Wildcats report (09.27): A welcome breather

By Anthony Gimino

TUCSON — Arizona is getting a break this week, which is good. If the team hadn’t been scheduled for its first bye, coach Mike Stoops would have wanted to call a timeout anyway.

“This break comes at a good time for us,” he said after the 10-9 victory over visiting Cal on Saturday night. “We’re spent. I think our fans are spent.”

The Wildcats barely made it safely to the oasis, resting at 4-0 and No. 14 in both major polls. This is the program’s best start since going 5-0 to open the 1998 season.

“This is exactly where I wanted to be,” said quarterback Nick Foles. “To have a bye week to get everyone healthy is huge.”

There doesn’t appear to be any major injury to any of the frontline players, but receiver Juron Criner could use the rest after playing through a turf toe injury. Playing at what he said was about 80 percent against Cal, he found enough in the tank to go up and haul in a 51-yard reception on the game-winning drive.

He and Foles finished it off with a 3-yard scoring strike with 1:11 left.

“We just have that bond. It’s that character development,” Criner said. “He knew it was coming to me; I knew it was coming to me. We just made it happen.”

Other players who need some time to heal, include:

–Fullback Taimi Tutogi (knee), who did not play against Cal.

–Receiver/kick returner Travis Cobb (foot), who did not play against Cal.

–Offensive guard Vaughn Dotsy (back), who left Saturday’s game.

–Defensive tackle Willie Mobley (knee), who has missed the past two games.

The team was scheduled to have Monday and Tuesday off before hitting the practice field in advance of the Oct. 2 home game against Oregon State. As much as the physical break, Stoops said the team needed time to recharge its emotions. He called Saturday night’s performance “flat” after the big win against Iowa a week earlier.