UA ready despite distractions

By Craig Degel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The rough year that 1995 has been for the Arizona football team turned downright dreadful this week when it was made public three players are being sought for questioning about two gun-related incidents over the weekend.

Despite all this, however, head coach Dick Tomey said he is confident his team will be ready for its showdown with intra-state rival Arizona State Friday.

Asked if the distractions were hurting his team, Tomey replied, "You never know."

Tomey said to make any conclusions about the investigations would be premature.

"We'll wait for the facts to emerge," Tomey said.

This season marks the 68th renewal of the series which started with an 11-2 Arizona State victory in 1899.

"A win over ASU and a winning season is something we'd really covet," Tomey said.

The series has been prone to streaks. After the 1899 win, the Sun Devils were victorious in just one of the next 21 games in the series. Then from 1963 to 1981, the Wildcats were victorious only three times. Since 1982, the Sun Devils have managed just two wins (1991 and 1992).

The two teams are at opposite ends of the football spectrum statistic-wise. Arizona is ranked first in the conference in total defense while the Sun Devils are ranked 10th.

That should benefit UA senior quarterback Dan White, who may wish he could perpetually play ASU.

"You've seen his stats," Tomey said. "His stats in this game are amazing."

Indeed they are. In two games against the Sun Devils, White has completed 70 percent of his passes (37 for 53) for 475 yards and four touchdowns. He has yet to be intercepted by a Sun Devil.

Another interesting twist on the game should be sack totals. The Wildcats have given up 31 more than any team in the conference. The Sun Devils, though, have reached the quarterback just 15 times, good for last in the conference.

With a victory over Arizona in Tempe on Friday, the 6-4 Sun Devils could find themselves in either the Liberty or the Independence bowls.

"We're on short lists of about four or five teams," Sun Devil head coach Bruce Snyder said.

Should the ASU get a bid, it would be their first since the 1987 Freedom Bowl. Arizona State won that matchup with Air Force, 33-28.

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