Arizona's Juron Criner grabs the game winner for a 10-9 win against Cal. Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star

New Zoo

About 100 Zona Zoo students entered Arizona Stadium three hours and 15 minutes before kickoff, as the UA opened the gates earlier than last week in the latest tweak to expedite student section ticket scanning.

Last week, about 600 students were turned away when students waiting for admission became rowdy. The UA caps student section admission at 10,000.

Zona Zoo sold about 11,500 season passes, but acknowledges that admission is first-come, first-served.

Associate athletic director Suzy Mason said the section was "about 75 percent filled" by 5:30 p.m., about 90 minutes before kickoff.

The UA decided to open the doors once 100 students gathered at the entrance.

"It's been free-flowing since then," Mason said.

The big number


Straight minutes and seconds the UA played, without trailing, to start the season before Cal's second-quarter field goal.


Arizona Wildcats fans awoke Saturday morning to find perhaps the country's most popular sports blog,, showing a video of misbehavior from the Iowa game.

All week, it seems, a scene of UA fans being rude toward Iowa faithful made its way across the Internet. On Thursday,, another popular blog, featured the same video with the headline, "Why Are Arizona Football Fans So Angry?"

UA athletic director Greg Byrne received more than a dozen e-mails last week linking to the video, and felt compelled to encourage civility in his weekly newsletter.

On Saturday, Byrne said that "99 percent" of UA fans behave the right way.

"We don't want to overreact," he said. "At the same time, too, you can't ignore it and just hope that it's going to go away."

Byrne said he received angry e-mails from Iowa fans, who appreciated that the UA was taking steps to curb bad behavior.

On Saturday, Byrne estimated he attended one-third of the UA tailgate parties, speaking about a positive stadium environment. Marketing members went to other tailgates.

Byrne stressed that behavior could come from any section in the stadium - from students to regular fans.

"We want our athletic department to be viewed as a first-class operation," he said. "We tell our student-athletes that everyone's a reporter. Everyone has a camera phone.

"So the reality - that was a reminder that goes beyond our student-athletes. It goes to our fans, as well, in the information age."

Got a problem?

Fans experiencing any problems, behavioral or otherwise, now have a place to e-mail.

In the south end zone hangs a red banner that reads the following:

Wildcat fans,

Stadium problems? Text issues to

The e-mail goes to the UA's operations department, which can deal with issues in real time.

For the first time Saturday, UA officials handed out business cards detailing the operations e-mail account and encouraging fans to show sportsmanship, respect players and each other, and drink responsibly.

"We have many traditions," the card reads. "But bad sportsmanship isn't one of them."

On drinking

Byrne said he didn't think Arizona Stadium was a more unruly place by virtue of playing regular night games - theoretically, giving fans more time to drink beforehand.

"I've been in places where I've seen plenty of issues in 1 o'clock games," he said.

"People, if they want to drink, they're going to drink," he said. "That can happen whether at their home and they come down here, or they're at the corner bar and grill."


Saturday night, one group at Arizona Stadium wore new uniforms.

No, not the Wildcats - who donned red pants, red jerseys and white helmets for the second time ever, and in as many weeks.

The UA's pom line has new stuff - a navy uniform, trimmed in red, with red pom-poms, white socks and white shoes.

The new outfit has the word CATS - yup, all caps - in red across the front.

We're uniform buffs, not cheerleading experts, but have one minor critique: Does any team on campus call itself the "CATS"? To the untrained eye, it just doesn't look quite right.

The big number


Times, in its last 49 contests, that Cal has appeared on television. The exception was a 2009 home game against Washington State.

Road trip

Arizona's athletic director and stadium staff won't have the bye week off.

A traveling party of seven staffers will travel to Starkville, Miss., this weekend for the Mississippi State-Alcorn State game. UA athletic director Greg Byrne wants the UA to observe game-day operations at his former school. The Wildcats and the Bulldogs have similar-sized stadiums and athletic budgets.

"You can always learn a lot by watching what the people are doing," Byrne said.

Rugby coach's joy

UA announcer Dave Sitton, the voice of American rugby, would appreciate Cal's football roots. The Golden Bears' first-ever sports team, the rugby squad, was founded in 1882.

In 1905, the presidents of Stanford and Cal determined that football injuries were too prevalent in America. So from 1906 to 1914, the schools played "The Big Game" in rugby instead of football.


On third-and-one with less than four minutes left, the Golden Bears surprised Arizona. They handed the ball up the middle to fullback Eric Stevens for 2 yards and a critical first down.

In two years at Cal, Stevens had never carried the ball before that play.

The big number

Oct. 7, 2006

The last time Arizona scored fewer than 10 points in a conference game. The Wildcats lost 27-7 to UCLA.

C'mon, Zoo!

Zona Zoo members might be annoyed about being turned away before the Iowa game, but they have no excuse for spotty attendance against the Golden Bears.

At the end of the third quarter, with the UA trailing 6-3 in its first conference game of the season, Zona Zoo was about 80 percent full. The northernmost and southernmost sections were no more than a quarter full.

Whatever the students left at halftime to do, it must have seemed more exciting than a close football game.

Party on

For the third straight week, Byrne hosted about 80 people in his home Friday night.

The parties feature boosters, fundraising and marketing staff members, and the visiting team's administrators.

About 10 Cal officials went to Byrne's Foothills home. El Charro caters the event.

Byrne's two sons attended the party, though his dogs were put in a different room.

"It's a great chance to get to know people," he said.

Cheer instruction

More than 600 youth cheerleaders participated in the halftime show as part of UA coach Tori Palmer's cheer festival.

The festival featured instruction from Palmer and UA cheerleaders, tickets to Saturday's game and a chance to appear on the field at halftime.

The camp featured cheerleaders aged 5-18. A team clinic was held Aug. 29, with individuals coached Sept. 12.

Patrick Finley