By Brett Fera
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Sunday, October 24, 2004
The UA football team hoped a lineup change would spark the Wildcats (1-6, 0-4 Pacific 10 Conference) to an upset-victory this week over No. 7 California (5-1, 3-1), but it was the usual suspects for the Golden Bears that paced them to a 38-0 victory Saturday at Arizona Stadium.
UA redshirt freshman Richard Kovalcheck completed 13 of 32 pass attempts for 159 yards and an interception in the loss, the first time the Wildcats have been shut out all season.
“I thought Richard as OK,” UA head coach Mike Stoops said after Kovalcheck’s first career start under center. “Our passing game still drastically needs to improve for us to make progress.”
UA offensive coordinator Mike Canales did say that Kovalcheck did enough to earn his second career start next week when the Wildcats host Oregon State.
Kovalcheck’s counterpart, golden-armed Golden Bear Aaron Rodgers, was an efficient 20 of 27 passing for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including one to wideout Geoff McArthur.
The 11-yard touchdown strike allowed McArthur to become Cal’s all-time leader in receiving yardage, with 2,768 yards.
McArthur caught six passes for 94 yards on the day.
Rodgers did toss two interceptions however, both on deflected passes that were picked off by Arizona freshman cornerback Antoine Cason, bringing his season total to three.
The interceptions were the Wildcats’ first since they notched three in their season opener, a 21-7 victory over Northern Arizona.
“This season is not over,” Cason said of the second consecutive year the Wildcat have started with a 1-6 record. “We can still win some games.”
Cal running back J.J. Arrington added 135 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, while Wildcat tailback Mike Bell fell just short of tallying his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, finishing with 99 yards on 17 carries.
Arizona completes a two-game homestand next Saturday when it takes on Oregon State at Arizona Stadium as part of homecoming festivities on the UA campus.