Arizona pulls away in second half to beat Northern Arizona 38-3

by Joshua Brown

In a commanding display of skill and determination, Arizona emerged victorious over Northern Arizona with a resounding score of 38-3. The pivotal performance came courtesy of Jayden de Laura, who showcased his prowess by contributing to four touchdowns. Notably, Tacario Davis seized an opportunity when he returned a blocked field goal, covering an astonishing 85 yards to secure another crucial score for Arizona.

Reflecting back two years, when Arizona faced the FCS Lumberjacks at the start of Coach Jedd Fisch’s rebuilding efforts, a different narrative unfolded. That encounter saw Arizona succumb to the Lumberjacks, thereby setting the stage for this rematch. The initial half of this recent battle proved to be a struggle, as the Wildcats encountered obstacles on their path. However, the narrative swiftly transformed in the second half, as Arizona surged ahead to conquer Northern Arizona.

A significant turning point was Davis’ remarkable return, a feat that spurred Arizona to amass a remarkable lead of 32 points by the conclusion of the third quarter. Demonstrating their determination and grit, the Wildcats overcame the Lumberjacks with an emphatic outpouring of skill. De Laura’s contribution was punctuated by a breathtaking 53-yard touchdown run, a play that saw him teetering on the brink of imbalance before surging forward along the sideline.

De Laura’s performance extended beyond the field as he demonstrated his quarterback prowess by amassing 285 yards and three touchdowns, although marred by an interception in the end zone during the fourth quarter.

For Northern Arizona, this clash with Arizona marked a critical moment in their journey. A nadir was reached during their last visit to Tucson, as the Lumberjacks emerged triumphant in 2021, securing their first victory over a Pac-12 opponent. This milestone not only dampened Arizona’s spirits but also contributed to their losing streak, which later extended to a disheartening 20 games.

Despite the passage of time, the memory of that fateful encounter lingered for Arizona’s players. While only a handful remained from that time, the weight of that defeat served as a motivating factor. Undeterred, Arizona embarked on a strong start, highlighted by a 4-yard touchdown pass from de Laura to Jacob Cowing. Further fortifying their lead, Johah Coleman maneuvered through defenders, reaching for the pylon to achieve a 7-yard touchdown catch, thus amplifying their advantage to 14-0.

However, the first half was marred by a series of blunders. The Wildcats encountered missteps, surrendering the ball on downs at NAU’s 35-yard line, and later witnessing de Laura’s fumble within NAU’s 20-yard line. Defensively, Arizona grappled with challenges, as a roughing the kicker penalty and a personal foul extended NAU’s drive. Despite a holding call nullifying a touchdown, Marcus Lye’s field goal narrowed the margin to 14-3, enabling the Lumberjacks to remain within striking distance, albeit having been outgained significantly in total yards.

Drawing upon the momentum garnered from a closely contested first half, NAU managed to advance to Arizona’s 14-yard line, thanks in part to a targeting penalty on Arizona defensive back Gunner Maldanado. A holding call briefly dashed the Lumberjacks’ hopes, but a pivotal block by Ta’ita’i Uiagalelei during Lye’s field goal attempt proved transformative. Davis seized the opportunity, returning the blocked field goal for a touchdown, thereby tilting the momentum decidedly in Arizona’s favor.

Capitalizing on this newfound energy, Arizona’s defense halted the Lumberjacks’ progress on a crucial fourth-and-2 from their own 38-yard line. This pivotal defensive stop set the stage for de Laura’s subsequent masterful performance. Shortly thereafter, de Laura’s connection with Tetairoa McMillan resulted in a 5-yard touchdown, followed by de Laura’s remarkable 53-yard sprint that culminated in another touchdown, further solidifying Arizona’s dominance at 35-3.

In summation, this match provided notable takeaways for both teams. Northern Arizona demonstrated commendable efforts against a Pac-12 opponent, setting a promising foundation for their future endeavors in Big Sky play. For Arizona, despite initial challenges and penalties, the anticipated outcome materialized against their FCS adversary.

Looking ahead, Northern Arizona is poised to face North Dakota in their next encounter, while Arizona is set to challenge Mississippi State in the forthcoming fixture. For more college football updates, visit AP college football and AP Top 25 college football poll.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Victorious

What was the final score of the Arizona vs. Northern Arizona game?

Arizona secured a convincing victory with a final score of 38-3 over Northern Arizona.

How did Jayden de Laura contribute to the game?

Jayden de Laura showcased his skills by accounting for four touchdowns, including a remarkable 53-yard TD run.

What pivotal play impacted the game’s momentum?

Tacario Davis returned a blocked field goal for an 85-yard score, shifting the momentum in favor of Arizona.

What was significant about Northern Arizona’s previous win?

In 2021, Northern Arizona’s victory marked their first over a Pac-12 opponent, initiating a losing streak for Arizona.

How did Arizona’s defense make a crucial impact?

Arizona’s defense stopped a pivotal fourth-and-2 play from Northern Arizona and blocked a field goal, leading to a game-changing touchdown return.

Who is Arizona set to face in their next game?

Arizona’s next challenge awaits against Mississippi State in their upcoming fixture.

Where can I find more college football updates and rankings?

For more college football news and rankings, visit AP college football and AP Top 25 college football poll.

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CarLover55 September 3, 2023 - 7:03 am

not just about the touchdowns, but also the defense play by arizona. momentum shifted like whoosh!

EconNerd September 4, 2023 - 5:11 am

arizona’s comeback from their last loss is pretty amazin’. de Laura and Davis with those moves, totally lit!


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