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Wildcats call off rout
Stoops mercifully spares Ty a fourth-quarter bludgeoning
Rich Linde, 5 October 2008

Behind the throwing of Willie Tuitama and the catching of Ron Gronkowski, Arizona beat winless Washington, 48-14, at Arizona Stadium in Tucson on Saturday night.

Nic Grigsby ran for 113 yards and a touchdown, while Willie Tuitama completed 17 of 21 passes for 193 yards and threw three touchdown passes for the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0).

Compared to the Wildcats, the hapless Huskies (0-5, 0-3) appeared slow on both sides of the ball, sorely lacking some speedy playmakers that can make a difference.

Substituting freely, coach Mike Stoops of Arizona called off the rout after the Wildcats took a 41-7 lead in the third quarter. Arizona made the score 48-7 at the :38 second mark in the third quarter, as a result of six-straight running plays starting from its 30.

With a legion of substitutes and just running plays, Arizona chewed up 12:14 on the clock to the Huskies' 2:46 in the fourth quarter. The Huskies took advantage of Stoops' quality of mercy and recorded a fourth-quarter touchdown on a 20-yard pass from Ronnie Fouch to TE Michael Gottlieb.

In the absence of Jake Locker, lost 6 to 8 weeks with a broken right thumb, Fouch, making his debut as a starter for UW, completed 12 of 28 passes that went for 181 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception, the Huskies suffering their first pick of the year. His passing-efficiency rating for the game was 101.80, and is 116.54 on the season.

The Dawgs got their first sack of the season, dumping Tuitama 3 times, in all, for 22 yards -- these due to the courtesy of speedy defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim.

Aided by a following wind, kicker Jared Ballman posted 2 touchbacks, bringing his total to 6 this season. Last season, he recorded just 1 touchback.

The game resolved itself quickly.

The Huskies started the game with a three and out, with Ballman punting 20 yards into a strong wind. Jason Bondzio ended Arizona's following drive with a 29-yard field goal to give the 'Cats a 3-0 lead at 10:47 in the first quarter.

Running back Willie Griffin fumbled the ball away on the Huskies' next possession to their own 36. Aided by Te'o-Nesheim's first sack of the night, Washington's defense forced Arizona to punt the ball away, a punt downed at the Huskies' 5-yard line.

The Huskies then went three-and-out once more and punted the ball away to their own 40.

After a three-yard completion, Tuitama connected with Gronkowski on a 37-yard touchdown play. Gronkowski, who was running at full speed towards the middle of the field when he brought the ball in, easily outran Washington's slow secondary, who left him untouched.

Playing tight end, Gronkowski (6-foot-6, 250) appears to be a shoo-in for the next level. On the night, Gronkowski -- make that Groan-kowski from the Dawgs' standpoint -- caught 5 balls for 109 yards and 3 touchdowns.

At the end of the first quarter, Grigsby put Washington away with a 4-yard touchdown run, and it was 17-zip, 'Cats, going into the second quarter.

Less mobile than Locker, Fouch (photo above) had a number of passes batted down. His P. E. on the game was much like Locker's has been, so it's hard to say he's a better passer than Locker, at least with a resounding yes. He's probably a more accurate thrower.

Grigsby (5-foot-10, 178) helped buttress the notion that relative small backs are getting the job done better against the spread than larger running backs.

In the fourth quarter, UW's defense knew the Wildcats would run on every play, but seemed helpless to stop them. The 'Cats reeled off 18-straight running plays.

On their last drive of the game, with 8:33 left on the clock, the Wildcats drove 68 yards on 13 consecutive running plays, going from their own 20 to the Huskies' 12, where backup quarterback Matt Scott took two knees to end the game.

Soap box:

The UW team is so bad, it's hard to tell whether it is quitting on the coaching staff or not. The rebuilding job is immense.

The Huskies own the nation's longest losing streak, at seven in a row. Willingham is now 11-30 over his stay with the Huskies.

in his second and third years at Washington, Willingham kept himself afloat using a cadre of players left over from the Rick Neuheisel era, while failing to add meaningful depth to the squad. He went 5-7 in 2006, with the aid of 35 of Neuheisel's players and was a Liz franc injury away from going to a bowl. Now, all of them are gone, except for Center Juan Garcia.

The laissez–faire  attitude of a few Neuheisel recruits apparently disgusted the disciplined Willingham. Ironically, he was befuddled by a couple of his own cast, expecting their 100% commitment to the team.

His firing of Kent Baer, a 13-year associate, adds a sorrowful twist to Willingham's legacy. Known to be extremely loyal to his assistants, the appearance of Baer's ghostly vision at night must haunt Tyrone like Hamlet's father. Apparitions appear at places conscience fears to tread, Hamlet might have said.

Now the look of sanguinity on the faces of his minions have been replaced by dejection. The starry twinkle of expectation has given way to a vapid stare, for it becomes harder with each loss to look the coaching staff straight in the eye.

Diminishing stadium attendance will hasten the coach's exodus, regardless of what Scott Woodward says.

A new coaching staff, if that should occur in December, will need to recruit California better than the current one has and bring in more athletes out of the sunshine state. Think Oregon and Oregon State. Also, they will need to bring in a quality JC transfer for the defensive line, these notions among other emergency issues coming to mind. 

In my mind, California athletes are half a star better than those from the state of Washington, assuming they carry the same ranking on dawgman.com. UW needs a head coach familiar with California recruiting, and not one necessarily associated with the Don James era. 

Next time around, bring in a capable, hungry, young coach, hopefully fired from his last job, who has the work ethic of a Jeff Tedford, with a refrigerator and sleeping bag in his office and a loyal wife and young daughters to feed at home -- like Jim Owens had. Pay him "peanuts" and make him earn his raises over the next five years of his contract by winning and steering his players along the road to graduation. He needs a gift of gab, charisma and fund-raising skills. He needs to leap to the fore when called to attention, but be his own man when the chips are on the line. He needs to donate his time to the present to provide for his family's future. When he retires he can learn to play golf.              

If Notre Dame fired Willingham because he wasn't performing on Saturdays, why did former AD Todd Turner hire him and pay him over $1.4 million per year?

Answer: In my opinion, Turner wanted to clean up Washington's act and keep Myles Brand and his cohorts from the NCAA, who were dogging the Dawgs, at bay. Honest, almost to a fault, the solid, stoic Willingham was sure to run a tight ship.

Hiring a more dynamic, successful coach would have led to the implication that UW was out of control and still headed on the ruinous path of big-time college football because of what had happened in June 2003.

Before Willingham's hiring in December 2004, the NCAA had overreacted to Neuheisel's auction incident, scaring the hell out of the UW, seemingly on a vendetta, allied with the media, to get Rick in June 2003.

Its impetuousness, without gathering all the facts, cost itself $2.5 million and UW approximately $2.2 million. Entering an outdated bylaw into discovery is one for the books. This led to the settlement in Neuheisel's wrongful termination lawsuit against the UW and NCAA in January 2005.

Team 1 2 3 4 Total
UW 0 7 0 7 14
AU 17 14 17 0 48

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
10:47 UA FG Jason Bondzio 29-yard boot. UA, 3-0
7:10 UA TD Willie Tuitama 37-yard pass to Ron Gronkowski; Bondzio kick. UA, 10-0
0:00 UA TD Nic Grigsby 4-yard run; Bondzio run. UA, 17-0
2nd qtr
11:55 UW TD Paul Homer 1-yard run; Ryan Perkins kick. UA, 17-7
8:13 UA TD Mike Thomas 48-yard punt return; Bondzio kick. UA, 24-7
3:58 UA TD Tuitama 9-yard pass to Gronkowski; Bondzio kick. UA, 31-7
3rd qtr
10:50 UA TD Tuitama 8-yard pass to Gronkowski; Bondzio kick. UA, 38-7
5:42 UA FG Bondzio 49-yard boot. UA, 41-7
:38 UA TD Smith 2-yard run; Bondzio kick. UA, 48-7
4th qtr
8:33 UW TD Fouch 20-yard pass to Michael Gottlieb; Perkins kick. UA, 48-14


Statistic UW UA
Total First Downs 12 28
  Rushing 4 18
  Passing 8 8
  Penalty 0 2
Total Net Yards 244 449
Net Yards Passing 181 193
Net Yards Rushing 63 256
Completions-att-int 12-28-1 17-21-0
Punts, yards, average 8-287; 35.9 3-111; 37.0
Sacks by (number, yards) 3-22 1-6
Kickoff Returns: number, yds, tds 3-36-0 0-0-0
Punt returns: number, yds, tds 1-0-0 1-48-1
Kickoff Yards 3-185 9-597
Touchbacks (kickoffs) 2 5
Interception returns: no., yds, tds 0-0-0 1-4-0
Penalties Yards 3-31 1-10
Fumbles: number/lost 3-1 0-0
Time of Possession  23:48 36:12

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Willie Tuitama 17 21 193 3 0
Matt Scott 0 0 0 0 0
Ronnie Fouch 12 28 181 1 1
Wildcats Rushing No. Yds TDs Long  
Nic Grigsby 14 113 1 35  
Matt Scott 6 58 0 36  
Xavier Smith 7 36 1 11  
Nick Booth 5 33 0 10  
Keola Antolin 12 33 0 6  
Bryson Beirne 1 4 0 4  
Team 4 -5 0 0  
Willie Tuitama 2 -16 0 0  
Washington Rushing No. yds tds long
Terrance. Dailey 6 18 0 8  
Ronnie Fouch 3 1 0 5  
Willie Griffin 3 21 0 12  
Paul Homer 1 1 1 1  
Jordan Polk 1 -5 0 0  
Brandon Johnson 13 35 0 5  
Team 1 -8 0 0  
UA Pass Receiving No. yds tds long
Ron Gronkowski 5 109 3 37
Mike Thomas 3 26 0 20  
Delashaun Dean 3 16 0 8  
Terrell Turner 2 25 0 20  
Brandon Lopez 1 12 0 12  
Xavier Smith 1 6 0 6  
A. J. Simmons 1 4 0 4  
Keola Antolin 1 -5 0 0  
Washington Pass Rec. No. yds tds long
Charles Hawkins 3 33 0 15  
Michael Gotlieb 1 20 1 20  
Jermaine Kearse 1 62 0 62  
Tony Chidiac 3 31 0 15  
Devin Aguilar 4 35 0 10  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Keenyn Crier 3 111 45 37.0
Jared Ballman 8 287 60 35.9  
Attendance: 55,624                   

Richard Linde, aka Malamute can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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