Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Will Plummer (15) talks to head coach Jedd Fisch during action against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the 95th Territorial Cup game at Sun Devil Stadium.

Ncaa Football Arizona Wildcats At Arizona State Sun Devils

Arizona coach Jedd Fisch lands extension through 2027 season

Arizona coach Jedd Fisch agreed to a two-year extension through the 2027 season, the school announced Thursday.

The deal comes after the Wildcats sported a 5-7 record in Fisch’s second season. Arizona went 1-11 in his first.

“Coach Fisch has brought a new level of energy and excitement to Arizona Football, for our student-athletes and for our fans,” school president Dr. Robert C. Robbins said in a news release. “With a top-20 recruiting class this past year, an outstanding season, and the kind of integrity and dedication we value at the University of Arizona, he has earned this vote of confidence and I am excited for the bright future he is building for this program.”

The Wildcats’ best moment this season was a 34-28 road victory over then-No. 9 UCLA. They also defeated rival Arizona State 38-35 in the regular-season finale.

Arizona’s other victories this season were against San Diego State, North Dakota State and Colorado.

“This new contract will allow us to continue to build and improve in all areas,” Fisch said in the news release. “This would not be possible without the incredible efforts of our players and coaches, to whom I am incredibly grateful.”

Fisch, 46, served two games as UCLA’s interim coach in 2017 after the firing of Jim Mora. He spent two seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as an offensive assistant following that campaign and was the New England Patriots’ quarterback coach in 2020 before being hired by Arizona.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats running back Michael Wiley (6) runs for a touchdown against diving Arizona State Sun Devils linebacker Merlin Robertson (8) in the first half of the Territorial Cup at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona holds on to beat ASU for first time in 6 years

Michael Wiley ran for 214 yards and three touchdowns, and Isaiah Taylor intercepted a pass with 1:16 to go as host Arizona ended a five-game losing streak to rival Arizona State with a 38-35 victory Friday in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (5-7, 3-6 Pac-12) had a chance to put the game away late but failed to convert fourth-and-1 at the ASU 27, giving the ball back to the Sun Devils with 1:33 to go and no timeouts left. ASU drove to its 43 before Jacob Manu hit Trenton Bourguet as he threw, and Taylor picked off the floating pass at midfield.

It was Manu’s second big defensive play late in the game. Arizona was protecting the 38-35 lead when Arizona State (3-9, 2-7) was facing third-and-6 at the Arizona 20. Manu blitzed off the edge and knocked the ball loose from Bourguet and the Wildcats recovered with 3:17 remaining.

Wiley, a junior, scored on runs of 51 and 72 yards while setting a career high in rushing yards on just 12 carries. He also caught three passes for 51 yards as Arizona took possession of the Territorial Cup for the first time since 2016.

Bourguet, a junior from Tucson who walked on at ASU in 2019, was mostly brilliant against his hometown school, completing 37 of 49 passes for 376 yards and three touchdowns. But two interceptions and the lost fumble were costly.

ASU interim coach Shaun Aguano finished with a 2-7 record.

ASU led 14-10 at halftime but the Wildcats were up 31-28 after a wild, back-and-forth third quarter in which the teams combined for 429 total yards and five touchdowns.

The Sun Devils forced Arizona into a three-and-out to begin the fourth quarter and forged ahead 35-31 when Bourguet connected with Jalin Conyers for a 4-yard score with 11:04 to go. The Wildcats answered with a 6-yard touchdown run from DJ Williams for a 38-35 advantage, the sixth lead change of the game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Trenton Bourguet (16) throws a pass under pressure from Oregon State Beavers defensive lineman Sione Lolohea (90) during the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona, Arizona State chase feel-good finale

Neither team will be traveling this bowl season, but either Arizona or Arizona State can walk away feeling good after playing for the Territorial Cup on Friday in Tucson, Ariz.

The visiting Sun Devils (3-8, 2-6 Pac-12) are looking for a new head coach after firing Herm Edwards during the season and will finish with just their fourth losing regular season since 2003. Amid their troubles, they would love to continue to claim superiority over their neighbors to the south, looking to win their sixth consecutive game in the rivalry.

“It’s absolutely amazing that you can win one football game and most of the rest of the season will be forgotten,” said Arizona State’s Shaun Aguano, who has gone 2-6 as interim head coach. “It’s a legacy for this class.”

For Arizona (4-7, 2-6), ending the losing streak to Arizona State and finishing with five victories would widely be considered a successful second season for coach Jedd Fisch. The Wildcats’ triumphs include beating then-No. 12 UCLA on Nov. 12, but they were eliminated from bowl consideration by losing 31-20 at home to Washington State last Saturday.

“It’s a huge game for older guys that have been a part of this program for a while and having not gotten a win,” Fisch said of the matchup with the Sun Devils. “It’s a big, big game for our young guys … to take the momentum of winning this game into the offseason.”

Turnovers have been a common theme in Arizona’s losses, including when Jayden de Laura threw four interceptions last week. But when he is in sync with a talented group of receivers — de Laura ranks fifth nationally at 316.8 passing yards per game — the Wildcats are dangerous.

Arizona State recently turned to quarterback Trenton Bourguet, who supplanted Florida transfer Emory Jones. Bourguet, who is from Tucson, will be a major storyline this week, but the Sun Devils’ key offensive player is running back Xazavian Valladay, who has rushed for 1,095 yards. He will be going against an Arizona run defense that rates 125th nationally (213.5 yards per game).

The Sun Devils’ five-game run against Arizona is the longest in the rivalry since the Wildcats won five in a row from 1982 to 1986 to start a nine-year unbeaten streak that included a tie in 1987. Arizona State won 70-7 when the teams last met in Tucson in 2020, prompting Arizona to fire coach Kevin Sumlin.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) passes the ball in the first half against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona QB, make it ‘personal’ with Washington State

“It’s Personal” serves as the Arizona football slogan in 2022. The sentiment certainly applies to quarterback Jayden de Laura in Saturday’s matchup against Washington State in Tucson, Ariz.

De Laura was the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last season with the Cougars, but Washington State went in a different direction. The Cougars brought in FCS star Cameron Ward, who followed his head coach at Incarnate Word, Eric Morris, to Pullman. Morris is WSU’s offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

De Laura, meanwhile, looked around for greener grass, finding it at quarterback-needy Arizona.

“Just watch,” de Laura said of this week’s game. “It’s personal.”

De Laura has been a game-changer at Arizona, ranking sixth nationally in passing yards (312.8 per game). His ability to extend plays was critical last Saturday as the Wildcats (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) upset then-No. 12 UCLA 34-28 in Pasadena. Arizona needs to beat Washington State and then Arizona State to become bowl eligible after going 1-11 in 2021.

Ward already has helped lead the Cougars (6-4, 3-4) to bowl eligibility. He is passing for 257.9 yards per game, but defense has been more of the team’s calling card of late. Washington State has allowed more than 24 points in just two games (Oregon, Southern California) this season.

The Cougars rank 20th nationally in scoring defense at 19.8 points per game. Coach Jake Dickert said he expects a challenge from de Laura, acknowledging that he had seen the quarterback’s comments this week.

“I’ve always been really impressed with what Jayden can do,” Dickert said. “I appreciate everything he’s done for us. … Sometimes change is good for everybody.”

Arizona, which lost starting left tackle Jordan Morgan for the rest of the season due to a reported knee injury last week, will be trying to win consecutive games for the first time since early October 2019.

“We need to find a way to get grounded quick,” said coach Jedd Fisch. “Our guys, they seem very grounded. They seem focused on trying to get another one.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz (86) against the Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cardinals TE Zach Ertz leaves with knee injury

Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz left Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Rams with a knee injury and was ruled questionable to return.

Ertz made a catch in the first quarter and was brought down by a pair of Rams defenders before he began to favor his knee. He went to the sideline and was later taken by a cart to the locker room as the first quarter was coming to a close.

Ertz’s 12-yard catch off a pass from Colt McCoy was his lone reception of the game.

McCoy also left briefly during the third quarter with a left leg injury but returned to the game. McCoy started Sunday’s game for an injured Kyler Murray (hamstring).

Acquired in a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles last season, Ertz had 46 receptions for 394 yards and four touchdowns this season entering Sunday. In 10 seasons, the three-time Pro Bowl selection has 681 receptions for 7,235 yards and 45 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA;  Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) passes the ball in the first half against the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona stops No. 12 UCLA’s last-gasp drive in 34-28 win

Jayden de Laura passed for 315 yards and two touchdowns, and Arizona’s defense made a last-second stop as the Wildcats eliminated any College Football Playoff hopes for No. 12 UCLA with a 34-28 upset in Pasadena, Calif., on Saturday night.

UCLA (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) began its final drive at its 28 with 1:07 left and no timeouts. The Bruins reached the Arizona 29, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw four incomplete passes, including a heave to a diving Jake Bobo at the back of the end zone on the final play.

Arizona (4-6, 2-5) ended a four-game skid and beat a ranked team for the first time since defeating No. 19 Oregon on Oct. 27, 2018.

de Laura completed 22 of 28 passes without an interception. Jacob Cowing caught nine passes for 118 yards.

Arizona had enough offense to offset the return of UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet, who missed last week’s game at Arizona State due to an unspecified injury. He ran for 181 yards and three touchdowns, also catching nine passes for 38 yards. Thompson-Robinson was 26 of 39 for 245 yards and a touchdown.

Arizona led for most of the game and went up 24-21 with 13:20 to go on Tyler Loop’s 35-yard field goal, but UCLA grabbed its first advantage three minutes later when Charbonnet rushed for his third touchdown, a 5-yarder. He rushed six times for 66 yards on the go-ahead drive, including converting a fourth-and-3 with a 6-yard gain.

The Wildcats snatched back the lead with 6:34 left when de Laura hit Tetairoa McMillan for a 17-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 for a 31-28 advantage.

UCLA then failed to convert fourth-and-6 at its 36 with 5:47 to go. Arizona wasn’t able to put the game away, taking valuable time off the clock but settling for Loop’s 23-yard field goal with 1:07 left.

Arizona led 14-0 late in the first quarter on two Michael Wiley touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — and was up 21-14 at halftime after de Laura scored on a 3-yard keeper with 2:01 left.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) reacts after running for a touchdown against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

Ncaa Ucla At Asu

No. 12 UCLA looks to use run game against Arizona

No. 12 UCLA can run the ball, and Arizona has trouble stopping it. The teams’ Saturday night matchup in Pasadena, Calif., might not get more complicated than that.

The Bruins (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12) are seventh nationally and first in the conference in rushing yards per game (242.3), and they are coming off a 402-yard performance on the ground in a 50-36 road win over Arizona State, despite star running back Zach Charbonnet being unavailable due to injury.

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson contributed 120 rushing yards, Kazmeir Allen rushed for 137 and Keegan Jones added 98.

“It’s a credit to our depth from a skill position standpoint,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “I thought our offensive line and tight ends played really, really well. They understood it was a challenge. When you lose somebody like Zach, that’s a big blow to your football team. … I think our offense, guys on the offensive side of the ball, really responded when they knew that Zach wasn’t gonna play after warmups and what are we gonna do.”

Charbonnet, third nationally with 137.7 yards per game, practiced on Tuesday and likely won’t want to miss a chance to run against the Wildcats (3-6, 1-5). They are 125th in the country in rushing defense, allowing 218.7 yards per game, and have given up 300 rushing yards in a game three times this season.

Arizona has made strides in coach Jedd Fisch’s second season, notably on offense, but needs to play a clean game to compete against the top teams in the Pac-12.

That didn’t happen last week. Arizona fumbled seven times, losing four, in a 45-20 loss in the rain at Utah. Quarterback Jayden de Laura, who has been brilliant but inconsistent, threw for a season-low 159 yards.

“The elements were kind of affecting us,” Fisch said. “I thought we didn’t really handle the full passing game the way we normally would. We certainly are a better football team than we showed.”

The Wildcats might be without leading receiver Jacob Cowing, who was considered questionable on Monday due to a leg injury.

UCLA didn’t see any movement in the College Football Playoff rankings, but still has an outside shot at making the final four. Winning out against Arizona, USC and Cal would land the Bruins in the Pac-12 title game, where they potentially could avenge their only loss — to Oregon.

Kelly has been vocal about late kickoffs affecting how many people get to see — and properly evaluate — his team. This week’s game begins at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

“We had a team run for 400 yards last Saturday night and no one knows about it,” Kelly said. “We’ve got a good football team and I hope people get a chance to see us play.”

While this week’s matchup favors the high-powered UCLA offense, Kelly has been fretting about his defense. UCLA gave up 349 passing yards and 30 first downs last week versus ASU.

“I talked to it a little bit after the game, but I think with the amount of missed tackles we had, we’ve got to do a better job in open spaces,” Kelly said. “And part of that is gang tackling, getting more than one guy to the ball.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes wide receiver Devaughn Vele (17) has a pass knocked away by Arizona Wildcats cornerback Christian Roland-Wallace (4) in the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Utah uses rushing attack to rout Arizona

No. 14 Utah grabbed an early lead and then leaned on its running game while its defense recovered four fumbles to keep visiting Arizona at bay in a 45-20 win on Saturday night in Salt Lake City.

The Utes (7-2, 5-1 Pac-12) ran 55 times for 306 yards, attempting only four passes after halftime while delivering the Wildcats (3-6, 1-5) their fourth consecutive loss. Utah quarterback Cam Rising, who missed the team’s previous game with an undisclosed injury, completed 13 of 25 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown.

Ja’Quinden Jackson had 13 rushes for 97 yards and a touchdown, and Jaylon Glover gained 69 yards on eight attempts. Both left the game in the third quarter with injuries and did not return.

The team’s leading rusher, Tavion Thomas, who had missed the previous game, then made his first appearance and finished with eight carries for 38 yards. Micah Bernard contributed 48 yards on 12 attempts.

Arizona’s Jayden de Laura completed 10 of 20 throws for 159 yards but was lifted after Utah went up 38-10 on Rising’s touchdown pass to Thomas Yassmin with 10:16 to go.

Utah, playing without tight end Dalton Kincaid after he was injured in the previous game, led 28-10 at halftime and added a 27-yard field goal with 4:31 to go in the third quarter for a 31-10 advantage. The Wildcats never threatened after that, scoring their last 10 points in the final 2:31.

Early in the game, the Utes scored touchdowns on three consecutive drives to take a 21-7 lead with 11:21 to go in the second quarter.

That was still the score when Arizona’s Jacob Cowing muffed a punt in the rain, with Utah recovering at the Wildcats 9. One play later, Nate Johnson took a direct snap and rushed around the left end for a touchdown with 3:23 left before halftime. The Wildcats added a 30-yard field goal in the final minute to make it 28-10 at the half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) reacts to a dropped pass against the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

With Seahawks up next, Cardinals know they need to make move now

If the Arizona Cardinals are to make a move in the NFC West this season, now would be the time to do it.

The last-place Cardinals (3-5) will host the division-leading Seattle Seahawks (5-3) on Sunday, followed by games against the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers.

“Obviously, not a lot of wiggle room left, with three division games and where we’re at record-wise,” Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “If you are able to win all three, there’s an opportunity to be right there and have a piece of first place at the end of this deal. Our guys understand that after starting the way we did, that’s a great carrot out in front of you.”

The return of receiver DeAndre Hopkins from a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs has sparked Arizona’s offense — he had 12 catches for 159 yards and a touchdown last week — but Kyler Murray threw two costly second-half interceptions in a 34-26 loss at Minnesota. Murray passed for 326 yards and a season-high three touchdowns.

“We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and practice better,” Hopkins said. “You guys see that we are right there and not getting blown out. This was one of the best teams in the NFL, and we had a chance to win.”

The Cardinals and Seahawks met three weeks ago in Seattle, with the hosts prevailing 19-9. Arizona’s lone touchdown came when its special teams fell on a fumble by Seahawks punter Michael Dickson in the end zone.

That was the beginning of a renaissance for Seattle’s then-No. 32 ranked defense. The Seahawks allowed one touchdown in last week’s 27-13 victory against the visiting New York Giants — on a 2-yard drive after a lost fumble.

“Confidence and swagger,” veteran linebacker Bruce Irvin said of Seattle’s defensive turnaround. “Guys are finally believing in themselves, are believing in one another, and if we have a messed-up play, we don’t dwell on it, we move on to the next play.”

Rookie Kenneth Walker III rushed for a fourth-quarter touchdown and quarterback Geno Smith threw for two TDs as Seattle won its third consecutive game.

After trading away Russell Wilson in the offseason, most prognosticators figured it would be the Seahawks in last place midway through the season, not first.

“I hate that we were crappy early in the year and we weren’t doing stuff right, but we held on to it and we knew — we felt like we knew where we could go, and we’re getting going,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “All the people that doubt — we run the ball too much, you don’t understand football and he can’t stay up with the new game and all that kind of stuff — that’s a bunch of crap, I’m telling you.

“We’re doing fine. We’re all right. I don’t mind proving it day in and day out.”

The Seahawks, who are 7-1-1 in their past nine games at Arizona, are relatively healthy. Only wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and outside linebacker Darrell Taylor missed practice, both with groin injuries.

The Cardinals placed running back Darrel Williams (hip) on injured reserve Wednesday. They also had three offensive linemen miss practice time this week — Rodney Hudson (knee), Max Garcia (shoulder) and D.J. Humphries (back). On defense, safety Budda Baker (ankle), cornerback Christian Matthew (hamstring) and lineman Jonathan Ledbetter (ribs) have also been sidelined.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) throws against the USC Trojans in the second half at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Utah hosts Arizona but lineup mystery lingers

Utah enters the final month of the regular season at No. 14 in the College Football Playoff rankings, hunting a Pac-12 title. But multiple mysteries muddy the waters as the Utes prepare to face Arizona on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Utah (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) was without several key players, including quarterback Cam Rising, in a 21-17 victory at Washington State on Oct. 27. Coach Kyle Whittingham, who doesn’t talk about injuries unless they are season-ending, did not rule out anybody new during his Monday press conference.

But who’s in? Who knows.

Whittingham did add: “Cam is much further ahead today than he was a week ago today” and that “we certainly hope so” when asked if Rising would play Saturday.

Standout tight end Dalton Kincaid left the Washington State game with a shoulder injury, leaving the Utes thin at what was a strong position. Brant Kuithe is out for the season with a torn ACL. Kincaid has a team-high 46 catches for 614 yards and seven scores, and Utah would need more out of a pedestrian receiving corps if he is unavailable.

The team’s leading rusher, Tavion Thomas, missed the Washington State game, and Whittingham only offered “nothing to divulge there,” on Monday.

Utah is tied for third with UCLA in the conference standings, trailing Oregon (5-0) and USC (5-1). Arizona (3-5, 1-4) has lost three consecutive games but isn’t the same pushover as last season, when it went 1-11 overall in coach Jedd Fisch’s first season.

The Wildcats are averaging 32.2 points per game, up by an average of 15 from last season.

“Our offense is hitting on all cylinders right now,” Fisch said. “I think we’ve moved up 80 spots (nationally) in almost every offensive category. So that’s what’s exciting.”

Quarterback Jayden de Laura is fourth nationally in passing (331.8 yards per game), and the trio of Jacob Cowing, Dorian Singer and Tetairoa McMillan form one of the most productive receiving corps in the nation.

Defense, however, remains a major issue for the Wildcats, who are allowing 475.0 yards per game and haven’t recorded a sack during their three-game skid. Arizona is also minus-0.62 in turnover margin for the season, needing a clean game to compete against the better teams on its schedule.

“We’ve got to find a way to just bring the point total down, get off the field a couple more times, and then take the ball away,” Fisch said. “If we can just take the ball away a few times, that’ll make a huge difference.”

For Utah, if Rising can’t go, walk-on Bryson Barnes would get his second start. He completed 17 of 27 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown against Washington State, also rushing for 51 yards.

“Bryson Barnes did an exceptional job under the circumstances,” Whittingham said. “Given the preparation, the lack thereof, he responded well.”

The Utes’ defense, which allowed 42 points in back-to-back games against UCLA (10-point loss) and Southern California (one-point win) before playing Washington State, will be without co-leading tackler R.J. Hubert in the first half. He was ejected for targeting in the second half against the Cougars.

–Field Level Media