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Cats lose Cup on late field goal


Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, November 26, 2005

The Arizona football team failed to hold off Arizona State yesterday despite a 15-point second-half lead, losing 23-20 in Sun Devil Stadium.

Arizona State kicker Jesse Ainsworth kicked a 20-yard, game-winning field goal with six seconds remaining to grant ASU (6-5, 4-4 Pacific 10 Conference) not only repossesion of the Territorial Cup, but also a berth in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix.

Senior running back Mike Bell rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries in his final game in a Wildcat uniform, but missed most of the second half with a leg bruise.

His 952 yards on the ground this season were a career high and put him in fourth place on Arizona's all-time rushing list.

Rudy Burgess carried seven times for 43 yards on the game-winning possession, including a 16-yard run to the Wildcats' one-yard line. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter fell to the ground on the next play to set up Ainsworth's kick. 

Freshman quarterback Willie Tuitama completed 19 of his first 24 passes before throwing an interception early in the fourth quarter, with the Wildcats (3-8, 2-6) leading 20-12.

Tuitama fell hard on his throwing shoulder on the play after being slammed to the turf. He did not return, finishing with 194 passing yards and a touchdown.

ASU soon capitalized when Terry Richardson ran a Nick Folk punt 71 yards for his second return touchdown of the season.

Carpenter threw a quick pass to tight end Zach Miller on the ensuing play to get the two-point conversion and tie the game at 20.

Folk kicked a 46-yard field goal with 8:01 left in the third quarter to give Arizona a 20-5 lead. Subsequent injuries to Bell and Tuitama stifled the Wildcats' offense and forced backup quarterback Richard Kovalcheck to see his first significant action in five weeks.

Junior wide receiver Syndric Steptoe had game highs of 11 catches for 128 yards.

Freshman wideout Mike Thomas, the Wildcats' leading receiver who broke his hand during a 38-14 loss to Washington Nov. 12, did not get a reception.

Arizona finishes with three wins for the second straight year under head coach Mike Stoops, who led the Wildcats to a 34-27 win over ASU last season at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats are 44-34-1 all-time against the Sun Devils.

Information taken from The Associated Press.

 

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