Wildcats Pound Cougars, 41-7
November 7, 1998
TUCSON, Ariz. - The 10th-ranked Wildcats racked up 517 yards of total offense while holding WSU to a solitary first-quarter touchdown to win 41-7 in front of 47,761 at Arizona Stadium.
It was the Cougars' sixth straight loss and droppedg them to 3-6 overall, including six straight conference losses. Meanwhile, Arizona advanced to 9-1 on the season, 5-1 in Pac-10 play. The Wildcat defense shut down the Cougar offense early and often.
The Cougs' first possession saw them fall backward 32 yards on the shoulders of a penalty and two quarterback sacks. When Arizona took over at the WSU 39, it needed only five plays to knock a 39-yard field goal through the uprights and take the early 3-0 advantage.
But the Cougar offense answered, quickly. On the next play from scrimmage, Kevin Brown broke loose for a 48-yard gain before he tripped to the ground. On the next play Paul Mencke dialed long-distance to Leaford Hackett for a 35-yard touchdown connection.
For the briefest of moments, the Cougars had a lead, but soon the Wildcats would retaliate and retaliate and retaliate. First, Arizona put together a two-play drive of its own, ending when Trung Canidate busted up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown. Then, before the end of the first quarter, Canidate slipped through the Cougs' defensive line unmolested and had himself a 45-yard touchdown.
Down 17-7, WSU looked to get back on the scoreboard, but a 12-play, 38-yard drive was all for not when Rian Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal attempt. The Cougars would later survive a blocked punt, but could not make it into halftime without falling further behind. Facing first-and-10 near midfield, a Steve Birnbaum pass went straight through the hands of Nian Taylor and into the waiting arms of Chris McAlister who raced for a 60-yard score.
By the end of the second quarter, WSU was trailing 24-7 despite having only 52 fewer yards of total offense than Arizona. Favorable Wildcat field position put Cougars in danger again in the third quarter. Starting from their own 46 yard line, the Wildcats picked up 44 yards on the ground to carry the load of their fourth scoring drive.
This time, Kelvin Eafon punched into the endzone from one yard out to increase the Arizona advantage to 31-7 with less than 10 minutes to play in the third quarter. On its next possession, the Arizona offense made good on a Jerry Roquemore fumble at the Wildcat 14 yard line. Not only did the Wildcats avoid being scored upon, they drove all the way to the WSU 18 where McDonald booted a 35-yard field goal to enter the fourth quarter with a 34-7 lead.
On its next possession, WSU again lost the ball in the red zone, this time when Rich Lachaux picked Steve Birnbaum at the Arizona one-yard line. For the third straight time, the Wildcats drove to a score. The 11-play, 89-yard drive resulting in an eight-yard touchdown run by Eafon took nearly six minutes off the clock and sealed the 34-point pummeling of the Cougars.
Brown was the only Cougar to finish the game with positive rushing yardage, picking up 126 yards on 23 carries. Not to be outdone Arizona's Canidate finished with a game-high 174 rushing yards on 12 carries, while quarterback Keith Smith scrambled for 90 yards against the WSU defense. With two fumbles and three Birnbaum interceptions, the Cougars turned the ball over five times - twice in the red zone - while creating only one take-away defensively.
WASHINGTON STATE 7 0 0 0 7 ARIZONA 17 7 10 7 41
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