Arizona 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 37
Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns in his final
game for Arizona, and the Wildcats held off Louisiana-Lafayette
45-37 on Saturday.
Foles, whose status for the game had been uncertain because of
bruised ribs, tied the school record for career (64) and
single-season (31) touchdown passes. He already held virtually all
other passing records at the school. Foles also topped 4,000 yards
passing for the season and 10,000 for his career.
Juron Criner caught nine passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns
for the Wildcats (4-8), breaking the school career record for TD
receptions at 32.
Blaine Gautier threw for 315 yards and a touchdown and ran for a
score for the Ragin’ Cajuns (8-4), who cut the Arizona lead to
eight points three times in the fourth quarter.
Javon Lawson caught five passes for 137 yards for the
Gautier tied Jake Delhomme’s school record of touchdown passes
in a season at 20.
Louisiana-Lafayette tied an NCAA record when Jemarious Moten
intercepted Foles’ pass and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown
early in the fourth quarter, the seventh ”pick six” of the season
for the team. That tied a mark set by Tennessee in 1971.
The Cajuns of the Sun Belt Conference accepted a bid to the New
Orleans Bowl on Monday, their first postseason appearance in 41
Arizona (4-8) finished 3-3 under interim coach Tim Kish after
Mike Stoops was fired halfway through the season. New coach Rich
Rodriguez visited with tailgaters before the game and was
introduced to the crowd at halftime.
Louisiana-Lafayette, 0-4 against Pac-12 teams, pulled within one
possession for the final time when Gauthier scored on a 10-yard
quarterback draw with 5:05 to play. But the Cajuns never got the
ball again as Arizona moved downfield and ran out the clock.
Moten’s TD return, on his second interception of the day, cut
Arizona’s lead to 31-23, but the Wildcats’ Daniel Jenkins returned
the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to the Louisiana 2. Two plays later,
Keola Antolin scored on a 5-yard run to make it 38-23 with 13:28
Again the Ragin’ Cajuns came back, going 71 yards in 10 plays,
with Alonzo Harris scoring on a 5-yard run to cut it to 38-30 with
10:26 still to go.
Foles’ 35-yard pass to Criner at the 6:08 mark boosted the lead
The Cajuns used a fake punt and an onside kick in the first
half, both of them successful, to take leads of 7-0 and 13-7.
Backup Bryson Bierne started in place of Foles, who was knocked
out late in last week’s 31-27 win at Arizona State. Bierne drove
the Wildcats to the Louisiana 25, but his pass was intercepted by
Moten, who returned it 19 yards to the Cajuns’ 40.
Gautier’s 40-yard pass to Lawson set up Harry Peoples’ 11-yard
TD run to make it 7-0. Foles came on for Arizona’s second series
and directed a 16-play, 80-yard scoring drive, with fullback Taimi
Tutogi bulling in from the 1 on fourth down to tie it at 7-7.
After the kickoff, Louisiana-Lafayette faked a punt on
fourth-and-11 from its 40, with punter Brett Baer throwing 13 yards
to the Arizona 47. Ladarius Green’s 20-yard run on a reverse set up
Gautier’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Harris. Baer’s conversion
try bounced off the right upright and was no good, so the Ragin’
Cajuns led 13-7 with 9:14 left in the half.
Foles threw two touchdown passes in a span of two minutes, 39
seconds late in the half to put Arizona up 21-13 at the break.
Jenkins’ 34-yard run and a 24-yard pass to Criner set up Foles’
9-yard scoring pass to Criner that put Arizona up for good 14-13.
On the second play after the subsequent kickoff, Gautier was hit by
defenders from both sides and fumbled. Marquis Flowers recovered
for the Wildcats at the Louisiana 32.
A roughing-the-passer penalty and four straight completions by
Foles, the last 12 yards to David Douglas for a touchdown with 34
seconds left, put Arizona ahead 21-13.