By Eric Wein
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Incomplete passes. Penalties. No-gain running plays. Sacks.
Whatever it was that caused Arizona to stumble once it got into California territory on Saturday night, chances of the UA offense actually scoring a touchdown appeared virtually nonexistent for the second consecutive week.
But although the Wildcat offense proved to be just as futile as it was against Oregon in a 10-9 loss last week, the Wildcats were able to pull out a much-needed win over an opponent Arizona coach Dick Tomey's teams have beaten just twice in eight tries.
Tomey had no problem accepting the 13-6 win over Cal before 58,374 fans at Arizona Stadium during Homecoming.
"That's the way we coach, we try to win," Tomey said. "We haven't been able to beat those guys so I don't care how we do it."
Arizona (7-2 overall, 5-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference) was able to move somewhat with quarterback Dan White (12 of 19, 141 yards) and tailback Ontiwaun Carter (83 yards on 22 carries) fulfilling their usual roles. But nothing resembled anything close to a touchdown.
"It's a case of execution," White said. "One thing after another seems to go wrong. It shouldn't happen."
Carter's effort helped him eclipse 1,000 season rushing yards, the first time he has achieved this mark at the UA. He is just seven yards short of becoming Arizona's top career rusher, but that was of little concern to him.
"We're not getting it done on offense right now. That's my concern," Carter said. "We have good players and we are good, we're just not showing it. It's hard to keep making up excuses."
However, Arizona still has its heralded defense, which held the Golden Bears throughout the game as Sean Harris led with 16 tackles and Jim Hoffman chipped in a pair of sacks on Cal's last drive.
The closest the UA offense got to scoring was the 22. If anything, at least when the Wildcats are within the 40, they can get some points courtesy of Steve McLaughlin's right leg.
McLaughlin kicked two first-half field goals, including a career-long 54-yarder.
But he uncharacteristically missed a couple field goals in the second half.
"You can't be perfect every week," McLaughlin said. "The thing is it could have hurt us if Cal would have scored. It's not something you take nonchalant. It's a big deal and we needed those kicks."
The Bears' offense was closer
to scoring than Arizona's. On a second-quarter drive, Cal quarterback Pat Barnes dove and put the ball over the goal line but officials ruled him down at the 2.
"It's the same old deal, when you have these kinds of seasons you just don't seem to ever get a break," Cal coach Keith Gilbertson said. "That obviously fit into that category."
A few plays later, Arizona turned the game around on a huge play by cornerback Mike Scurlock.
From the Wildcats' 2-yard line, Barnes pitched to tailback Tyrone Edwards who rolled to his right and stopped. Edwards then lofted a wobbly pass in the direction of Barnes who had run to the far left. As the ball hung in the air, Scurlock jumped in front of Barnes for an interception and sprinted 97 yards for a touchdown.
"I got so tired," Scurlock said of his dash. "I was just praying to God I could get there."
But replays showed Scurlock had stepped out at Cal's 12 before reaching the end zone.
"I got pushed out of bounds?" a surprised Scurlock said when he was told. "Well, it was a touchdown wasn't it? I could care less."
So somehow Arizona, which is now ranked 13th in the AP Top 25, is still within reach of going to the Rose Bowl. Now in a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-10, the Wildcats need to beat a tough Southern Cal team next week and then wrap up their schedule by beating Arizona State while hoping that Oregon loses to win the conference outright.
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