Arizona, de Laura crush NAU in season opener

The Arizona Wildcats hosted Northern Arizona in the season opener for both teams on Saturday,...
The Arizona Wildcats hosted Northern Arizona in the season opener for both teams on Saturday, Sept. 2.(Arizona Athletics)
Published: Sep. 2, 2023 at 10:25 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 2, 2023 at 10:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - The University of Arizona Wildcats got a bit of revenge Saturday night with a 38-3 rout of the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks in the season opener for both teams at Arizona Stadium.

Arizona’s Jayden de Laura was nothing short of spectacular, passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Last season, the standout quarterback threw for more than 3,600 yards.

The Wildcats’ Tetairoa McMillan caught three passes for 65 yards and a score.

Kai Millner led the Lumberjacks with 166 yards on 14-for-22 passing.

Jeff Fisch, in his third season in Tucson, proved again he has his Wildcats headed in the right direction. Arizona went 1-11 in 2021 but improved to 5-7 last season.

While an FBS school is expected to easily handle an FCS opponent, things didn’t work that way two years ago.

The Lumberjacks beat the Wildcats 21-19 in 2021, an embarrassing loss these Wildcats refused to let happen again.

While Arizona does have a tough schedule in its last season in the nearly defunct Pac-12, no one should be surprised if the Wildcats earn a bowl bid. Competing for a conference title isn’t off the table for Arizona, a fitting end to its tenure in the Pac-12.

Arizona, along with Arizona State and Utah, will head to the Big 12 in 2024.

Arizona hits the road next week for a game against Mississippi State. That game should go a long way in determining how good these Wildcats really are. Kickoff on Sept. 9 is set for 4:30 p.m. (Arizona time) and the game will be on the SEC Network.

The Lumberjacks also hit the road next week, with NAU facing the Fighting Hawks in North Dakota.

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