TUCSON AZ - SEPTEMBER 18: Wide receiver William Wright #19 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after catching a 4 yard touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes during the fourth quarter of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 18 2010 in Tucson Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Hawkeyes 34-27. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Iowa Comeback Falls Short, Arizona Wins 34-27 In Shootout

It was a tale of two halves in Tucson Saturday night, with the Iowa Hawkeyes scoring 20 points to tie the game at 27 with 6 minutes to go. Arizona was able to take advantage of Iowa's tired defense, and Nick Foles and the Wildcats emerged victorious.

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Wildcats Take Iowa By Storm, 34-27 Victory In Tucson

Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) – Nick Foles threw a four-yard touchdown pass to William Wright late in the fourth quarter, as the 24th-ranked Arizona Wildcats took down the ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes, 34-27, in a non-conference game.

Foles completed 28-of-39 passes for 303 yards, two touchdowns, and a pick for the Wildcats (3-0), who dominated Toledo and The Citadel over the first two weeks.

Wright hauled in five passes for 67 yards, while David Douglas caught seven passes for 74 yards and a score for the victors.

Ricky Stanzi connected on 18-of-33 passes for 278 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception for the Hawkeyes (2-1), who opened the season with wins over Eastern Illinois and Iowa State.

Derrell Johnson-Koulianos caught seven passes for 114 yards and a score. Jewel Hampton also caught a TD pass in defeat.

Trailing 27-7, Iowa scored the lone points of the third quarter. Following a short punt, the Hawkeyes took over at the Arizona 48. On the third play, Stanzi and Johnson-Koulianos hooked up for a 37-yard score to make it a 27-14 game with 7:15 left.

Early in the fourth stanza, Iowa went three-and-out on offense. The Hawkeyes, though, caught a big break when the football bounced off the facemask of returner Wright. Iowa’s Shaun Prater recovered the ball at the 18.

Stanzi dropped back and found Marvin McNutt along the right sideline in the end zone. Replay showed McNutt was able to get his foot in before going out, making it a 27-21 game.

Foles was picked off by defensive lineman Broderick Binns on Arizona’s ensuing possession. Binns ran 20 yards for a TD. The score was tied at 27 after the extra point was blocked.

Arizona, though, responded with the winning drive. The nine-play march ended with Foles finding Wright in the middle of the end zone for a 34-27 lead with four minutes remaining.

Stanzi was sacked three times on Iowa’s next possession. The Wildcats took over and ran the clock down from there.

Iowa went three-and-out on the first possession of the game. It got worse from there for the Hawkeyes, who had their punt blocked. Marquis Flowers fell on the ball for Arizona at the eight.

It took the Wildcats just three plays to score a touchdown, as Douglas hauled in a five-yard pass for a score.

The Hawkeyes’ next drive resulted in Trevin Wade intercepting Stanzi. Wade went 85 yards the other way for a score and a 14-0 Arizona lead less than five minutes into the first quarter.

Iowa bridged the first and second frames with a nine-play, 93-yard drive to get back into the game. Hampton caught a four-yard TD pass to cut the gap to 14-7.

Travis Cobb returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a score to give the Wildcats a 14-point cushion again.

Following a series of punts, Arizona took over at its own 20. The Wildcats put together an 11-play, 76-yard drive that Alex Zendejas capped with a 22-yard field goal to make it 24-7 with under six minutes to go until half.

Zendejas added a 47-yarder before the break to give Arizona a commanding 27-7 lead heading into the locker room.

Arizona leads the all-time series with Iowa, 7-6…This was the first road game of the season for the Hawkeyes.


Halftime Report: Arizona Outplays Iowa, Wildcats Up 27-7

The first quarter was witness to an effective beginning for the Arizona Wildcats. Kicking off, they allowed the crowd to play heavily into Iowa's first series, which culminated in a blocked punt by the Wildcats.

After quickly scoring a touchdown, Arizona was at it on the defensive end again, returning a fluke deflection for another touchdown.

Things were wild, and the crowd was loving it. Iowa was forced to punt yet again, and Arizona looked determined to run it up to a three touchdown lead before Nic Grisgby coughed up the ball on the Iowa 7-yard line.

Since that moment, the Hawkeyes were on the offensive. Ricky Stanzi led an effective drive into Wildcat territory, completing big passes to Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos before hitting Jewel Hampton in the end zone for Iowa's first touchdown.

The momentum shift was evident, and the Iowa fans were back in the game. That lasted for approximately 15 seconds before Travis Cobb returned the Iowa kickoff 100 yards for an Arizona touchdown.

With that, the seesaw shifted back to the Wildcats.

Iowa missed out on an easy touchdown when Stanzi slightly overthrew Johnson-Koulianos, who was wide open on the left sideline. They ended up punting the ball away, and Arizona was able to again capitalize with an Alex Zendejas field goal.

Arizona was once again able to score before the half ran out when Zendejas put another through the uprights.

My photographer, Matt Levine, told me that the crowd was "deafening." Everything Iowa did, Arizona did faster and with no hesitation. The Wildcats were dominant.


Final Thoughts: Iowa and Arizona, 30 Minutes Until Kickoff

The crowd is just now funneling into Arizona Stadium, but the Zona Zoo has been here for hours. There is a sense of urgency in the crowd, as legions of visiting Iowa fans have already taken root in the upper deck.

This will be a sellout, and the Wildcat fans are already invigorated by the Sun Devils' unfortunate loss this afternoon in Wisconsin. With the marching band entering the stadium through the north entrance, both teams are making their final preparations on the field - Iowa is practicing their extra point tries in an homage to ASU.

This game will feature a very loud, very boisterous crowd that has been tailgating all afternoon and looking forward to this moment for months. The culmination of a year's work is on the line tonight for the Wildcats, and the preparation that went into this game will go a long way in deciding who leaves the field the winner.

Iowa is the better team, but Arizona will receive a lot of momentum from the home field advantage.

Prediction: Arizona 28, Iowa 20


AZ Desert Swam Predicts Arizona Victory (Shocker)

Our friends over at AZ Desert Swarm have unanimously projected the University of Arizona to beat the Iowa Hawkeyes tomorrow night in Tucson.

uofafanatic- Arizona wins, 21-14

So for my part, I feel optimistic. There has been much made of the Iowa defense over the past couple of weeks. And they certainly have a decent defensive resume. Iowa allowed only 15 points per game last season.

Offensively, I am not so sure. For all the talk of a balanced Iowa offense, there seems to be a glaring weak spot at QB. Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi passed for 17 TDs and 15 INTs last season. That sounds like a recipe for disaster for an Iowa team about to face a solid secondary in a tremendously loud and hostile stadium.

The poll at the end of the article, however, tells a different story. 57% of the constituency has chosen Iowa to win, though the official results have yet to be tabulated.

Regardless of the pundits, expect a hard-fought game tomorrow night.


Sports Network Preview: Iowa @ Arizona

Sports Network | September 15, 2010

GAME NOTES: A battle of Top-25 teams takes place in the desert on Saturday night, as the ninth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes pay a visit to the 24th-ranked Arizona Wildcats.

Both teams come in undefeated, with Iowa beating up on Eastern Illinois (37-7) and Iowa State (35-7), and Arizona having hammered both Toledo (41-2) and The Citadel (52-6). It’s obvious neither team has been tested to this point, so it will be interesting to see if they come out swinging, or take a more conservative approach and bide their time in trying to establish their respective game plans.

Iowa has won its last four games, dating back to last season, in which the Hawkeyes have allowed a grand total of 28 points. Going back a bit further, UI has won 17 of its last 19 and 19 of its last 22 games, dating back to the middle of the 2008 season.

Arizona has been downright stingy on defense as well, as it has yet to allow a touchdown this season. The Wildcats are coached by Mike Stoops, a former All- America DB at Iowa in the mid-80’s, who has amassed a record of 35-39 in his six-plus years at the school.

Iowa is led by Kirk Ferentz, who owns an 83-55 mark in his 12 years at the helm.

The all-time series between these two teams in tied at 6-6. The Hawkeyes have won four of the last five meetings, the most recent of which occurred in Iowa City last year with home team claiming a 27-17 victory.

Iowa isn’t the flashiest offensive team, but effective nonetheless as it averages 36 points and 457 total yards per game. Balance is the key as the Hawkeyes can beat you either on the ground (227 ypg, six TDs) or through the air (230 ypg, three TDs). QB Ricky Stanzi has hit the mark on nearly 71 percent of his throws through the first two games, and 11 different players have caught a pass.

The UI run game boasts one of the Big Ten Conference’s top backs right now, as Adam Robinson has turned his 38 carries into 265 yards and four scores.

Coach Ferentz knows his team is going to have to play its best game thus far to compete with the Wildcats on their home field, saying recently, “It’s going to be a good challenge on a couple of fronts. We need to handle the trip well, and more importantly, we’re playing a tremendous opponent. So it’s going to be a big step for us, and we’re going to need a great week of preparation to get ready for it.”

Defensively, the Hawkeyes are yielding just 216 total ypg, with their effort against the run being especially strong (71.5 ypg). They have yet to allow a rushing TD, and they’ve gotten solid performances from guys like Jeremiha Hunter (14 tackles), Jeff Tarpinian (11 tackles) and Karl Klug (10 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, one sack and two QB hurries), among others.

Ferentz spoke about the changes the Arizona offense made following last year’s meeting between the two teams in Iowa City, “Certainly after our game, they went on and had an excellent season, made a change at quarterback, shifted their philosophy a little bit offensively. And he certainly responded and did very well last year. And they’re off just to a tremendous start this year.”

Arizona QB Nick Foles is hitting better than 83 percent of his passes for 287 ypg with three TDs and two INTs this season. Juron Criner has clearly been the Wildcats’ top playmaker on the outside, having hauled in 12 balls for 236 yards and a score, while the run game features Nic Grigsby, who has scored five TDs and is averaging 8.4 ypc through two games.

The UA defense boasts four players with double-digit tackles to this point, led by Paul Vassallo with 14 and Joseph Perkins with 13. Justin Washington has logged a pair of sacks, and the team as a whole averages six TFLs per game. Also helping matters is the fact that the ’Cats has recorded five turnovers thus far.

Coach Stoops is hopeful his team will be focused on the task at hand, and fully expects the home crowd to play a big role, “I think what you always want to do is create this environment of winning and involvement and understanding of how much difference they can make in a game.”

He continued, “We’re going to need them this week. Louder than ever.”

This is an intriguing matchup on several fronts, not the least of which is to see how the Hawkeyes perform on the road and whether or not the Wildcats are as good as they’ve appeared in their first two games. This game really could go either way, but we’ll give Iowa the narrow edge.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Iowa 27, Arizona 23

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