 80 yards, touchdown

Defensive Stats
LB Evan Benjamin: 10 tackles (2.5 for loss), interception, sack
CB Roy Lewis: four tackles, interception, touchdown

ArizonaS Darrell Brooks: 12 tackles (3 for loss), two sacks

"It was like they knew exactly what we were doing. Every time, it seemed they were blitzing right into the right gaps and really put a hole in our run game," said senior running back Mike Bell, who finished with 37 yards on 16 carries.

Tuitama didn't help matters, accounting for five turnovers on two fumbles and three interceptions.

"I just couldn't get it done," said Tuitama, who was 22-of-41 for 235 yards and two touchdowns. "I put the loss on my shoulders because I'm the one out there trying to lead the team. I've just got to work even harder these next two weeks to get ready for ASU."

"This was a great learning experience for Willie," Stoops said. "You're going to have bad games. He got confused and made young errors."

The Huskies turned those five turnovers into 21 points, including an interception returned for a touchdown by Roy Lewis in the fourth quarter to close out the game's scoring.

"We were very fortunate and lucky this game," said Washington head coach Tyrone Willingham. "I knew we couldn't make mistakes and we didn't."

The turning point came on the final play of the first half, with Arizona leading 14-7 and the Huskies on their own 31-yard line.

Washington quarterback Isaiah Stanback threw a 69-yard Hail Mary pass to receiver Chris Chambers as time expired, and Washington knotted the score heading into the locker room.

"We hadn't played well up to that point, but had fought to a 14-7 lead, and that took all the momentum," Stoops said.

The Wildcats' only two scores came in the first half, when they opened the game with a five-play, 66-yard drive on their first possession.

Tuitama capped it with a 17-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Syndric Steptoe, who finished with five catches for 80 yards.

Arizona took a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter when Tuitama found senior running back Gilbert Harris in the flat for a 3-yard touchdown strike.

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