Arizona Wildcats set to hit road to face Washington Huskies

Arizona Wildcats set to hit road to face Washington Huskies
Arizona Wildcats quarterback Grant Gunnell. (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona will hit the road to face the Washington Huskies in a Pac-12 game Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and the game will be on Fox.

The Wildcats (0-1, 0-1 Pac-12) opened the season at home last week, falling just short in an upset bid of No. 20 Southern Cal (2-0, 2-0). Arizona quarterback Grant Gunnell threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns and the Wildcats defense piled up eight tackles for loss in the narrow 34-30 loss.

Washington (1-0, 1-0) kicked off its 2020 campaign last weekend, taking down Oregon State at home 27-21.

Both Arizona (at Utah) and Washington (at California) had their season openers in canceled due to their opponents lack of available scholarship players.

ARIZONA NOTES

  • The Wildcats will take to the road for the first time this season for Saturday’s match-up at Husky Stadium. Arizona was scheduled to open its 2020 season at Utah on Saturday, Nov. 7, but that game was canceled at Utah’s request due to an increase of COVID-19 cases on the Utes roster.
  • Arizona holds an all-time mark of 11-22-1 versus Washington in a series that began in 1978 when Arizona joined the Pac-10 Conference from the Western Athletic Conference. The series has been back-and-forth over the last 15 meetings, with Arizona winning seven times in that span.
  • QB Grant Gunnell is coming off a strong season-opening performance vs. No. 20 USC, which was the sophomore’s fourth career start. Gunnell completed 24 of his 36 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns while adding 40 yards rushing. His trio of passing touchdowns were the second-most by a Wildcat in a conference opener since 2000.
  • Arizona’s season opener against the Trojans also saw a career performance from kicker Lucas Havrisik, whose career-high three made fields goals came from distances of 25, 32, and 51 yards. The senior also neutralized the USC return unit by booting all seven of his kickoffs out of the back of the endzone for a touchback.
  • The Wildcat offense showed its explosive nature against the Trojans with four offensive plays of 20+ yards, capped by Gunnell’s 75-yard touchdown pass to Tayvian Cunningham. Arizona tallied a total of 12 offensive plays of 20 or more yards against Pac-12 defenses in 2019.
  • Redshirt senior DB Lorenzo Burns begins 2020 with nine career interceptions, putting him three shy of breaking into the programs all-time top 10 leaderboard. Burns is also just three pass breakups short of breaking into the Arizona top 10.

SOME GAME THEMES

  • The Wildcats look to snap an eight-game losing skid that dates back to the 2019 season when facing Washington this Saturday.
  • Sophomore quarterback Grant Gunnell began his second collegiate campaign strong last weekend against No. 20 USC, completing 24-of-36 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns. His three touchdowns through the air tied his career high and were the second-most by an Arizona signal caller in a conference opener since the 2000 season.
  • Gunnell also showed off his running ability against No. 20 USC last weekend, picking up more rush yards by the end of the first quarter than he compiled in the entire 2019 season. He finished the game with 40 yards on 13 carries.
  • The Wildcats defense showed promise in their first game under first-year defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads. Arizona’s front seven tallied 7.5 tackles for loss against the Trojans. The defense allowed only 145 yards in the first half, the fewest allowed in an opening half since holding this weekends opponent, Washington, to 134 yards in 2019.
  • Arizona’s starting defense last week featured seven players making their Wildcat debuts: Kyon BarrsAaron BlackwellRourke FreeburgParker HenleyRoy LopezRhedi Short, and Jaxen Turner.
  • After the Wildcats went six games in 2019 before recording a 100-yard receiver, they have now produced one in back-to-back games. Jamarye Joiner closed out the 2019 season with a 140-yard, two touchdown performance in the Territorial Cup and Tayvian Cunningham opened the 2020 campaign with a 110-yard, one touchdown game against No. 20 USC.
  • Senior running back Gary Brightwell served as the Wildcats primary rush option last weekend, going for 112 yards on 21 carries in the fourth 100-yard game of his career. His performance pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for his career.

VERSUS WASHINGTON

  • While the Wildcats have won four of the last 10 meetings with the Huskies, all four of those victories have come in Tucson. Arizona has not won in Seattle since its 48-41 victory on Oct. 27. Stanford is the only Pac-12 program where Arizona has not won more recently at.
  • Due to the two programs' separation by division, Saturday’s game marks just the second meeting between the two teams in the last four seasons. In last year’s meeting in Tucson, the Arizona running back tandem of Nathan Tilford and Michael Wiley set career marks against a Pac-12 foe with 49 and 35 rushing yards respectively.
  • Saturday’s game at Husky Stadium is Arizona’s second scheduled road game of the season, including the Cats' canceled season opener at Utah on Saturday Nov. 7. Arizona opens the 2020 season with three of its first four scheduled Pac-12 games on the road, which marks the Wildcats' most travel to open league play since 2013 when the team played four of its first five Pac-12 games on the road.

CHARTING THE CATS (CAREER):

  • Redshirt senior defensive back Lorenzo Burns has notched nine career interceptions in four seasons, putting him just three picks shy of breaking into the Wildcats all-time top 10 leaderboard.
  • Burns is also on the verge of cracking into Arizona’s career top 10 in pass breakups. Through four years he has picked up 25 PBU, just three shy of tying Trevin Wade (2008-11) and Randy Robbins (1980-83) for 10th all-time.