Arizona scratches out win in defensive battle

The Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. Some might have seen it as a clash of egos, but Arizona coach Dick Tomey said there was nothing personal involved when two of the Pacific 10 Conference's top defensive teams met.

"Not at all, we were just trying to have the best football team out there today," Tomey said after the No. 14 Wildcats edged No. 20 Washington State, 10-7, in a game to determine Pac-10 defensive bragging rights Saturday.

"We just viewed this week's game as a tough football game between two tough teams," Tomey said.

"It seemed like they had everything going for them," he said. "The crowd noise, the weather, a strong defense, being at home and we just wanted to play the best football game we could."

Washington State coach Mike Price was more circumspect.

"We can second-guess every little play in the game," he said. "We had opportunities on offense and we didn't execute our offense and I'm real disappointed."

Steve McLaughlin's 27-yard third quarter field goal was the difference.

The Desert Swarm of Arizona (5-1 overall, 3-0 in the Pac-10) held Washington State running backs to only five yards and sacked Washington State quarterback Chad Davis eight times for 51 yards in losses.

Washington State placekicker Tony Truant missed a 44-yard field goal attempt that would have tied the game with 16 seconds remaining after Mark Fields scooped up a fumble by Wildcats tailback Ontiwaun Carter.

Washington State (4-2, 2-1 Pac-10) entered the game with the No. 1 defense against the run and held the Wildcats to 45 rushing yards, including 33 by Carter on 29 carries.

Offensively, it was a draw.

Arizona combined for 201 yards of offense, compared to 224 for the Cougars.

Wildcat quarterback Dan White completed 11 of 20 attempts for 150 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Davis completed 15 of 30 for 219 yards and a touchdown.

Washington State scored first when Davis hit flanker Albert Kennedy on a 85-yard scoring play after a personal foul penalty backed the Cougars to their own 15. Kennedy reached over Spencer Wray to grab the ball, then raced 40 yards into the end zone with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Arizona tied it early in the second quarter when White faked a run, then hit wide open Tim Thomas on a 34-yard pass down the left sideline to make it 7-7, the score at halftime.

"We just wanted to try and pass it there on third down," Tomey said. "It wasn't anything we saw from their game with Oregon, and if we didn't get it, we were going to run it on fourth down."

McLaughlin's game-winning field goal capped a drive that started when Cougars running back Frank Madu fumbled into the hands of linebacker Charlie Camp, who returned it to the Washington State 39.

The Wildcats drove to the Cougars 9 before being halted on 4-and-2.

Leading 10-7 with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter, Carter fumbled on his own 41 and Fields grabbed the ball and returned it to the Arizona 28.

After driving to the Wildcats 15, Davis was sacked for a 7-yard loss. A delay of game penalty moved the ball back 5 yards and Truant's 44-yard attempt fell short and wide left.

Afterwards, Price was seething at the penalty that cost his team a chance to tie.

"Well, 37,000 people saw it. The eleven guys on the field didn't," Price said of the play clock.

White was sacked twice by the Cougars, who had 10 sacks last week against Oregon.

Arizona missed a chance to add to the score late in the second quarter when a 57-yard field goal attempt by McLaughlin fell short.

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