The Hot Sheet: Your Las Vegas primer for the Arizona football game

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  • At the exact moment the UA kicks off tonight against UNLV, legendary comic Jerry Seinfield will be taking the stage for a 7:30 performance at Caesars Palace.

    Seinfield also performed Friday in Las Vegas, but leaves after tonight.

    We checked in with Taylor Bern, the UNLV beat writer for the Las Vegas Sun, and he gave us three Vegas must-sees while you’re in Sin City.

    We have something for everyone here. Looking for a quick bite off The Strip before the game? We have you covered. A late-night spot to sing some karaoke? No problem.

    Here are our best bets:

    1. Don’t Tell Mama. Located off The Strip at 517 Fremont Street is Don’t Tell Mama, and it’s not your typical piano bar. The karaoke spot has one piano — and no screen to tell you the words. Singers must know the lyrics by heart.

    “You will usually be amazed at how good the people are,” Bern said. “The bartenders and waiters are amazing, too. I’ve never had a bad time there.”

    2. Zaba’s Mexican Grill. Our tour guide tells us this casual spot is like Chipotle, only better. Grab a bite before the UA plays tonight.

    There are six locations throughout the city. We’ll let you look them up. Make sure you try the sweet potatoes.

    3. “Absinthe” at Caesars Palace. Located in a tent outside the casino, the show has been described by The New York Times as “Cirque du Soleil as channeled through ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show.’”

    If you’re easily offended, this isn’t for you. There are shows at 8 and 10 tonight and Sunday night.

    Visit for more information.

    • Date: Sept. 22, 2001
    • What went down: UA quarterback Jason Johnson outplayed highly-touted UNLV quarterback Jason Thomas and the Wildcats rolled to a 38-21 win over the Rebels in front of 47,031 fans at Arizona Stadium. Johnson threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas was just 5 of 17 for 123 yards.
    • How it read: Star columnist Greg Hansen was impressed with Johnson’s play, but was still skeptical of a UA team that would go 2-6 the rest of the way in John Mackovic’s first season as coach. “The Rebels trailed Arizona 31-7 entering the fourth quarter, thoroughly dominated on both sides of scrimmage, but the most obvious domination was at quarterback in a game won 38-21 by the Wildcats. For the third game of his starting career, Johnson was not only the best Jason on the field, he was the best player on the field. But suitable gray area exists insofar as the Wildcats have gone 3-0 against a trio of lightweights — San Diego State, Idaho and UNLV — who would have difficulty finishing ahead of Cal in the Pac-10 basement.”
    • Turning point: UA running back Tremaine Cox stretched the lead to 24-7 when he took off for an 80-yard touchdown run with 3:16 to play in the first half.
    • Stats that matter: The Wildcats were hard to stop on offense, running 71 plays for 440 yards. Receiver Bobby Wade hauled in two touchdown passes from Johnson and finished with four catches for 54 yards. Cox’s 80-yard run helped pad his stats. He finished with 111 yards on eight carries.
    • It’s history: Arizona lost its next five games. The Wildcats finally picked up a win in November with a 38-24 win at Cal, but lost by 14 to Stanford before beating ASU in the finale 34-21. UNLV would finish 4-7.
  • After routing Northern Arizona 35-0 last week, Arizona will aim for back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1975.

    In that season, the UA shut out Pacific 16-0 to open the year and then blanked Wyoming one week later on the road 14-0.

    Not only did the Wildcats keep Pacific and Wyoming off the scoreboard, they allowed just six points the next two weeks, beating Northwestern 41-6 and UTEP 36-0.

    The UA went on to finish 9-2 that season, losing to New Mexico and Arizona State.

    Linebacker Obra Erby led the team in tackles that season with 188 and a season later with 174.

    Safety Dennis Anderson had the team lead in interceptions with four after picking off seven passes in 1974.

    Lineman Mike Dawson topped the team with 15 tackles-for-loss/sacks (it used to be one stat).

    The moral of the story here?

    That defense was really good and it’s hard to pull off this feat.

  • Linebacker Ronnie Palmer hoisted the Las Vegas Bowl trophy after Arizona’s 31-21 win over BYU in the Wildcats’ first bowl game in 10 years.

    Arizona hasn’t played UNLV in Las Vegas before, but the UA is no stranger to Sin City.

    Surely you remember the UA’s 31-21 win over then No. 17 BYU in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl. It was the Wildcats’ first bowl appearance since a 23-20 win over Nebraska in the 1998 Holiday Bowl.

    Ten years later, in front of 40,047 fans on a chilly night (there probably won’t be half as many there tonight), quarterback Willie Tuitama led the Wildcats by passing for 325 yards and two touchdowns.

    Delashaun Dean and Chris Gronkowski both caught touchdown passes and Nicolas Grigsby rushed for 87 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

    The game was also memorable for one other reason. It marked the final game of the Rob Gronkowski era at Arizona. The star tight end finished with four catches for 27 yards.

  • The UA will earn some serious frequent flyer miles over the next seven games.

    Tonight’s matchup with UNLV begins a stretch of five road games over the next seven contests. The Wildcats return for three straight home games in November.

    Here’s a look at the Wildcats’ road games, complete with cost if you — hint, hint — want to travel with them:

    DateGameMiles traveledCheapest flight
    TonightUNLV397$402 on Southwest Airlines (shame on you for waiting so long)
    Sept. 28Washington1,566$351.80 on Alaska Airlines
    Oct. 10USC490$181.80 on Southwest
    Oct. 26Colorado880$259.70 on Southwest
    Nov. 2Cal859$358.60 on Southwest
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