Sept. 29, 2006
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - The Arizona Wildcats are all too familiar with Isaiah Stanback.
The quarterback who has Washington off to a 3-1 start, 1-0 in the Pac-10, was the major force behind the Huskies' 38-14 victory in Tucson a year ago.
Stanback ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and passed for 157 more and another score in that game, a contest that marked the beginning of Washington's turnaround under coach Tyrone Willingham.
Stanback has only gotten better since.
"He is a guy you have to stop to win the game, no question," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "He is throwing the ball more accurately than he ever has. It is going to be a tall task, but we have to come up with some stuff that will give him trouble."
The senior quarterback accounted for 248 of Washington's 249 yards as the Huskies rallied from a 16-0 deficit to beat UCLA 29-19 last weekend in Seattle. Stanback passed for 200 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. His favorite target Sonny Shackelford caught a career-high nine passes for 120 yards.
Washington (3-1 overall, 1-0 Pac-10) has not started conference play 2-0 since 2001.
A year ago, Arizona had just stunned the then-No. 7 and unbeaten UCLA Bruins 52-14 when the Huskies came to town and doused the Wildcats' newfound confidence. That game started Washington on a 4-2 stretch after the program had gone 2-18.
Washington, which ended a 14-game Pac-10 losing streak with the victory, was sparked by Stanback's 69-yard "Hail Mary" touchdown pass as the first half ended.
"In a game, that's the best play I've had in my life," Stanback said.
Arizona (2-2, 0-1) is coming off a strong defensive effort in a 20-3 home loss to No. 3 Southern California a week ago.
"It's amazing what a little bit of confidence will do for a team," Stanback said of the Wildcats' defense. "That's what they have and that's what they were showing. I thought they should have had that game. Now we have to go in there and play a solid game against them."
The task this week is to corral Stanback, and not allow Washington to run wild again. The Huskies gained 333 yards on the ground in the win a year ago.
"They are playing very aggressive defensively," Willingham said of the Wildcats. "In the last ball game, they did some good things and capitalized on some turnovers to keep themselves in good positions."
Arizona's offense, on the other hand, is ranked 108th nationally in yards (241 per game) and scoring (12.5 points).
The Wildcats have just three touchdowns against NCAA Division I opponents. Sophomore Willie Tuitama has completed 53 percent of his passes for 467 yards and two touchdowns. He's been intercepted four times. Running back Chris Jennings has rushed for 284 yards, but 201 of them came against NCAA Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin.
Washington, after years of losing, can take nothing for granted, though.
"I think its a much better team than the record indicates," Willingham said. "They have played a couple of really top-ranked football teams (USC and LSU), which sometimes cannot indicate how good a football team you have."
-CONFERENCE- -OVERALL- TEAM W L PF PA W L PF PA OREGON 2 0 79 34 3 0 113 67 USC 1 0 20 3 3 0 98 27 CALIFORNIA 1 0 49 21 3 1 151 89 WASHINGTON 1 0 29 19 3 1 105 105 WASHINGTON ST 1 0 36 10 3 1 123 75 ARIZONA ST 1 1 56 63 3 1 129 87 OREGON ST 0 0 0 0 2 1 108 59 UCLA 0 1 19 29 2 1 76 55 ARIZONA 0 1 3 20 2 2 50 88 STANFORD 0 2 20 84 0 4 63 156
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH SCHEDULE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ OREGON AT ARIZONA ST 3:30 PM CALIFORNIA AT OREGON ST 4:05 PM USC AT WASHINGTON ST 7:00 PM WASHINGTON AT ARIZONA 10:00 PM STANFORD AT UCLA 10:15 PM (ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN)