Offense improved in spring finale

Late pick by Cason helps defense.

Arizona's offense scuffled a bit in the two previous scrimmages but rebounded in a 29-20 victory over the defense in the final spring scrimmage.

Using a modified scoring system that rewarded big plays and big stops in addition to scores. The offense scored a pair of touchdowns and added a two field goals and a single play over 25 yards.

The defense countered with eight three and outs and an interception late in the game to earn their 20 points.

Willie Tuitama was much sharper than he was two weeks ago. He led the offense to both of their touchdown drives and passed for 145 yards on 10-21 passing. He did throw a late pick to Antoine Cason.

The offense actually got it started in the opening drive. They converted a key third and short, followed it up with a long pass play to Syndric Steptoe and concluded the drive with a nine-yard Chris Henry run.

Steptoe led all receivers with 61 yards on three catches.

Tuitama's legs actually led to the second touchdown. The sophomore passer avoided the rush, rolled to his left and heaved a 30 yard scoring strike to Mike Thomas in the endzone.

"We work on those drills," said offensive coordinator Mike Canales. "Step up, pocket closes, get out and keep your eyes down the field and throw the ball." Nick Folk got to show off his leg a little bit. With a nice wind gusting behind him, the Wildcat kicker knocked a line-drive, 62-yarder that had enough leg to be good from at least 5-10 yards further.

Head coach Mike Stoops actually mentioned last week that they had confidence in Folk's leg from 65 with a "good wind behind him".

The running game was not overly impressive. All told Wildcat running backs picked up just 51 yards. Chris Henry got the bulk of the work, carrying the ball 11 times for 3.4 yards. Xavier Smith picked up just 16 yards on six rushes.

The offensive line played better than they did the week before. They surrendered just four sacks and limited penalties. They bought all the quarterbacks plenty of time.

The defense was solid for the most part. Although they gave up the two touchdowns, the second was a bit of a broken play. For the most part they limited big plays, just one over 25 yards, and tackled pretty well after the first drive.

NOTES:

*A handful of players were held out of action including B.J. Dennard, Wilrey Fontenot, Adam Hawes, Ryan Kilpatrick and Paul Phillip.

*A number of signed recruits watched the game including Ricky Elmore, Cory Elmore, Colin Baxter, Conan Amituanai, Glyndon Bolasky, Brooks Reed and A.J. Simmons.

*It was alumni weekend and there were a number of former players on hand including Darrell Brooks, Keith Smith, David Adams and Glen Parker to name a few.  

Statistics (courtesy Arizona Sports Information)

 

PASSING (17-43-213yds, TD, INT):

Tuitama 10-21-145yds, TD; Austin: 5-19-45yds, INT; Heavner 2-3-23yds

 

RUSHING (19-51yds – sacks not included)

C. Henry 11-34yds, TD, X. Smith 6-16yds, Heavner 1-1yd; T. Longbons 1-0yds

 

RECEIVING:

A. Johnson 4-38yds; Steptoe 3-61yds; Thomas 3-55yds, TD; McCall 2-17yds, Richards 1-16yds, Henry 1-12yds; Argos 1-5yds; X. Smith 1-4yds

 

KICKING:

Folk: FGs: 1-1 (62yds); PATs 2-2

 

PUNTING (No Returns):

McQuown: 9-383, Ave: 42.5, Long: 57

 

TACKLES

Palmer – 4; Larsen – 3.5; Ortiz – 2.5; Patrick – 2; Cason – 2; Kelley – 2; M. Smith – 2; Turner – 2; Barnett – 2; Dotson – 2; Hollingsworth – 2; Mosely – 1.5; Tatum – 1.5; Hall – 1.5; R. Parker – 1.5; Johnson – 1; Rodriguez – 1; Bertrand – 1; J. Parker – 1; Austin – 1; Alford – 0.5

 

SACKS (4)

Barnett – 1; M. Smith – 1; Turner – 1; Dotson - 1

 

TACKLES FOR LOSS (5):

Barnett – 1; M. Smith – 1; Turner – 1; Dotson - 1

 

INTERCEPTIONS (1):

Cason – 1

 

PASSES BROKEN UP (5):

 

Shelton – 2; Cason – 2; Patrick – 1; J. Parker – 1; Kelley – 1; G. Rodriguez -1; Krogstad -1; Johnson – 1; Mosely -1

 

PENALTIES:

 

Offense: 3-15yds

Defense: 1-15yds

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