Arizona’s Nick Foles is a ‘superstar’ looking for a few good winsby Anthony Gimino on Sep. 23, 2011, under Arizona football
Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles doesn’t lack impressive stats, doesn’t lack the praise of his head coach, doesn’t want for respect from opponents.
The victory total, however, remains stuck at 12.
It’s a rudimentary stat, but Arizona is a mere 12-12 in games in which Foles starts — including seven consecutive losses to teams from the Football Bowl Subdivision. Quarterback play hasn’t usually been the issue, but the bottom line is the bottom line.
“I haven’t been good enough to win,” Foles said.
“It shows on the scoreboard. We haven’t put up enough points and that falls on the quarterback. I have to figure out a way to get the ball downfield more. … I don’t really care about my individual performance. I want to win a game.
“It’s my job to put us in a position to put points on the board, and I haven’t done that yet.”
Foles will try again Saturday against Oregon in Arizona Stadium (7:15 p.m., ESPN2).
He has helped the Wildcats put up ample points against Oregon in the past two seasons — a combined 70, but both games resulted in UA losses.
“He’s big, he’s strong, he’s tough,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly told reporters this week.
“You watch the games, and I can’t believe the hits that people lay on him. He just gets up and keeps slinging. He’s very accurate and he has a great knowledge of that offense.”
Foles threw for a career-high 448 yards against Oregon last season in a 49-29 loss in Eugene. In two games against the Ducks, he is 59 of 100 for 762 yards, with seven touchdowns and one interception.
Through the first three games of the season, Foles is on pace to throw for 4,196 yards in the regular season, which would shatter the school mark of 3,683, set by Willie Tuitama in 2007.
He is completing 75.4 percent of his passes (95 of 126).
“Nick has really played outstanding football,” coach Mike Stoops said.
“He continues to be a superstar in all aspects — his ability to see what’s going on on the field, his preparation, his accuracy. He’s shown what a player he is. He doesn’t take a backseat to anybody when it comes to quarterback play.
“We have to continue to give him his opportunities, continue to protect him through an even stronger running game, and continue to let him do what he does — which is throw the football awfully well.”
Foles has thrown 126 passes this season, without an interception, which is two off Arizona’s in-season record. Foles hasn’t been intercepted in 143 passes, dating to the third quarter of last season’s Alamo Bowl.
He is working with a running attack that is 116th out of 120 teams, averaging 55.67 yards per game. The all-new and inexperienced offensive line just isn’t opening a lot of holes at the line of scrimmage, so the running game isn’t providing balance to the air show.
“They’re learning,” Foles said of the offensive linemen.
“From what I see in practice and from what I see outside the game … I’m the only who sees it. Nobody else sees it — the media or anything. I see these guys growing up, and they’re working hard. They’re going to get there.”
Most quarterback starts at Arizona since 1984