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

Kentucky running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. (24) holds back Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers (1) during the NCAA college football game between Tennessee and Kentucky on Saturday, October 29, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn.


Unranked Kentucky tries to end slide vs. improving Missouri

Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz expects Kentucky to arrive eager to reestablish its standing at his team’s expense.

After rolling toward a 4-0 start, the Wildcats (5-3, 2-3 SEC) have lost three of their last four games heading into Saturday’s game in Columbia, Mo.

Kentucky is coming off an ugly 44-6 loss at Tennessee that kept it outside the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season.

“My anticipation is they’re going play their best game of the year,” Drinkwitz said. “They’re going to want to atone for last week. I know they’re all going to sit there and think that this is a game that they can come in and win and so it’s going to be important for us to play our best game.”

But Kentucky coach Mark Stoops is taking nothing for granted. The Tigers (4-4, 2-3) lost by three points in overtime at Auburn, by four points to Georgia and by seven points at Florida before beating Vanderbilt and upsetting South Carolina in their last two games.

“I give Coach Drink a lot of credit, because they had a brutal loss a few games back, with the Auburn game, where they were essentially an inch from winning the game,” Stoops said. “The team could’ve went any which way, and they turn around and play an incredible game, play Georgia as good as anybody has played them and had a tough loss, and go to Florida and play incredibly well. You could take a few plays out of that one and they can win.”

The Wildcats will be looking to get quarterback Will Levis back on track after he completed 16 of 27 passes for just 98 yards and three interceptions against Tennessee.

“It was tough,” Stoops said. “I think when the game was starting to get away from us, he’s forcing things. That’s the competitor in him. That’s human nature. We’re trying to force, trying to make plays.”

Kentucky is averaging just 112.6 yards per game on the ground this season, second-lowest in the SEC. But Chris Rodriguez Jr., La’Vell Wright, JuTahn McClain and Dee Beckwith combined for 130 yards rushing against Tennessee and Drinkwitz expects the Wildcats to prioritize the run.

“I think last year there was a stretch when they had 18 straight runs against us,” Drinkwitz said. “So we know this is going to be a tough physical matchup and the trenches.”

Missouri ranks second-to-last in the SEC with 210.8 passing yards per game. But quarterback Brady Cook passed for 224 yards and rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown against South Carolina.

His top target is Dominic Lovett, who caught 10 passes for 148 yards against the Gamecocks. Lead running back Cody Schrader had 113 yards from scrimmage in that game.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 K-State flying high ahead of big game vs. No. 24 Texas

Kansas State is coming off a historic victory. Now it’s time to prove that it was not a fluke.

The Wildcats, ranked No. 13 in the first College Football Playoff poll, defeated then-No. 9 Oklahoma State 48-0 last Saturday, the largest shutout ever over a top-10 team by a team lower in the rankings. It was the Wildcats’ first victory over the Cowboys in Chris Klieman’s four years as head coach.

They’ll face another squad Klieman hasn’t defeated when No. 24 Texas comes to Manhattan, Kan. on Saturday for a primetime showdown.

K-State (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) played exceptionally well against the Cowboys, and two Wildcats earned Big 12 player of the week honors. Quarterback Will Howard, who played for injured starter Adrian Martinez, earned offensive player of the week after going 21-of-37 for 296 passing yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Punter Ty Zentner was selected special teams player of the week after serving as punter, place kicker and kickoff specialist. He hit both field goals and all six extra points, plus placed two of his four punts inside the 20 without a touchback.

The defense shut out the Cowboys, who came into the game averaging 44.7 points per game, tied for third in the FBS. The last time the Cowboys were shut out was Nov. 28, 2009, when they were blanked by Oklahoma, 27-0. The Cowboys also were held to 217 yards of total offense, less than half their season average (466.9 yards per game).

Klieman knows it will take an equally stout effort to defeat the Longhorns.

“I know they’re extremely well coached and they have great talent,” Klieman said at his Tuesday press conference. “They’ll have some things we haven’t seen. We know they’ll attack us where other teams have hurt us.”

Klieman said he didn’t know whether Martinez or Howard will start Saturday, and he probably won’t say when he does figure it out.

“Adrian is closer (to playing),” the coach said, adding that Howard is playing well enough to consider starting him regardless of Martinez’s health.

Texas (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) was off last weekend after being defeated by the same Oklahoma State team that K-State pummeled. With a win over K-State, the Longhorns will have a good chance to compete for a spot in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 3. A loss will make it nearly impossible. The Longhorns lost to Oklahoma State and play conference-leading TCU, ranked seventh in the CFP, next week in Austin.

Texas is 3-7 all-time in Manhattan, including wins in each of the last two meetings. The Longhorns won the last game in Manhattan, 69-31, but that was against a COVID-depleted team in 2020.

No one expects that kind of result Saturday.

“They’re talented in all three phases,” head coach Steve Sarkisian said of the Wildcats. “They take care of the ball on offense and create a bunch of turnovers on defense. They limit their penalties. This is a great task, going on the road into a really cool environment, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Freshman quarterback Quinn Ewers will hope for improvement after he completed just 19 of 49 passes against the Cowboys for 319 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Bijan Robinson leads the Longhorns on the ground with 920 yards and 11 touchdowns; he’s broken the 100-yard mark in six straight games and gained at least 130 rushing yards in three straight.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) runs against the Utah Utes in the first quarter at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Southern California looks to return to win column vs. Arizona

No. 10 Southern California, after its bye week, will look to rev its offense against Arizona’s struggling defense Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.

The Trojans (6-1, 4-1 Pac-12) are averaging 40.4 points and 475.3 yards per game but still came up short their last time out, a 43-42 loss at Utah on Oct. 15. The Utes won on a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute.

“You get tested in a different way when you lose one, especially the way that one played out. It sends you one or two different ways,” USC coach Lincoln Riley said. “Everything I’ve seen of this team up to this point leads me to believe that we’ll handle it in a way that’ll bring us closer together and make us even better. Now we gotta go do it.”

Arizona (3-4, 1-3) also comes off a bye week, which resulted in freshman cornerback Ephesians Prysock, a one-time USC commit, earning more playing time, according to coach Jedd Fisch. The coach added that his defense might opt for more three-cornerback looks against the Trojans’ dynamic passing game.

USC’s Caleb Williams is averaging 281.6 passing yards per game, has a 19-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and is the team’s second-leading rusher with 235 yards. Jordan Addison (39 catches, 585 yards, seven TDs) and Mario Williams (26, 493, 4) lead the receiving corps. Addison is considered day-to-day with a leg injury, Riley said Tuesday.

Arizona’s problems on defense stem from an inability to get into the backfield. The Wildcats are 128th nationally in tackles for loss (3.9 per game) and tied for 117th in sacks (1.29 per game).

Arizona, in its past two games (Washington, Oregon), failed to record a sack or a quarterback hurry. USC transfer end Hunter Echols leads the team with 3.5 sacks.

It could also be a big day for Trojans running back Travis Dye, who has 647 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 6.4 yards per carry. Arizona is tied for 121st against the run, yielding 207.4 yards per game.

But the Wildcats have their best offense in several years, starting with quarterback Jayden de Laura. He has passed for at least 400 yards in three of the past four games, and Fisch would like to see him use his legs even more.

“He’s not getting sacked very often. He’s making plays with his feet,” Fisch said. “He’s running around. He’s very hard to tackle, very slithery back there. And I love that.”

Unlike Williams, however, de Laura has been turnover-prone, including seven interceptions. USC has thrived with a plus-2.14 turnover margin per game, the best mark in the country.

Arizona’s strong receiving corps is led by Jacob Cowing, who has 53 catches for 737 yards and seven touchdowns.

“We’ve played a couple of other good sets (of receivers),” Riley said, “but these guys are definitely right there, if not the best.”

USC has won nine in a row in the series and 18 of 20 since the Wildcats let go of coach Dick Tomey after the 2000 season. Despite the Trojans’ two-decades dominance in the win column, the games often have been unusually close, with 11 of the past 15 meetings being decided by seven points or fewer.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) throws a pass during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Texas Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022. Oklahoma State won 41-34.

Osu Vs Texas Football

No. 9 Oklahoma St., No. 22 Kansas St. meet as Big 12 contenders

In a game that could help determine one of the participants in the Big 12 Championship Game in December, No. 9 Oklahoma State will square off with No. 22 Kansas State on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan.

Both teams control their own destiny, but another loss will make it tough for either team to advance to Arlington, Texas on Dec. 3.

Both the Cowboys and the Wildcats suffered their only league loss so far to TCU, so the Horned Frogs own the tiebreaker against both teams. Texas is a half-game behind both squads, ready to move into a tie with the loser of this game while idle this weekend.

Oklahoma State (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) has the advantage over the Longhorns by virtue of their 41-34 victory last Saturday. K-State (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) will host Texas on Nov. 5.

Spencer Sanders threw for 391 yards and two touchdowns against the Longhorns. Sanders earned Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.

He hit Bryson Green with the game-winner with just over three minutes left. Green’s 41-yard touchdown came when he caught a pass on a slant, broke a tackle just inside the 35-yard line and raced to the end zone. Green had five catches and a career-high 133 yards.

Now the focus turns to the Wildcats. Head coach Mike Gundy knows it won’t be an easy trip to Manhattan like it used to be when he played for the Cowboys.

“Back then, they had the old turf field and the painted white Wildcat in the middle that would rip your skin off,” Gundy said Monday. “It stayed that way for all four of my years. There was nobody at those games.

“They’ve made as big of a transition in college football as anybody, in my opinion. That transition has been big. It’s been great for our conference. (The stadium) is full and they do a good job with their crowd and student section. It’s a great college environment.”

Saturday will mark the first time K-State will face top-10 teams in consecutive weeks since 2017. It’s also the first time that the Wildcats are facing three top-10 teams in one season since 2014. They defeated then-No. 6 Oklahoma 41-34 on the road on Sept. 24.

The biggest question for the Wildcats will be the health of some key players, including starting quarterback Adrian Martinez. Martinez left Saturday’s 38-28 loss at TCU after the first possession with an undisclosed injury. Backup Will Howard performed admirably before leaving with a shoulder injury late in the third quarter. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Jake Rubley, though Howard did return in the fourth quarter.

“We beat ourselves,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said after the game. “We didn’t make enough plays and in a tight ball game with two really good football teams, it comes down to making plays. I thought they made more (in) the second half. We obviously made more in the first half.

“Will played really well tonight. He made some big-time plays.”

If Martinez can’t play Saturday, it will be up to Howard to duplicate that effort against the Cowboys.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) warms up prior to a game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 TCU, No. 17 Kansas State clash in key Big 12 showdown

TCU quarterback Max Duggan is playing such a good brand of football that even the school’s men’s basketball coach has noticed.

“Max is doing really special things this year, and it is amazing to watch,” Jamie Dixon said.

That was before Duggan led the Horned Frogs back from a 30-16, fourth-quarter deficit last week to stop Big 12 foe Oklahoma State 43-40 in double overtime, allowing TCU to stay unbeaten.

This week, Duggan and No. 8 TCU host another ranked team when No. 17 Kansas State visits Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday night for another marquee Big 12 clash.

Duggan had some good moments during the previous three seasons for the Horned Frogs (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), but nothing quite like this. Through six games, he has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,591 yards with a 16-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Against Oklahoma State, Duggan found Jared Wiley for a game-tying, 10-yard touchdown pass with 1:57 left in regulation, then connected with Quentin Johnston for a 25-yard score to start overtime. After the Cowboys rallied with a touchdown and then a field goal on their possession in the second overtime, Kendre Miller sealed the outcome with a 2-yard touchdown run.

It was yet another notch in the belt of the senior QB who lost his starting job before the season opener at Colorado but regained it when Chandler Morris sprained his left knee. Duggan appears to be in no danger of giving the reins back anytime soon.

“Max Duggan continues to play as good a football as any quarterback I’ve ever been around,” first-year TCU coach Sonny Dykes said.

Duggan is getting help. Miller is on pace to rush for more than 1,150 yards, while Johnston could eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. That helps explain why the Horned Frogs rank third in FBS in scoring at 45.8 points per game.

Meanwhile, Kansas State (5-1, 3-0) is coming off an open date after squeaking past Iowa State 10-9 on Oct. 8 in Ames, Iowa. Since a 17-10 loss on Sept. 17 to Tulane, now ranked 25th, the Wildcats have logged close wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech and the Cyclones.

Those results took a lot out of Kansas State physically, but coach Chris Klieman and some of his players feel the bye week came at just the right time.

“I think a lot of people will be coming back rejuvenated,” Wildcats nose guard Eli Huggins said. “It was just a good break, physically and mentally, to get away from it for a second.”

It’s back to the grind for the Wildcats. The good news is they have a quarterback capable of matching Duggan bullet for bullet if this becomes a shootout. Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez accounted for 323 total yards at Iowa State, including an 81-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Brooks two minutes into the game.

Martinez has thrown 138 passes without an interception this season, completing 62.3 percent of them, and is on pace to rush for 1,000 yards for the first time in his five years.

Kansas State owns an 8-7 edge on TCU in the all-time series, including a 31-12 win last year in Manhattan, Kan.

–Field Level Media

Oct 8, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) runs the ball during the second half against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Oregon rushes for 306 yards in rout of Arizona

Bo Nix passed for 265 yards and ran for three touchdowns to lead a dominating offensive performance as No. 12 Oregon rolled past host Arizona 49-22 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Nix directed Oregon (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12) to touchdowns — all on the ground — on seven consecutive drives, capped by his 25-yard run for a 49-13 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter. He completed 20 of 25 passes, including 14 in a row at one point, and gained 70 yards on eight rushes.

Arizona (3-3, 1-2) rarely pressured Nix and never sacked him, also allowing the Ducks to rush for 306 yards. The Wildcats didn’t help themselves by committing three turnovers while playing in front of a crowd of 50,800 – the school’s first sellout since Sept. 26, 2015, against UCLA.

The Ducks shared the wealth on the ground, with five players rushing for touchdowns.

Noah Whittington, who ran for a game-high 92 yards on six carries, started Oregon’s scoring with a 55-yard burst in the first quarter, cutting to the middle near the line of scrimmage and outracing the defense to the end zone.

Jordan James ran 10 times for 69 yards and a touchdown. Bucky Irving had 12 carries for 67 yards and a score.

Oregon has won five consecutive games and scored at least 41 points in all of them.

Arizona’s Jayden de Laura completed 24 of 42 passes for 241 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

After Whittington’s 55-yard run late in the first quarter, Nix’s 42-yard pass to Kris Hutson set up a 2-yard quarterback sneak for a 14-3 lead on Oregon’s next possession.

Oregon finished the half with 346 total yards with the help of two more long scoring drives (86 and 75 yards). After James’ 1-yard run put Oregon up 28-10 with 34 seconds to go before halftime, Arizona responded with a 43-yard run by Jonah Coleman to set up a 36-yard field goal from Tyler Loop on the final play of the half.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2022; Oxford, Mississippi, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Will Levis (7) during the first half against the Mississippi Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky QB Will Levis (foot) out against South Carolina

No. 13 Kentucky is without starting quarterback Will Levis for Saturday night’s home game against South Carolina.

Levis was on the sideline during warmups with a boot on his foot to protect an injury first announced last Wednesday.

Redshirt freshman Kaiya Sheron started for the Wildcats, making his second appearance of the season after playing in the 31-0 win over Youngstown State on Sept. 17.

Levis has thrown for 1,405 yards with 12 touchdowns and four interceptions this season to lead Kentucky to a 4-1 record, including a 1-1 mark in Southeastern Conference play.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) fumbles after being hit by California Golden Bears linebacker Orin Patu (48) during the third quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona, Colorado look for Pac-12 breakthrough

Arizona is focusing on improving its rushing defense ahead of the Wildcats’ Pac-12 home opener against winless Colorado on Saturday in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) gave up 354 rushing yards in a 49-31 loss at Cal last week and allowed 283 in a win over FCS North Dakota State a week earlier. Arizona ranks 125th out of 131 teams nationally against the run.

“Tackling would always be the starting point,” said Arizona coach Jedd Fisch, vowing an increased emphasis on fundamentals in drills this week. “It’s that first tackle that (they’re) breaking through. I think the other part of it is that we weren’t necessarily in our gaps.”

It’s debatable as to whether the Buffaloes (0-4, 0-1) can take advantage. They haven’t scored more than 17 points in a game and have lost all four matchups by at least 25 points. They are averaging just 102.8 rushing yards a game and will be starting a true freshman quarterback, Owen McCown, for the second time.

In a 45-17 loss to UCLA, the Buffaloes managed just 51 yards on 34 rushing attempts. McCown completed 26 of 42 for 258 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He also fumbled twice, although one of the UCLA recoveries was negated by penalty.

“I felt like he had an OK performance, close to a solid performance,” Colorado coach Karl Dorrell said. “Did he make some mistakes? Yes, a couple big turnovers that led to some scoring opportunities for UCLA. But his overall body of work was pretty solid.”

Not much else has been solid so far for the Buffaloes, who are last in the country in rushing defense (323.2 yards allowed per game).

Arizona has a deep stable of capable backs, but the focus of the offense has been quarterback Jayden de Laura, who has been hot and cold in his first season after transferring from Washington State. He has thrown for 1,149 yards and eight touchdowns, but he has been intercepted six times and lost a fumble last week. His top target is Jacob Cowing (28 catches, 386 yards, six touchdowns).

The Wildcats have topped 30 points three times this season after doing so only once in 2021. But in their two games against teams from Power Five conferences, they have allowed an average of 44.

–Field Level Media