Sep 24, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Dorian Singer (5) is tackled by California Golden Bears safety Daniel Scott (32) during the second quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Cal wallops Arizona behind Jaydn Ott’s 274 rushing yards

Jaydn Ott rushed for 274 yards and three touchdowns, including a game-sealing 72-yard romp, as Cal dominated the second half and beat Arizona 49-31 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams in Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday.

Ott, who twice has been selected the Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, set career highs for carries (19) and rushing yardage. He kick-started his day with a 73-yard touchdown run on the second snap of the game.

Cal (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) won its sixth consecutive home game. The Bears snapped a six-game losing streak to Arizona (2-2, 0-1).

Cal made three defensive stops and scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, including an 18-yard run from Ott, to take a 35-24 lead. The momentum continued, as Jack Plummer connected with Jeremiah Hunter on a 37-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Wildcats responded with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Jayden de Laura to Jacob Cowing to make it 42-31 with 12:36 to go.

The Bears thwarted the comeback bid when Daniel Scott picked off de Laura at the Cal 6 with about six minutes to go. Two plays later, Ott took a pitch and burst through the line and reached the end zone with 4:56 remaining.

Cal intercepted de Laura in the end zone on the next possession. The Arizona sophomore threw for a career-high 401 yards but was intercepted twice and also lost a fumble in the third quarter. Cowing caught seven passes for 133 yards. Dorian Singer hauled in eight receptions for 103 yards.

Plummer completed 18 of 28 passes for 245 yards, with three TDs and no interceptions.

Ott’s 73-yard touchdown run in the first minute ignited a back-and-forth first half that featured a combined 624 yards of offense.

Arizona went up 14-7, but the Bears tied the score at 14 and then 21 before the Wildcats answered late in the half. Tyler Loop’s 37-yard field goal with 40 seconds left allowed Arizona to go into halftime up 24-21.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona attempts to continue winning ways against Cal

Arizona will ride rare momentum into Saturday’s game against Cal in the Pac-12 opener for both teams in Berkeley, Calif.

The Wildcats (2-1) are coming off a 31-28 victory over FCS No. 1 North Dakota State and have doubled their win total from last season. Arizona’s only triumph in 2021 was a 10-3 decision against Cal, which had to leave several key players at home due to COVID-19.

Cal (2-1) is close to full strength this time around, although it is still smarting from a tough 24-17 loss at Notre Dame. Bears coach Justin Wilcox was still answering questions this week about a controversial offside call that led to the Fighting Irish’s first touchdown.

“I don’t even know how to respond to that one,” Wilcox said.

Cal will try to move forward with a solid defense led by inside linebackers Jackson Sirmon and Oluwafemi Oladejo, who have combined for 60 tackles. The Bears are allowing 17 points per game, but Arizona’s offense might be the best they have seen so far.

The leader of Arizona’s revamped roster is Washington State transfer quarterback Jayden de Laura, who added a new element to his game last week. Reluctant to run in the first two games, de Laura ran 10 times for 50 yards while also completing 20 of 28 passes for 229 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

“We’re not really (a run-pass-option) team, but we’re able to use the quarterback in the running game, and I think (de Laura) does a good job of ball-handling,” Arizona coach Jedd Fisch said. “He’s a creative kid. So he does all sorts of things.”

Cal has been modest on offense, averaging 23.7 points behind quarterback Jack Plummer, whose brother, Will, is a backup QB for Arizona. Jack Plummer has completed 67 of 111 passes for 730 yards with five TDs and two interceptions.

The Wildcats have scored more than 30 points twice this season after doing so once last year.

Arizona has won six in a row against the Bears, who enter the game with a five-game overall home winning streak.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona rallies past FCS power North Dakota State

Jayden de Laura threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Cowing with 4:53 left as host Arizona beat the top-ranked FCS team, North Dakota State, 31-28 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Bison (2-1) were forced to punt with 2:55 to go, and Arizona (2-1) gained one first down before running out the clock.

The winning drive came after the Wildcats’ defense stopped the Bison on fourth-and-2 from the Arizona 23 with 8:59 left. Arizona then marched 78 yards on 10 plays, including a fourth-and-1 conversion pass to Cowing from the NDSU 27.

de Laura completed 20 of 28 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 50 yards and a score.

North Dakota State’s Hunter Luepke ran for 115 yards and scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving), accounting for 180 yards of offense. The Bison ran for 283 yards.

North Dakota State, which has won nine of the past 11 FCS championships, had won six consecutive games against FBS competition, with the last such matchup coming six years ago to the day (Iowa).

Luepke rushed for two scores in the third quarter as North Dakota State took a 28-24 lead.

His second rushing touchdown came on a 38-yarder after he appeared to be stopped for a short gain, but he broke free from arm tackles and emerged through the traffic to score with 2:07 to go in the quarter.

The Arizona defense made a key play in the first half.

With the score tied at 7 in the second quarter, NDSU reached the Arizona 5 before Hunter Echols sacked Cam Miller and forced a fumble, recovered by the Wildcats. Arizona then went 83 yards, capped by de Laura’s 7-yard touchdown run, for a 14-7 lead at the 5:45 mark.

The Bison responded with quarterback Miller’s 2-yard keeper at the end of a 75-yard drive to tie the game with 50 seconds to go before halftime.

That was enough time for Arizona to go 56 yards to set up Tyler Loop’s 36-yard field goal on the last play of the half for a 17-14 lead.

–Field Level Media

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.

Syndication Arizona Republic

Arizona refocused, draws FCS powerhouse North Dakota State

Arizona wraps up a challenging nonconference schedule when it hosts North Dakota State, the top-rated team in the Football Championship Subdivision, on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Wildcats (1-1) opened with a victory at San Diego State before falling to visiting Mississippi State 39-17 on Saturday. Quarterback Jayden de Laura, who was selected Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week after the opener, was inconsistent in Week 2 as the offense struggled.

De Laura threw three interceptions supported by a ground game managed just 40 yards on 22 carries. Coach Jedd Fisch is looking for de Laura to take scrambling opportunities to run rather than force the ball into trouble downfield.

“Jayden extended plays and probably could have run or thrown it away, and then we wouldn’t be having much of a conversation about the turnovers,” Fisch said. “Just throw it away and live another down.”

Nothing will be easy against the Bison (2-0), although they will be without pro prospect defensive tackle Eli Mostaert, who suffered a broken fibula in Saturday’s 43-3 win over North Carolina A&T.

“Injuries are the part of the game that you hate,” said NDSU coach Matt Entz. “They make you sick, especially since he was giving great effort.”

North Dakota State has won nine of the past 11 FCS championships, including in 2019 and 2021 under Entz. This matchup will be the Bisons’ first-ever game against a Pac-12 school and will mark the first time in exactly six years that they played an FBS foe (Iowa). They have won six consecutive games against FBS competition and are 9-3 all-time against teams from college football’s top level.

Quarterback Cam Miller, who led the 2021 championship drive, is back in a power offense that features standout fullback Hunter Luepke (three touchdowns in last year’s title game), a deep stable of tailbacks and tight end Noah Gindorff. NDSU is rushing for 211.5 yards per game after averaging 280.6 last season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver Rara Thomas (0) runs the ball against Arizona Wildcats cornerback Isaiah Rutherford (2) during the first half at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi St. QB Will Rogers carves up Arizona in rout

Will Rogers passed for 313 yards and four touchdowns as Mississippi State overcame three turnovers to beat host Arizona 39-17 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Mississippi State (2-0) twice stopped Arizona on fourth down in Bulldogs’ territory in the fourth quarter while protecting a 15-point lead. MSU sealed the victory with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Caleb Ducking with 3:18 to go.

Arizona (1-1) struggled offensively. Quarterback Jayden de Laura completed 23 of 45 passes for 220 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions. The Wildcats rushed for only 40 yards, including Michael Wiley’s 34-yard scoring run on the game’s first drive.

Rogers was content to efficiently work the short passing game, completing 39 of 49 throws, with none going longer than 20 yards. He was intercepted once.

Mississippi State, which led 18-10 at halftime, marched 75 yards on the opening drive of the second half, capped by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Austin Williams.

After de Laura threw his second interception on the ensuing possession, Arizona got back in the game when Jaxen Turner stripped the ball from receiver Jamire Calvin, recovering it and returning it 47 yards to the 4. The Wildcats scored two plays later on a 2-yard pass to Jacob Cowing to make it 25-17 with 7:37 left in the third quarter.

Mississippi State turned momentum back in its favor late in the quarter. Tyrus Wheat deflected a pass at the line of the scrimmage that Nathaniel Watson intercepted and returned 51 yards to the Arizona 11.

The Bulldogs then gambled on fourth-and-3, with Rogers hitting Williams on a quick slant for a TD with 14:17 to go in the game.

Mississippi State scored touchdowns on its first two possessions, but Massimo Biscardi missed the PAT after both scores. Backup kicker Ben Raybon came on to hit a 39-yard field goal for a 15-7 lead late in the first quarter and connected from 22 yards with 33 seconds left before halftime to make it 18-10.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Mike Leach reacts after a play against the Memphis Tigers during the fourth quarter at Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Leach faces familiar foe as Mississippi St. visits Arizona

Mike Leach returns to Pac-12 country when Mississippi State travels to play Arizona for the Wildcats’ home opener on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

Leach spent eight seasons as the coach at Washington State before taking over the Bulldogs for the 2020 season. He went 4-2 against Arizona while with the Cougars, with his team scoring 69 points in two of those games.

Mississippi State (1-0) opened the season last Saturday with a 49-23 home victory in a lightning-delayed game against Memphis. Standout quarterback Will Rogers completed 38 of 49 passes for 450 yards and five touchdowns, all to different teammates. The Bulldogs rolled to 34 first downs.

Leach’s Air Raid offense will be a wildly different attack from what the Wildcats (1-0) saw last week in a surprising 38-20 victory against the host San Diego State Aztecs, whose modest passing game was held to 62 yards on 16 attempts.

“Mike Leach is always going to have very good passers,” Arizona head coach Jedd Fisch said. “There’s nothing really surprising in terms of the fact that he’s producing a 400-yard passer. That’s what he does.”

Arizona counters with Jayden de Laura, a Washington State transfer who committed to the Cougars while Leach was there. De Laura was excellent in his Arizona debut last week, completing 22 of 35 passes for 299 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.

“He’s a very competitive guy and a good player,” Leach said. “He’s got quick feet. The ball comes off his hand quickly, and he’s accurate. He’s definitely a good player. He’s competitive, and he makes that side of the ball for them competitive.”

De Laura and UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing (eight catches, 152 yards, three TDs last week) sparked the offense against San Diego State and provided hope for a big 2022 turnaround. Last season, the Wildcats scored 20-plus points in a game only twice in a 1-11 season.

This is the first meeting between Arizona and Mississippi State. They are scheduled to play next season in Starkville, Miss.

–Field Level Media

Sep 3, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) looks to pass against the San Diego State Aztecs during the first half at Snapdragon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona spoils San Diego State’s stadium debut

Jayden de Laura led a new-look Arizona offense, throwing for 299 yards and four touchdowns as the visiting Wildcats surprised San Diego State 38-20 on Saturday in the debut of the Aztecs’ new on-campus stadium.

De Laura, a transfer from Washington State, connected on scoring passes of 17, 4 and 25 yards to UTEP transfer receiver Jacob Cowing. The other touchdown pass went to freshman Tetairoa McMillan, while Florida State transfer DJ Williams ran for a team-best 88 yards and one score.

San Diego State, in the season-opener for both teams in Snapdragon Stadium, managed just 232 yards. Virginia Tech transfer Braxton Burmeister completed 5 of 10 passes for 51 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, before leaving midway through the third quarter with a reported right shoulder injury.

De Laura completed 22 of 35 passes. Cowing made eight receptions for 152 yards.

Arizona led 31-10 in the third quarter, but San Diego State briefly rallied with the help of a bizarre touchdown. Arizona’s Kyle Ostendorp, punting from the back of his end zone, kicked the ball into the arm of his backfield blocker, with the Aztecs recovering to make it 31-17 with 7:46 to go in the quarter.

After an SDSU field goal, Williams gave Arizona the breathing room it needed with a 10-yard run to make it 38-20 with 13:02 left in the game.

Arizona, which entered having lost 23 of its past 24 games, scored on its first three possessions, going up 17-3, but then lost a fumble at its 32. San Diego State took advantage, with Burmeister converting on fourth-and-2 by throwing an 11-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Shavers with 4:49 left in the first half.

The Aztecs intercepted de Laura at the UA 40 on the next possession. But a 25-yard touchdown run was called back by a holding penalty and, one play later, Arizona’s Jaxen Turner picked off a tipped pass.

The Wildcats then marched 54 yards and went up 24-10 with 28 seconds left before halftime when Cowing caught a 4-yard pass.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats head coach Jedd Fisch against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the Territorial Cup at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

As San Diego State opens new stadium, Arizona attempts reboot

San Diego State will debut a new quarterback and open its on-campus stadium when it begins the season Saturday against visiting Arizona.

The Aztecs, coming off a 12-2 season built on a stingy defense and solid running game, should have another shut-down unit, led by All-America-caliber safety Patrick McMorris. The big question is what a revamped offense looks like under the direction of quarterback Braxton Burmeister, who is coming home for his final year of eligibility.

Burmeister, who twice committed to Arizona while in high school, instead signed with Oregon before playing the past two seasons at Virginia Tech, where he passed for 2,647 yards.

He’ll try to provide some highlights in the new 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium. SDSU spent the past two seasons playing home games in Carson, Calif.

“Just to be back home and see the fans here and the atmosphere … this is a beautiful stadium that we have,” said Aztecs wide receiver Jesse Matthews. “It’s really exciting.”

The Mountain West’s Aztecs, a potential target of the Pac-12 amid conference realignment, went 2-0 against the Pac-12 last season, including a 38-14 win over Arizona and an overtime victory over league champion Utah. San Diego State held the Wildcats to 230 yards last season, but second-year Arizona coach Jedd Fisch made big offseason upgrades to his offense, especially at quarterback and wide receiver.

Jayden de Laura, the Pac-12 Offensive Freshman Player of the Year while at Washington State last season, takes over at quarterback. He completed 227 of 359 passes for 2,798 yards, with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2021.

“The quarterback position being secure adds a confidence among the locker room because you know who is taking those snaps, you know what he can do, you know what you want him to do,” Fisch said. “We feel very confident in Jayden.”

Arizona went 1-11 last season and has lost 23 of its past 24 games.

The addition of de Laura and big-play receivers — including UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing and 6-foot-5 four-star recruit Tetairoa McMillan — offers hope that the Wildcats can turn close losses into narrow wins. They were within one score of BYU, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, USC and Utah in the fourth quarter last season but often faded late.

–Field Level Media

June 14, 2022; Tempe, Arizona; USA; Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) throws during camp at the Tempe Training facility.

Nfl Cardinals Mandatory Camp At Arizona Cardinals

Going Camping: Arizona Cardinals

It looked like the Arizona Cardinals might have a playoff run in the tank last season, but the 2021 season ended in a 34-11 loss to the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the wild-card round.

The Cardinals didn’t make much of a splash in the offseason, but focused on keeping their roster intact — and signing quarterback Kyler Murray to a $230.5 million deal.

Training camp location: Glendale, Arizona
State Farm Stadium
Rookie report date: July 21
Veteran report date: July 26

Key acquisitions: WR Marquise Brown, CB Jeff Gladney, LB Nick Vigil, TE Stephen Anderson, RB Darrel Williams
Key losses: LB Jordan Hicks, DL Jordan Phillips, WR Christian Kirk, RB Chase Edmonds, DE Chandler Jones, OL Max Garcia, CB Malcolm Butler, CB Robert Alford

After losing Christian Kirk, the Cardinals were able to bring in a receiver who might be an even better fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense in Marquise Brown. Brown might have a chance to shine after Lamar Jackson’s scramble-first mentality limited his production in Baltimore. Kyler Murray is obviously great out of the pocket as well, but had 99 more pass attempts than Jackson last season. Darrel Williams is also a nice get for an offense that lost Chase Edmonds.

Losing edge rusher Chandler Jones hurts on paper, but he is 32 years old and wanted a rich payday on the back end of his career. The Cardinals are still going to be in the playoff mix in the loaded NFC West, but they really didn’t make any moves that gave them a significant push in the right direction.

–WEEK 1 IN FOCUS

Chiefs at Cardinals 4:25 p.m.
Line: Chiefs -3 (FanDuel)
Total: 52.5

It’s a tough Week 1 matchup for the Cardinals, and their secondary will likely get torn up by Patrick Mahomes. Even without Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s offense is still going to be a high-powered machine, and it’s hard to imagine that Arizona is up for the challenge right out of the gate.

–GET READY FOR KYLER

It’ll be the first time Kyler Murray has DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown, Zach Ertz, A.J. Green and James Connor together for a full season. He’s great on his feet as well, so if you’re feeling bold, take him to win Offensive Player of the Year at +3000 (FanDuel). It’s certainly a risky bet ($100 bet would net $3000 profit), but could look even better if Hopkins can get his six-game suspension reduced.

–Field Level Media