The Holiday Bowl tickets have been purchased. The time off from work has been secured. The countdown has begun.
Christmas will be coming five days late for Arizona fans this year.
Not only is the Holiday a battle of ranked teams it now features a Heisman Trophy finalist in the Huskers’ Ndamukong Suh. If you get invited to the Downtown Athletic Club as a defensive player it means you’re really, really good. If you’ve got “kong” in your first name you’re a downright monster.
Suh doesn’t have history on his side, however. Did you know that Nebraska has never beaten Arizona? 836 all-time wins and not one against the Wildcats. Of course, the two schools have only played twice. They tied us in 1961 and we beat them in Holiday Bowl, Part I.
The Cats certainly won’t be intimidated. NU will be Arizona’s sixth opponent in the final BCS top 25. The UA is 3-2 against the first five.
With the USC win Mike Stoops continued his streak of beating a team ranked at the time of the game every year. He just took his show on the road this time.
Trevin had an interception and nine tackles. Devin broke up two passes and had nine tackles of his own. I’m going to go out on a limb and say we have the best pair of cornerbacks whose first names rhyme.
This next stat comes from reader wildcatfight83. Here’s the last time each Pac-10 school beat Pete Carroll:
ARIZONA – 2009
Stanford – 2009
Oregon – 2009
Washington – 2009
Oregon State – 2008
UCLA – 2006
Cal – 2003
WSU – 2002
ASU – Never, ever, ever
Ah yes, that glorious victory over Southern California. I can’t get over how quickly things turned around. USC had just taken its first lead. The UA defense was exhausted. You just felt that the Cats were one punt away from having USC punch it in and end the game.
But the next time Keenyn Crier took the field it was to hold for an extra point.
Let’s relive Arizona’s heroic drive, shall we?
1st & 10, ball on the UA 20, 7:13 left in the game
Foles tries to hit David Roberts along the right sideline but Taylor Mays breaks up the pass by almost breaking Roberts.
2nd & 10 – UA 20 – 7:08
Foles attempts a pass to a tightly-covered Juron Criner running a short slant. The game is slipping away fast.
3rd & 10 – UA 20 – 7:04
Sonny Dykes guesses right, the line and receivers execute their blocks and Keola Anolin turns a screen pass into a 13-yard gain and a first down. The huge play that set up the hugest play.
1st & 10 – UA 33 – 6:38
Foles completes an underneath pass to Roberts.
2nd & 7 – UA 36 – 5:59
Terrell Turner runs an end-around to the short side of field. This was Turner’s only touch of the game.
3rd & 2 – UA 41 – 5:15
Foles slides to his right to open a passing lane (no more batted passes!) then fires an 11-yard strike down the middle to Roberts between two defenders. The burliest throw on the drive.
1st & 10 – SC 48 – 4:41
Foles moves left to evade pressure, doesn’t have anyone open and throws it safely into the ground in the general direction of Greg Nwoko.
2nd & 10 – SC 48 – 4:35
USC has 12 men on the field and has to take its final timeout. Thank you kindly!
The Cats run another end-around, again to the right, this time with Criner. Our running receivers do a good job of cutting upfield behind blocks instead of trying to get to the sideline every time.
3rd & 3 – SC 41 – 3:54
Nwoko behind Taimi Tutogi, straight up the middle for five yards. A redshirt freshman behind a true freshman. And the boys shall run like men.
The Cats are now three for three in third-down conversions on the drive. They will not see third down again.
1st & 10 – SC 36 – 3:30
Foles starts under center. He backs into the shotgun and changes the play. He looks to the two receivers on his left and waves his Skywalker. A jolt of anticipation rockets through the crowd.
Nick signals for the snap and quickly turns his shoulders to the left. Is it a short pass to the slot? Taylor Mays runs in for the big hit. No! It’s a fake! The collective breath of the spectators is whisked away!
Foles lofts a fade pass down the left sideline. It hangs in the air like an angel feather on the breeze. Mr. Juron Criner rises up and grasps the ball firmly with both hands. Complete! The Trojan DB fails to push Criner out of bounds. Juron stumbles, straining to maintain his balance. He staggers forward…leaning…lunging…leaping…into the end zone.
The Arizona faithful from sea to shining sea go berserk and ABC commentator Brock Huard asks, “Will that be the drive that gets this program over the hump?”
Only three weeks until Christmas.