Date: Sept. 3, 2011
What went down: The UA outscored NAU 27-0 in the second half to win its season opener at Arizona Stadium 41-10. The game marked the debut of the UA’s new videoboard in the south end zone.
How it read: Greg Hansen told UA fans to take the win, but was weary about what was ahead for the Wildcats. He wrote:
“It took three quarters for Arizona to apply its superior manpower and break loose from the Jacks. Some of it was understandable; reserve offensive linemen Shane Zink, Addison Bachman and Jaack Baucus were on the field early, in part by injuries and also because of some experimenting to the All New Offensive Like That Has Everybody Chewing Nervously On Their Fingernails.
“But if those guys don’t get some break-in mileage against NAU, then when?
“Now to the positive news: UA quarterback Nick Foles was tackled only twice all night.
“Given the UA’s thin quarterbacking situation, Foles played the full 60 minutes but stayed out of harm’s way and put up numbers the way a senior QB from the Pac-12 should put up numbers against a Big Sky team.”
Turning point: Leading just 14-10 at halftime, Foles tossed three TD passes in the third quarter to blow the game open. His first one was an 18-yard pass to Keola Antolin. He followed that up with a 24-yard strike to Richard Morrison and another 24-yard TD pass; this one to Austin Hill. Foles added his fifth TD of the game in the fourth quarter when he found Gino Crump for an 18-yard score.
It’s history: The Wildcats lost their next five games and eight of their next nine en route to an 4-8 season. The win over NAU marked the final UA season opener for Mike Stoops, who was fired after the team’s 37-27 loss to Oregon State in Week 6. NAU went 4-6 the rest of the way.