Schmidtke shines in debut

By Eric Wein

Arizona Daily Wildcat

ATLANTA Kevin Schmidtke was pondering when his first big chance would come in college football as he sat through high school classes last spring.

Last night, he found out.

In his first game at Arizona, the former Mountain View tailback did what every Tucsonan football player dreams of he scored the Wildcats' go-ahead touchdown, a six-yard blast up the middle to complete Arizona's 19-14 come-from-behind win.

"It was a lot better than high school," Schmidtke said. "There's a lot more excitement. It means a little more."

With Ontiwaun Carter still adjusting to full contact because of missed practice time and backup Gary Taylor nursing a sore shoulder, Schmidtke was called upon to pick up the slack. He answered in the Wildcats' final drive with six straight carries, culminating in his touchdown jaunt.

"We were just trying to get in good position for a field goal," Schmidtke said. "I was cutting back all game. On that play, they flowed too much and I just walked in."

The true freshman had 92 yards on 17 carries in his debut.

"He's going to be a great back," UA coach Dick Tomey said. "He just saw something and burst through there. He did a tremendous job."

Unfazed by the magnitude of his performance, Schmidtke gave credit to the offensive line.

The linemen were as quick to heap praise on the rookie running back.

"I was really impressed," Hicham El-Mashtoub said. "It's obvious he knows how to find the holes."

Despite becoming a sudden hero, Schmidtke dwelled more on the vast differences between high school and college football.

"The thing that impressed me the most was the fans and how loud and exciting the game was," Schmidtke said. "It's different when you get on the field. It's hard to hear."

He didn't know he would get that many chances because he felt he made too many mistakes recently in practice.

As far as assessing his performance, Schmidtke held back from self-accolades for the time being.

"When we watch the films on Saturday, I'll probably see what I did wrong," Schmidtke said.

In all likelihood, there won't be much to see.

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