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Arizona Wildcats football: Passing game takes aim at several records

This 45-yarder aganist Oregon State last season is one of Juron Criner's 21 career TD receptions. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Wildcats coach Mike Stoops said after the team’s second fall scrimmage that “If we have to throw it 60 times, then we’ll throw it 60 times.”

He said after the team’s third and final scrimmage on Saturday, “if we have to throw it 50 times …”

Hey, where’s the consistency?

In any case, we get the point. The Wildcats are going to throw. Short, deep, swing, middle, flat, sideline. They are going to throw. A lot.

With that in mind, let’s visit some of the Arizona’s season and career records, all centered around the passing game, that are in danger of being rewritten.

Career touchdown receptions: 30, T Bell (1972-75)
Senior receiver Juron Criner has 21 career touchdown receptions, including 20 in the past two years.

Pass receptions, season: 93, Bobby Wade (2002)
Criner had 82 last season, when he said he often was at about 75, 80 percent healthy due to various injuries, including a turf toe.

Receiving yards, career: 3,351, Bobby Wade (1999-2002)
Criner is 1,449 yards away from breaking this record, which is a lot. In fact, it would require a UA-record-breaking season for receiving yards. But it seems like a good time for both records to fall.

Receiving yards, season: 1,422, Dennis Northcutt (1999)
Criner had 1,233 yards last season, which is third on the Wildcats’ list.

Most pass attempts, season: 524, Willie Tuitama (2007)
In a 12-game season, Nick Foles would have to average about 43 passes a game to break this record. In a 13-game season that includes a bowl, he would have to average just over 40 passes per game. And if Arizona plays an additional game — we’re talking the new Pac-12 title game — then Foles would have to average 37.5 attempts per game.

Foles averaged 38.7 pass attempts last season in 11 games.

Nick Foles will use his right arm to try break many of Willie Tuitama's school records. Photo by Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE.

Most completions, career: 786, Willie Tuitama (2005-2008)
Foles is 241 completions away from breaking this mark. He completed 260 passes in 2009 and 286 last season, so this one will fall as long as Foles stays healthy.

Highest completion percentage, career: 61.6, Willie Tuitama (2005-2008)
Foles is already at 65.3 percent, so he’ll basically just need to finish his career to hold this record.

Passing yards, season: 3,683, Willie Tuitama (2007)
Foles had 3,191 passing yards last season, when he missed 2 1/2 games because of a knee injury. With a full season, he figures to be right around this mark.

Passes attempted per game: 44.3 (2007)
What’s it going to be in 2011, 50 or 60 per game?

Touchdown passes, season: 28, Willie Tuitama (2007)
As you can see, Tuitama’s 2007 season was the most prolific passing year in school history. It would take something special from Foles — who threw for 20 touchdowns in 2010 — to reach this number. If he did, watch out for the record for career touchdown passes. Foles is 28 behind Tuitama, who has 67.

Total offense, career: 8,727, Willie Tuitama (2005-2008)
Foles is seventh with 5,490 yards. Getting 3,238 yards to pass Tuitama is another doable accomplishment, given a full year of health.

Most consecutive bowl games: 3
Arizona is on a three-game streak, tying the school record set from 1992 to 1994. With a greater proliferation of postseason games, it’s a lot easier to get to a bowl game these days, but few would be quibbling over the degree of difficulty if the Cats earn a spot in one of seven bowls affiliated with the Pac-12.

As a reminder, here are the bowl arrangements for the first season of the Pac-12

–BCS (Rose Bowl, or national championship game if ranked No. 1 or No. 2)
–Alamo vs. Big 12 No. 3
–Holiday vs. Big 12 No. 5
–Sun vs. ACC No. 4
–Maaco Bowl Las Vegas vs. Mountain West champ
–Kraft Fight Hunger vs. Army (if eligible) or ACC No. 9
–New Mexico vs. MWC No. 4/5

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