Arizona seniors hope for 1 last home-field victory

Senior safety Will Parks has been part of 31 victories at Arizona as part of Rich Rodriguez's first recruiting class.

Kirby Lee/Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona will play its final home game of the season on Saturday night vs. Utah (8 p.m., FOX Sports 1), which means it’s the final appearance before the home fans for 21 seniors.

That group includes four members from Rich Rodriguez’s first recruiting class of 2012: defensive backs Jamar Allah, Anthony Lopez and Will Parks and offensive lineman Cayman Bundage.

While their senior seasons haven’t gone as planned, those four have been part of 31 victories already at Arizona, and Parks, who Rodriguez signed out of Philadelphia, is proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Parks, one of the more vocal leaders on the team, grew emotional Monday when asked what stood out most in his career, taking a big-picture view rather than focusing on a singular moment.

 "It’s kind of how coach Rod kind of brought us all together into one idea, to be a part of that was one of the best things to ever happen to me," Parks said.

"He made sure we were always doing the right thing, and made us believe that we could beat teams that people didn’t think we could beat, teams like Oregon and USC my freshman year. He kind of implemented an atmosphere where we could all believe in each other. What he did for us is bigger than just a football moment, he helped us achieve our goals by teaching us to play hard whether or not you win or lose. That’s what I will take away most after being here. Whether you win or lose, just know that you gave it your all, and when you are done at the end of your career like I am, you can have no regrets."

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Among the other seniors who will be playing their final home games are defensive lineman Reggie Gilbert, who’s made 44 starts in his career, receivers David Richards and Johnny Jackson, running back Jared Baker, offensive lineman Lene Maiava and specialists Drew Riggleman and Casey Skowron.

"They’re a good group of guys," Rodriguez said. "The leadership is there, it’s a quiet leadership more than anything. That’s what their personality is, and I wouldn’t want them to change who they are.

"A lot of these guys have been through a coaching transition and have changed positions, but they’ve been pretty consistent in their approach. They’ve been really good examples for the young guys on how to be an Arizona student-athlete."

Utah (8-1, 5-1), ranked No. 10 in this week’s AP poll, leads the Pac-12 South, but Arizona (5-5, 2-5) has beaten the Utes in their last three meetings. The Wildcats have knocked off a top 10 team in each of Rodriguez’s three previous seasons in Tucson.

The Pac-12 announced that the Nov. 21 Territorial Cup game between Arizona and ASU in Tempe will kick off at 1:30 p.m. and be televised on FOX Sports 1.