Arizona football notes: Wildcats a rare big favorite in L.A.by Anthony Gimino on Oct. 29, 2010, under Sports
We don’t typically discuss point spreads here, but we pay attention to them as much as most college football fans, and we’ll go ahead and point out something when it’s historic.
Such as this week’s line in the Arizona-UCLA game.
I can’t take credit for the research — that belongs to the Seattle Times’ Bud Withers, who just happens to keep records on such things — but you can count on one hand the number of times the Wildcats have been favored against USC and UCLA through the Pac-10 years. OK, actually you need just two fingers.
Arizona has never been favored to beat the Trojans in the L.A. Coliseum, and just twice has it been the favorite over the Bruins in the Rose Bowl — in 1999 and 2008, both by three points.
It says something about the state of each program that the Wildcats are as much as a 10-point favorite for Saturday’s game.
Not that it matters much to the Wildcats.
“They have good enough players to beat us, that’s for sure,” said coach Mike Stoops. “We know that. That’s football.”
The Arizona coaches have put more trust into running back Keola Antolin in recent weeks, and he’s in the best three-game stretch of his career. He has 43 carries for 276 yards and five touchdowns in that span.
He also has 20 receptions this season, a career high.
He had key blocks from receiver Juron Criner and running back Nic Grigsby last week, springing him for a 78-yard run in which he scooted past a safety and showed off some (surprising?) speed.
“I was moving pretty fast,” he said. “People say, ‘Man, you’re pretty fast.’ I say, ‘Yeah, I am.’”
Yes, this is ridiculous
After last week’s victory over Washington, Stoops called his team’s completion percentage this season “ridiculous.” He meant that in the best possibly way.
Here’s how ridiculous it is: Between Nick Foles and Matt Scott, Arizona is completing 75.2 percent of its passes, just edging Northwestern for the national lead. I don’t think we’ll need Withers’ research skills on this one.
Let’s just say it: Quarterback-challenged Arizona has NEVER led the nation in passing accuracy.
Said sixth-year offensive tackle Adam Grant on the development of both junior quarterbacks: “They are a thousand times more improved than they were last year.”
That’s a lot, but he does have a point, and that success traces to first-year quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo.
Are you listening, powers that be for the Frank Broyles Award? Scelfo should be a candidate for that award, which goes to the nation’s top assistant.
Brehaut in red and blue?
UCLA sophomore quarterback Richard Brehaut is taking over the position full time for Kevin Prince, who underwent season-ending knee surgery last week. This will be his third start this season in relief of Prince.
Arizona assistant coach Tim Kish, the team’s linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator, recruited Brehaut out of Los Osos High in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. The Wildcats offered a scholarship.
“I thought he was a really gifted athlete and had a strong arm,” Kish said. “He just hasn’t had the experience that Prince has had up to this point. I think he is going to be a really good quarterback.”