The Arizona Wildcats are the Weebles of college football: They wobble, but they don't fall down.
Four times in Saturday's 34-27 win over Iowa, the UA faced gut-check situations with the game on the line.
Four times, the Wildcats responded with a key stop, tip, catch or drive.
"I've never been in a game where we challenged a higher-ranked team," defensive end Brooks Reed said. "Guys made huge plays and had great catches."
Here's a look at how the Wildcats bounced back:
The setup: With Arizona leading 7-0, Iowa drove deep into Arizona territory. Jewel Hampton's 17-yard run gave the Hawkeyes first-and-10 at the UA 21.
The response: UA cornerback Trevin Wade makes arguably the biggest play of his career, intercepting Ricky Stanzi's pass after it glances off receiver Marvin McNutt's hands and returning it 85 yards for a score. The Wildcats take a 14-0 lead just 4 minutes 50 seconds into the game.
The setup: Stanzi hit Hampton with a 4-yard scoring pass, cutting Arizona's lead to 14-7. The touchdown capped a nine-play, 93-yard drive - the Hawkeyes' best of the night.
The response: Arizona's Travis Cobb returns the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to give Arizona a 21-7 lead. Cobb's return is his second for a touchdown in as many seasons; he broke Arizona's 11-year kickoff return scoring drought in last year's win over Washington State.
"The kickoff return was one of the biggest plays," Stoops said. "It was great to be able to get back up 14 after they had a decent drive."
The setup: After battling throughout the second half, Iowa pulled even with the Wildcats on Broderick Binns' 20-yard interception return for a touchdown. With 8:12 left in the game, the Hawkeyes sent out Trent Mossbrucker to hit the go-ahead PAT.
The response: Arizona's Justin Washington tips the kick at the line of scrimmage and the ball flutters wide. The game remains tied 27-27.
"We weren't behind," Stoops said, "and that helped our mindset."
The setup: Iowa's 20-0 second-half run pulled the game even. The Hawkeyes had all the momentum when UA quarterback Nick Foles took the field with 8:07 left.
The response: The Wildcats drive 72 yards in nine plays to re-take the lead. Foles connects with receiver David Roberts for a 38-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage, moving the ball to Iowa's 34.
"When David Roberts caught that pass early on, I had no doubt we were going to win," tackle Adam Grant said. "I screamed like a little girl when he caught that pass."
Foles then hits David Douglas for 14 yards to the 15. Six plays later, Bug Wright - who had muffed a punt earlier in the quarter and dropped a sure touchdown just seconds earlier - catches a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Wildcats a 34-27 edge.
"I just really needed it," Wright said. "It helped my morale. My teammates are great. They said they were going to need me."
• What: California at Arizona
• When: 7 p.m. Saturday
• TV: Ch 58, FSAZ Plus
• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM, 990-AM (Spanish)
Wildcats continue to climb polls
The Arizona Wildcats moved up in both of the nation's college football polls, a day after defeating No. 9 Iowa 34-27 in front of a sold-out Arizona Stadium crowd.
The UA ascended 10 spots to No. 14 in The Associated Press rankings and two slots to 16th in the USA Today coaches poll. Iowa dropped to No. 18 after appearing at No. 9 (AP) and No. 10 (USA Today) a week ago.
The rankings are Arizona's highest since 1999, when the Wildcats entered the season ranked No. 4 nationally.
The Wildcats haven't started 3-0 since 2001.
"I feel like it's the biggest win I've been a part of," cornerback Trevin Wade said. "I don't feel like our program has ever started 3-0; we would go 2-0 and then lose the next game. We finally got over the hump."
This week's opponent, Cal, fell out of the coaches poll after losing to Nevada on Friday night.
AP TOP 25
With first-place votes in parentheses, records through Sept. 18 and previous rankings.
1. Alabama (53) 3-0 1
2. Ohio St. (5) 3-0 2
3. Boise St. (1) 2-0 3
4. TCU 3-0 4
5. Oregon 3-0 5
6. Nebraska 3-0 8
7. Texas (1) 3-0 6
8. Oklahoma 3-0 7
9. Florida 3-0 10
10. Arkansas 2-0 12
11. Wisconsin 3-0 11
12. South Carolina 3-0 13
13. Utah 3-0 14
14. Arizona 3-0 24
15. LSU 3-0 15
16. Stanford 3-0 19
17. Auburn 3-0 16
18. Iowa 2-1 9
19. Miami 1-1 17
20. Southern Cal 3-0 18
21. Michigan 3-0 20
22. West Virginia 3-0 21
23. Penn St. 2-1 22
24. Oregon St. 1-1 25
25. Michigan St. 3-0 -
Others receiving votes: Air Force 44, Nevada 41, Florida St. 40, Pittsburgh 40, Fresno St. 35, Missouri 30, Oklahoma St. 22, Clemson 14, Georgia Tech 14, N.C. State 14, James Madison 8, Kansas St. 4, Arizona St. 3, California 3, Northwestern 3, Houston 1, Notre Dame 1, Temple 1, Texas A&M 1.