Opinion by Greg Hansen: Slowly but surely Cats improving

Despite costly mistakes, Arizona had a chance to beat Boilermakers
2005-09-18T00:00:00Z Opinion by Greg Hansen: Slowly but surely Cats improvingOpinion by Greg Hansen Arizona Daily Star
September 18, 2005 12:00 am  • 

"I think this was a big game for Arizona, and when the other team sees it as a big game, you're always in for a big test." - Purdue coach Joe Tiller

Player of the game

Purdue senior running back Jerod Void

. He rushed 18 times for 103 yards, scoring on runs of 55, 3 and 1 yards.

Play of the game

UA punt returner Syndric Steptoe

fumbled a Purdue punt at the Boilermakers' 37 late in the third quarter with Purdue leading 21-17. The Boilermakers then moved 62 yards for a score and a 28-17 lead.

Stat of the game

9 Arizona gained nine

net rushing yards on 23 carries.

Good things

Hey, down in front. UA basketball

center Kirk Walters, at 6 feet 11 inches, sat on the front row in the Zona Zoo section, standing the entire game. He was soon joined by 6-9 teammate Isaiah Fox.

Sabino High linebacker-fullback

Brooks Reed, who has been offered a scholarship by Purdue, was standing on Arizona's sideline before kickoff, chatting with UA players.

Wearing its red jerseys for the

first time since 1980, Arizona finally matches the colors of its fans. But after the last few years of all-blue uniforms and the introduction of blue helmets, the change to red didn't create much of a buzz.

The capacity crowd of 56,400 was

the largest at Arizona Stadium since 56,614 attended the UA-Washington game in November 1999. Washington won 33-25.

Bad things

Arizona used all three of its sec

ond-half time outs in the third quarter, saving none for its final two possessions in a close game.

The heat as a factor? At kickoff it

was 92 degrees with 9 percent humidity. With four mega-misting fans on Purdue's sidelines, the Boilermakers probably felt like it was jacket weather.

So as not to tempt the NCAA

morals police, Casino del Sol's colorful, new ad panels on three Arizona Stadium scoreboards say, simply "Del Sol." Good try, guys.

Arizona's two most accomplished

linebackers, sophomores Spencer Larsen and Dane Krogstad were essentially sidelined. Krogstad didn't play, with an unspecified injury. Larsen started, played two series and was injured (thigh) while pursing a touchdown run.

Arizona doesn't have another home game until Oct. 15, against Stanford.

Locker room talk

"On defense, we were not consistent; we gave up too many plays. We had some penalties as well, but we only had one big error, the fumble on the (third quarter) punt that really hurt us.''

-UA coach Mike Stoops

"This was a big win for us against a good football team. Arizona is much improved, certainly from three years ago, but also from their season-ending game against Arizona State last year. We were watching films of ASU for our Sun Bowl game, and this UA team is much better than the one we saw on film.''

-Purdue coach Joe Tiller

- Compiled by Greg Hansen

Purdue 31, UA 24

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