Thursday, October 11, 2018

Three And Out: Arizona Heads to the SLC to Face Utah on Friday Night

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2018 at 3:56 PM

Shawn Poindexter snags an onside kick attempt in the waning seconds of Arizona's 24-17 win over Cal on Saturday, Oct. 6. - CHRISTOPHER BOAN
  • Christopher Boan
  • Shawn Poindexter snags an onside kick attempt in the waning seconds of Arizona's 24-17 win over Cal on Saturday, Oct. 6.

Welcome the wildest and wackiest of weeks, better known as the strange sensation that is Friday night Pac-12 football.

The Arizona Wildcats (3-3, 2-1) are tasked with recovering from their hard-earned 24-17 win over Cal last Saturday, with the reward of playing a solid Utah Utes squad that just beat Stanford by 19 points in Palo Alto.

The 'Cats and Utes will engage in some on-field shenanigans on Friday night, thanks to the conference's television rights deal with ESPN.

The Utes (3-2, 1-2) are no stranger to playing on Fridays, having beaten the Wildcats in Tucson last year, 30-24, on a Friday night in October.

The two teams have played 41 times in total, dating back to the prehistoric Rocky Mountain Conference in 1936.

The two have been remarkable even through the 82-year series, with the Utes leading the all-time split, 20-19-2, while winning each of their last two contests against the Wildcats.

Friday's game looks to be just as competitive, thanks to the Utes shutdown defense, which ranks 2nd in the conference in points allowed (17.2) and first overall in yards per game allowed (296.4).

The Wildcats, meanwhile, have looked pretty darn good on the defensive side of the ball of-late as well, holding each of their first three conference foes to 24 points or less for the first time sine 2010.

Coach Kevin Sumlin and defensive coordinator Marcel Yates have helped spearhead a defensive renaissance this year, thanks to the exploits of a maturing linebacker corp and a secondary that's much-improved from last year.

The interceptions by sophomores Colin Schooler and Scottie Young Jr. against Cal were proof of this newfound defensive mettle, with each coming up with huge plays that led to defensive touchdowns against the Golden Bears.

Their good fortune should receive an added boost this week, as the Utes' offense has been rather anemic this season.

The squad ranks 10th in the conference in points per game (25.8) and 11th in offensive yards per game (389.0).

Junior QB Tyler Huntley has been good-but-not-great this season, completing 62.7 percent of his passes for 1,020 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions.

Sumlin addressed the team's defensive improvements and the challenge they face against the Utes in this week's media availability.

“Our team is a little bit different across the board because we’ve had so many interchangeable moving parts," he said. "We had a guy (safety Scottie Young Jr.) who missed the first game, first couple games, that had two interceptions the other night. PJ (Johnson) is playing defensive end. I don’t think you can deny that his return has really helped shore up our front.”

The next two weeks will likely determine the team's postseason fate, with road games against Utah and winless UCLA in consecutive weeks.

The road after that is much more tumultuous, with three games against ranked opponents (Oregon, Colorado and Washington State), before closing the year at home against ASU.

How to Watch: Arizona and Utah play at 7 p.m. Arizona time on Friday, with ESPN carrying the game.

Who to Watch: Junior QB Tyler Huntley has 1,020 passing and 143 rushing yards with 7 touchdowns this season. The stars for the Utes line up on defense, with Bradlee Anae sitting fourth overall in the Pac-12, with 4 sacks this year. Linebacker Chase Hansen is another stud on defense for the Utes, with 43 tackles, 3 sacks and an interception this season.

How to Bet: Vegas has Utah as a 13.5-point favorite, as of Thursday morning. ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Utes an 81.5 percent chance of winning on Friday night. 

Score Prediction: I think the Utes will win, though by a closer score than the experts in the Sin City expect. I'll go with Utah over Arizona, 24-21.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Pac-12 Power Rankings: No Stopping Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 12:32 PM

Welcome to another week of action-packed college football in the land of In-N-Out and bad officiating, better known as the Pac-12.

We were treated to several tantalizing contests last Saturday, with Arizona's defense saving the day against Cal, while Colorado outlasted ASU in Boulder and Washington and Washington State survived stiff challenges by conference lightweights, UCLA and Oregon State.

The Stanford Cardinal's midseason collapse continued, losing at home by 19 points to Utah, capping off the week's on-field action.

This week presents a new slate of challenging contests, starting with Arizona and Utah's clash in the SLC at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

That game, which pits a 3-3 Wildcats squad with little offensive rhythm against an inconsistent Utes squad that's looked equal parts fascinating and frustrating through five weeks, should be a fun contest to keep an eye on as you hit the bars with your mates, with ESPN broadcasting the game.

Continue reading »

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Sports Nutrition Conference: 'Fueling Practice and Play' at UA

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2018 at 10:46 AM

  • The Department of Nutritional Sciences- University of Arizona
On Friday, Oct. 12 Sports Nutrition Conference: ‘Fueling Practice and Play’ will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The University of Arizona’s Student Union Memorial Center South Ballroom and Lowell Steven Football Facility. This event is put on by UA Department of Nutritional Sciences.

Join coaches, researchers, dietitians, athletes and educators to learn about practical sports nutrition tips and evidence-based sports and fitness nutrition practices.

The conference will include hands-on workshops on topics ranging from the role of body composition in athletic performance, to spotting and treating eating disorders, to meal planning strategies for athletes.

This conference is designed for healthcare providers including registered dietitians and nutrition professionals, cooperative extension faculty, strength conditioning coaches, professional trainers, tactical strength and conditioning professionals, physical activity researchers and educators and club sport, high school, and collegiate coaches, athletes, and trainers with an interest in sports nutrition.

The daylong conference will also feature two separate breakout sessions where participants can choose two activities from making smoothies for pre-workout and post-workout situations, making CHAMP bars, assessing body composition, touring the McKale Olympic weight room, touring the Lowell-Stevens Football Facility and hearing world class speakers. These sessions are chosen at registration on a first come, first serve basis.

Registration is $150 for professionals and $75 for students (with code). To verify your enrollment status and receive the code, you must contact Theresa Spicer at or 520-621-7126.

Speakers include:

- Monica Laudermilk, PhD, Senior Director, Research, EXOS
- Amanda Carlson-Phillips, MS, RD, CSSD, VP Nutrition and research, EXOS
- Amy Athey PsyD, Director of Clinical and Sports Psychology Services, The University of Arizona
- Scott Going, PhD, Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, The University of Arizona
- Riley Nickols, PhD, Counseling and Sport Psychology, Director of the Victory Program
- Alicia Kendig, MS, RD, CSSD, Senior Sports Dietitian, United States Olympic Committee (USOC)
- UA Coaches and athletes will host a panel discussion

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Arizona's Defensive Renaissance Propels Cats Past Cal, 24-17

Posted By on Mon, Oct 8, 2018 at 10:25 AM

Shawn Poindexter leaps to snag an onside kick attempt in the fourth quarter of Arizona's 24-17 win over Cal on Saturday night. - CHRISTOPHER BOAN
  • Christopher Boan
  • Shawn Poindexter leaps to snag an onside kick attempt in the fourth quarter of Arizona's 24-17 win over Cal on Saturday night.

The tide of Arizona's contest with the Cal Bears turned on a wayward pass, an interception and a dash of luck that broke the Wildcats way.

The turning point came with 3:19 remaining in the game's third quarter, with Cal leading, 14-10. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brandon McIlwain, who scored each of the Bears' two touchdowns, dropped back in the pocket on a seemingly routine pass play.

The Bears were deep in Arizona territory, with the ball at the Arizona 36, facing a 2nd and 12, when McIlwain's pass over the middle careened off the hands of his intended receiver and into the arms of sophomore linebacker Colin Schooler.

Schooler was off to the races, carrying the ball out to the midfield stripe—when it was batted out of his hands by a Cal player, flying through the air toward the Cal end zone.

That's where Arizona got its second break of the night, as redshirt freshman cornerback Azizi Hearn was able to scoop up the fumble, racing into the end zone for the go-ahead score after shaking free of a Bears player that latched himself to Hearn's midsection.

The improbable defensive score gave the Wildcats a 17-14 lead, sending the announced crowd of 44,253 at Arizona Stadium into a state of delirium.

Schooler (and Hearn's) defensive mettle was matched a quarter later, when sophomore safety Scottie Young Jr. jumped in the way of a McIlwain pass.

The sophomore had a full head of steam and no one in sight after securing the interception, racing 24 yards for a 'pick six,' ensuring the Wildcats' third win of the season.

The Bears (3-2, 0-2) hit a 35-yard field goal in the game's waning seconds to get within seven, but failed on the ensuing onside kick attempt.

The net result of the night's frenetic contest was a 24-17 victory for the Wildcats, giving them five-straight wins over the Bears, dating back to 2010.

First-year Arizona Coach Kevin Sumlin was just as dumbfounded by the interception/fumble return touchdown as those in the stands, expressing how helpless he felt watching the play unfold.

"I don’t know, right now, it’s all going fast. So, I’m just like you guys," Sumlin said. "It’s like a sack of a quarterback—where the quarterback doesn’t see the sack coming and the whole stadium sees it and you can anticipate the sack; the strip, and the fumble."

Sumlin said the moral of the long defensive touchdown was to never give up on a play, and to keep your head in the game at all times if you're on the field.

"You always talk about, ‘A guy who has a nose for the ball,’ and that’s not what it is, he’s just playing hard," Sumlin said. "And a lot of times, when you play with that effort, the ball’s going to bounce your way more often than not, if you’re playing with effort. And that’s really the moral of that story, because there’s a lot of guys that were running the ball with Colin. And sometimes the ball bounces your way with effort, and that can be the result."

Schooler, who finished the night tied for the team lead in tackles (9), joked that the interception-turned-fumble return touchdown was all planned.

The sophomore thanked Hearn for bailing him out, and said that the defense's nightlong effort in containing the Bears offense was a dream come true for all involved.

“That went from good play to bad play to great play," Schooler said. "That was a huge momentum swing and I gotta trust my teammates to pick up the slack sometimes for me.”

Hearn touched on a similar narrative postgame, describing how hard the secondary has worked in practice to prepare themselves for any loose ball situations, and how rewarding it was to score the go-ahead touchdown for his team.

“My coach always tells me to get the ball because being around the ball can only bring good things," Hearn said. "I was just doing my job and got rewarded for it.”

The Wildcats, who started the Pac-12 conference season with a 35-14 road win against Oregon State, were looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 24-20 loss at home to Southern California last Saturday.

They did so against Cal, thanks to a defense that's held each of its first three conference foes to 24 or points or less since the 2010 season.

It was also the first Arizona game with multiple defensive touchdowns since the team's 42-32 win over The University of Texas-San Antonio in 2015, when the Wildcats scored on an interception and a fumble return.

Sumlin had nothing but respect for his defensive unit and Defensive Coordinator Marcel Yates, for their ability to shut down opponents this season.

"I thought that was a gutty performance," he said. "It’s two weeks in a row in the second half where the guys have really played very, very well."

Looking Forward

The Wildcats (3-3, 2-1) do not have long to savor their win over Cal, with a road game against Utah (3-2, 1-2), who beat Stanford, 40-21, on Saturday night.

The latest chapter of the Arizona-Utah series, which will kick off on Friday at 7 p.m. Arizona time on ESPN, comes on the heels of back-to-back Utes' victories over the Wildcats, with Utah winning last year's game on a Friday night in Tucson, 30-24.

Sumlin knows the short week will present a challenge for his players and coaches alike, but believes the team will be prepared come Friday night.

"The guys are excited downstairs, but we’ve got a short week this week too," he said. "I think we’re reasonably healthy with guys coming out of this game, and guys that missed this game with injuries. But all in all, I think there are a lot of lessons to be learned, as there are every week."

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Parents in Town to Celebrate UA Family Weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 5, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Parade before the football game at Family Weekend 2017 - TIRION MORRIS
  • Tirion Morris
  • Parade before the football game at Family Weekend 2017
The University of Arizona is hosting its annual Family Weekend starting today, Oct. 5th through Sunday .

Family members of UA students from all over the country will be coming for the weekend to spend time with their sons, daughters, brothers and sisters.

As the Wildcats take on the California Golden Bears on Saturday night, families will be tailgating and enjoying a day of fun in some mild Tucson weather. The high on Saturday is expected only to reach 86 degrees.

Fraternities and sororities put on events and tailgates for family members on both Friday and Saturday.

Family Weekend t-shirts are sold out, but there is a pep rally at the Main Gate Square on Friday with food and performances put on by the university.

The UA Parents & Family Association is hosting its Golf Challenge at Top Golf from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Friday. Money raised from the Golf Challenge is being donated to the UA Think Tank this year. 

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Thursday, October 4, 2018

Three and Out: Justin Wilcox and the California Golden Bears Come to Tucson

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 9:49 AM

Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate readies a throw against the University of Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 30. - ARIZONA ATHLETICS
  • Arizona Athletics
  • Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate readies a throw against the University of Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Welcome to one of the craziest, most exciting weeks of the college football season in Southern Arizona.

The game I'm alluding to is the annual contest between the Arizona Wildcats (2-3,1-1) and the Golden Bears of California (3-1, 0-1).

The two programs have met 33 times, between 1978 and 2017, with Arizona leading the all-time series, 17-14-2.

The last two matchups between the two schools have produced some of the most-watched moments in Pac-12 history.

First, in 2014 there was the infamous 'Hill Mary' touchdown pass as time expired inside Arizona Stadium—when QB Anu Solomon hit receiver Austin Hill on a Hail Mary pass play as time expired, giving the Wildcats a 49-45 win.

That score capped off an improbable 36-point comeback by the Wildcats, sparking an improbable run that would propel the team into their first (and only) Pac-12 Football Championship Game.

Last year's contest was just as exciting, with Arizona and the Golden Bears duking it out in a double-overtime classic, with the Wildcats winning, 45-44, after Cal failed on a two-point conversion attempt.

This year's game has a chance to live up to those contests, with the Golden Bears heading to Tucson with a sour taste in their mouth, after an 18-point loss at home to the University of Oregon last week.

The Wildcats find themselves in much the same predicament, falling at home to USC 24-20 last Saturday, in desperate need of a victory to boost their chances of reaching bowl eligibility for the second consecutive season.

The Golden Bears enter Saturday's contest, which will kick off at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1, with an offense that ranks eighth in the Pac-12 in offensive yards per game (393.5), 11th in passing yards (793) and 7th in rushing yards (781).

The Bears have achieved second-year Coach Justin Wilcox's goal of offensive balance, with 198.3 passing and 195.3 rushing yards per game this season.

That said, they don't have the type of explosive playmakers on offense that teams like Oregon, Washington, Stanford, and even USC have—which makes finding success rather elusive in the strawberry-strewn hills of Berkeley.

It'll be interesting to see whether the Wildcats can exploit Cal's defense, which ranks 8th in the conference in points allowed (25.0) and 9th in rushing yards per game allowed (163.8), given the depth Kevin Sumlin's squad has at the running back position.

How to Watch: The Wildcats and Golden Bears will play at 7 p.m. Arizona time on Saturday, with Fox Sports 1 airing the game. Tickets to the game are still available here.

Who to Watch: The Golden Bears of Cal don't have a lot of big names, though receiver Kanawai Noa has a lot of talent, with 81 catches and 1,057 receiving yards in his career. Freshman WB Chase Garbers has shown a lot of potential this year, with 493 passing yards and 6 touchdowns.

How to Bet: Vegas has Cal as a 2.5-point favorite to win, as of Thursday morning. The over/under on the game is listed at 57.5.

Game Prediction: This one is a true toss-up game, with each side showing its share of strengths and weaknesses this season. I'll go with Arizona winning this one, 27-24.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Pac-12 Power Rankings: Meet the New Leader in the Conference of Champions

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Welcome to another week of football in the Conference of Champions, with several sneaky-good matchups on the horizon this Saturday.

It was another gut-punch of a weekend for the Pac-12 this weekend, with Stanford taking one on the chin in South Bend against Notre Dame, 38-17.

The Washington Huskies redeemed the conference somewhat in the late evening hours, crushing Brigham Young 35-7 in Seattle.

The middle of the conference did itself no favors, with Colorado slogging through most of its contest against a hapless UCLA squad at home on Friday night, before putting things together in the second half to seal a 38-16 win in Boulder.

The Washington State Cougars somehow pulled off another crazy comeback on the Palouse against Utah, trailing the Utes for much of the night, before QB Gardner Minshew hit receiver Easop Winston Jr. for an 89-yard score with 4:14 to go.

That touchdown ripped the Utes' hearts out, giving Mike Leach's squad a much-needed victory to improve to 4-1 this season.

Continue reading »

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English Premier League Matchday 7 Weekly Round-up

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 3:45 PM

Saturday Sept. 29

West Ham United 3, Manchester United 1
Good news for West Ham, terrible news for Man Utd. The Red Devils are now off to their worst start in 29 years, with now only 10 points from their first seven games. It only took five minutes for the Hammers to take the lead after Felipe Anderson directed Pablo Zabaleta’s cross in with a cool back-heel finish. The home side was able to double their lead right before the half as Andriy Yarmalenko’s shot deflected off of Man Utd’s defender Victor Lindelof and wrong-footed David de Gea. Marcus Rashford was able to bring one back in the second half, but it was all for not as West Ham’s Mark Noble’s through ball was able to set up Marko Arnautovic for a third goal only three minutes later, clinching the game. Noble was named “man of the match” for his importance during his side’s possessions, recording the most touches and passes, but most importantly regained possession more times than any of his teammates. West Ham climb up to 14th and Man Utd. sit in 10th as Jose Mourinho’s drama-filled season continues to bring concern.

  • Courtesy photo
Arsenal 2, Watford 0
They left it late, but that’s win number five for Arsenal in five games. The first goal only came in the 81st minute after Watford’s defender Craig Cathcart accidentally turned in a shot from Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi. Only two minutes later, Unai Emery’s men were able to double the mark after Alexandre Lacazette delivered a low cross to Mesut Ozil who put in the back of the net. Arsenal continues to threaten for a place in the top four as they move up to 5th. Watford, however, drop to 66th. Arsenal’s Rob Holding was named “man of the match” for his crucial defending, including six clearances and three interceptions.

Continue reading »

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Carnival of Illusion: Magic, Mystery & Oooh La La!

This top-rated illusion show is "Revitalizing Magic" by blending an international travel theme with all the charms… More

@ Scottish Rite Grand Parlour Saturdays, 7:30-9 p.m. Continues through April 27 160 South Scott Ave

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