Arizona Football: Cats' cruel bounce of fate

2011-10-27T00:00:00Z 2014-09-15T10:21:08Z Arizona Football: Cats' cruel bounce of fateRyan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
October 27, 2011 12:00 am  • 

When asked what he remembered about the Arizona Wildcats' last trip to Seattle, Tim Kish sneered and uttered exactly 12 words.

"The ball coming off the foot," he said. "I don't really like that memory."

It's been two years and two weeks since a fluke play allowed Washington to upset the UA on a foggy, chilled night at Husky Stadium. The Wildcats have played in two bowl games since then, have bottomed out, have changed coaches and have overhauled both sides of the ball.

But they haven't forgotten. Arizona (2-5, 1-4 Pac-12) will travel to Washington on Saturday with hopes of avoiding a repeat of 2009 - not that it could happen again, anyway.

Here's a look back at the immaculate deflection, who it affected and where they are now.

What happened: The Wildcats were leading Washington 33-28 with 2 minutes 49 seconds remaining in the game when quarterback Nick Foles checked from a run into a short passing play. Under pressure from UW defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu, Foles rushed a throw to wideout Delashaun Dean. The pass appeared to skip off Dean's left cleat and into the hands of linebacker Mason Foster, who returned it 37 yards for the game-winning touchdown. The call was upheld by video replay, and the Huskies won 36-33.

"That was bad, man," UA running back Keola Antolin said this week. "That was a bad call."

Upon further review … The Pac-10 Conference office confirmed the referees' ruling two days after the controversial call. Conference rules dictate there must be "sufficient, viewable camera angles that provide undeniable proof that a correction to the call is necessary."

That standard was not met.

"It's harder than convicting in a criminal trial, in a way," Dave Cutaia, the conference's director of officials, told the Star at the time. "To convict, you need to convince 12 people that it's beyond a reasonable doubt. To overturn a call, it has to be beyond all doubt."

What it meant: Take away the fluke ending, and Arizona would have improved to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. In retrospect, the disputed kick may have kept the Wildcats out of the Rose Bowl. For Washington, the wacky win came in the middle of what would have been a seven-game losing streak. The Huskies finished 5-7 in coach Steve Sarkisian's first year.

Where are they now?

• Mason Foster finished his Washington career by leading the Huskies to a Holiday Bowl win over Nebraska last year. The NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Foster with their third-round (84th overall) pick in last spring's draft. In seven games, Foster - the team's starting middle linebacker - has registered 32 tackles and two sacks.

• Alameda Ta'amu is a senior defensive tackle for the Huskies. In seven games, all of them starts, the 6-foot-3-inch, 337-pound Ta'amu has 18 tackles, 3 1/2 tackles-for-loss and 1 1/2 sacks.

• Delashaun Dean finished the 2009 season ranked fourth on the team with 42 catches for 396 yards and two touchdowns. Though Dean had one more season of eligibility left, he would never play for the UA again. The receiver was suspended from the team after being charged with misdemeanor weapons possession stemming from an altercation outside a Tucson IHOP. Dean transferred to Texas A&M-Kingsville, where he played half a season before suffering a serious knee injury. He has since returned to Tucson.

• Nick Foles has developed into arguably the best quarterback in UA history. He enters Saturday's game with 8,223 career passing yards and 57 touchdowns and has been intercepted just 24 times.

The senior quarterback has captained the Wildcats to appearances in the Holiday Bowl and Alamo Bowl, and, scouts say, is a first-day NFL draft candidate.

Foles said this week that he still thinks about the Seattle screw-up.

"I threw a screen, and I shouldn't have," he said. "I thought we played well and, in the end, I thought I made a bad decision. I was younger, I was a sophomore, and it was pretty tough."

Foles, however, still accepts full responsibility for the flukey finish and controversial call.

"I gotta go with the ref on that," Foles said. "If he said that it bounced off (Dean's) foot, then that's the way it is."

Up next

• What: Arizona at Washington

• When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

• TV: FSAZ

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

homecoming time set

The Arizona Wildcats' Nov. 5 game against Utah will start at 4 p.m. and will be shown locally on Ch. 58 and Fox Sports Arizona Plus, school officials announced.

The UA's annual homecoming game will pit a struggling Wildcats team against the Utes, first-year members of the Pac-12 Conference. Arizona officials have yet to announce start times for the Wildcats' final three regular-season games; after facing Utah, Arizona is slated to play Colorado, Arizona State and Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona (2-5, 1-4) travels to Seattle this week to take on Washington. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m., and will be shown regionally on Fox Sports Arizona.

Ryan Finley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Pac-12 South football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Arizona 7 2 0 0.778 10 3 0 0.769
USC 6 3 0 0.667 8 4 0 0.667
UCLA 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Arizona State 6 3 0 0.667 9 3 0 0.750
Utah 5 4 0 0.556 9 4 0 0.692
Colorado 0 9 0 0.000 2 10 0 0.167

Pac-12 North football standings

  Conference Overall
Team W L T PCT W L T PCT
Oregon 8 1 0 0.889 12 1 0 0.923
Stanford 5 4 0 0.556 7 5 0 0.583
Washington 4 5 0 0.444 8 5 0 0.615
Cal 3 6 0 0.333 5 7 0 0.417
Washington State 2 7 0 0.222 3 9 0 0.250
Oregon State 2 7 0 0.222 5 7 0 0.417
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