Arizona football: After picks, Foles nitpicks

2011-11-07T00:01:00Z 2013-09-17T16:22:40Z Arizona football: After picks, Foles nitpicksRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 07, 2011 12:01 am  • 

Sometime today, if he hasn't already, Nick Foles will pull out his phone, dial a 512 area code and - in a rare moment of vulnerability - pour his heart out.

His parents will listen.

Larry and Melissa Foles of Austin, Texas, know how much football means to their son and how disappointed the Arizona senior quarterback is with the way his college career is ending.

"That's what parents are for," he said.

Foles' performance in Saturday's 34-21 loss to Utah might have been the worst of his career. While the UA's senior star threw for 326 yards against the Utes at Arizona Stadium, he was intercepted twice and sacked twice.

In his last two games, Foles has completed 57 of 93 passes for 714 yards and four touchdowns; he has been intercepted five times, matching his picks total in the first seven games combined.

Three of Foles' last five turnovers have come in the fourth quarter with the game on the line.

"You've just got to play a full game," Foles said. "I expect to nail everything, and sometimes it doesn't work out. It hasn't really worked out the last two weeks.

"I've played some good ball, but then … "

Well, bad things happened.

Arizona was trailing 27-14 with 7 minutes 30 seconds left Saturday when Foles threw a fade toward Gino Crump in the end zone. But Crump juked outside as soon as Foles threw the ball, leaving Utah cornerback Conroy Black alone to intercept the underthrown pass. Black returned the pick into UA territory, and the Utes tacked on a final score.

"I thought the throw in the end zone was bad," Foles said. "That's stuff I've got to get rid of."

Foles recovered in time to lead Arizona on a nine-play, 88-yard drive on its next possession, but the damage was done. The UA chased its late touchdown with an onside kick and Utah recovered; the Utes than ran out the clock, and won the game.

It was, sadly, a familiar finish.

Foles was picked twice as he tried to rally Arizona from a deficit last week against Washington; his final interception allowed the Huskies to put the game away.

Still, interim coach Tim Kish and players say Foles isn't pressing. If anything, the late-game picks are more a byproduct of desperate situations than a cause for concern.

"Nick Foles is a tremendous competitor. If he could take back some of the throws (Saturday), he'd like to do that," Kish said. "But you know what? He gives his best effort on every play."

That's what makes Arizona's lost season so painful: Few players command the same respect and admiration as Foles, a two-year captain and one of the team's emotional and spiritual leaders. Though he's frustrated, Foles is doing his best to keep the Cats together: He and other seniors called a team meeting last week to discuss setting a good example.

Now, Foles must walk the talk.

"You have to love this game," he said with a smile. "You hate times like this, but you have to fight through it. You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about your teammates and who's really there for you through the tough times."

Foles faltering

Arizona Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles is in the middle of the worst two-game stretch of his career. Here's a look:

The first seven games

• 227 for 320 (70.9 percent)

• 2,546 yards

• 18 TDs, 5 INTs

• 14 sacks

• 153.2 pass efficiency

The last two games

• 57 for 93 (61.2 percent)

• 714 yards

• 4 TDs, 5 INTs

• 4 sacks

• 129.2 pass efficiency

AP top 25

With first-place votes in parentheses, records through Nov. 5 and previous ranking.

1. LSU (59) 9-0 1

2. Oklahoma St. 9-0 3

3. Stanford 9-0 4

4. Alabama 8-1 2

5. Boise St. (1) 8-0 5

6. Oregon 8-1 6

7. Oklahoma 8-1 7

8. Arkansas 8-1 8

9. Clemson 8-1 11

10. Virginia Tech 8-1 12

11. Houston 9-0 14

12. Penn St. 8-1 16

13. Michigan St. 7-2 15

14. Georgia 7-2 18

15. South Carolina 7-2 10

16. Wisconsin 7-2 19

17. Kansas St. 7-2 17

18. Southern Cal 7-2 21

19. Nebraska 7-2 9

20. Georgia Tech 7-2 22

21. Texas 6-2 NR

22. Michigan 7-2 13

23. Cincinnati 7-1 23

24. Auburn 6-3 25

25. Southern Miss. 8-1 NR

Others receiving votes: TCU 56, Ohio St. 50, Arizona St. 15, Florida St. 12, Washington 8, Iowa 4, Notre Dame 4, Baylor 3, Tulsa 1, Virginia 1, West Virginia 1.

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