Oct. 14, 2006
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) - Chris Jennings and Chris Henry ran for first-quarter scores, and Arizona rediscovered its ground game in the Wildcats' 20-7 victory Saturday.
The Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Pac-10) rushed for 220 yards after averaging 54.8 over their first six games, including negative rushing yardage in each of their last three.
Despite injuries to quarterbacks Willie Tuitama and Adam Austin, Arizona escaped the conference cellar and snapped a three-game losing streak.
Trent Edwards, Stanford's senior starting quarterback, played just one series before apparently injuring his foot while scrambling. Backup T.C. Ostrander was ineffective, and Stanford managed just 17 total yards in the first three quarters before finishing with 52, including minus-6 yards rushing.
Sprinter-turned-cornerback Wopamo Osaisai returned an interception 72 yards for Stanford's only touchdown.
The Wildcats held the ball for 38 1/2 minutes and ran 64 plays to Stanford's 32 despite playing the second half with their third-string quarterback.
Kris Heavner, the Wildcats' starting QB for two seasons before transferring to Baylor and then returning to Tucson, mostly handed off to Jennings, Henry and Xavier Smith in his first playing in time in two years.
Heavner went 4-for-4 while capably replacing longtime backup Austin, who led Arizona to a 17-0 lead but hurt his knee late in the first half of his first start in place of Tuitama, who sat out after getting two concussions in the last month.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops elevated former Wyoming head coach Dana Dimel to co-offensive coordinator before the game, putting him in charge of the Wildcats' slumbering ground game. Arizona's rushing attack dominated, and Stoops matched his victory total from each of his first two seasons with the Wildcats.
Jennings rushed for a 16-yard score on Arizona's opening drive, and Henry added an 18-yard TD run 7 minutes later. Nick Folk kicked two field goals, and the Wildcats' defense did the rest.
Osaisai runs the fastest 100-meter dash in Stanford history, and he used that speed for the school's fourth-longest interception return after intercepting a long downfield pass by Austin, who also got hurt on the play.
The Wildcats gave up an 89-yard interception return for a TD last week against UCLA.
Heavner got his first action since leaving the team late in the 2004 season when he lost the starting job to Richard Kovalcheck. Heavner briefly transferred to Baylor and then returned to play baseball last spring, while Kovalcheck transferred to Vanderbilt after losing his own job to Tuitama.