Arizona-Arizona State: Five Things We Learned This Week

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent INovember 29, 2009

TEMPE, AZ - NOVEMBER 28:  Kicker Alex Zendejas #14 of the Arizona Wildcats celebrates after kicking the game winning 32 yard field goal against the Arizona State Sun Devils during the college football game at Sun Devil Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. The Wildcats defeated the Sun Devils 20-17.   (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

1. In His Blood

For all of the criticism Alex Zendejas got after the Oregon game, he made up for it against ASU.

Zendejas followed in his uncle Max's footsteps, hitting the game-winning field goal as time ran out to win the game for Arizona.

Max Zendejas is famously known for beating ASU not once but twice on fourth quarter field goals in Sun Devil Stadium. Zendejas' game-winner in the 1983 matchup kept ASU out of the Rose Bowl.

For Alex, missing chip shots has been his credo this year. He has fans holding their breath when he kicks extra points.

The game-winner showed that he has the same clutch blood that is in his family's genes.

This kick may have been the one to give the younger Zendejas, and fans, the confidence they both need in the kicking game.

2. Special Play

Special teams ended up being the key to Arizona's victory on Saturday.

ASU's Kyle Williams muffed a punt that was recovered by Arizona's Mike Turner at the Sun Devil 22-yard line. That was the key play that set up Zendejas' game-winner.

Orlando Vargas, Arizona's special teams guru, came up big when he blocked a punt then he came up even bigger when he picked the ball up and walked into the endzone for his first career touchdown.

Vargas' play ended up being a crucial for the Cats. Without the blocked punt and return for a touchdown, they would have lost the game.

On a day when the offense struggled, the special teams play won the game for the Wildcats.

3. A Tale of Two Teams

The Wildcats suffered from a hangover on Saturday but not the kind that you get in Vegas.

They had a psychological hangover from the Oregon game; the disappointment of losing that one was clear with how the Cats played.

They came out flat and played that way all game. Minus the touchdown run by Keola Antolin, the Wildcats didn't move the ball well against Arizona State.

Some of this could be contributed to Arizona State having the best defense in the Pac-10 statistically, but the Cats just seemed to be going through the motions.

This team did not look like the same squad that almost took down the Ducks last week.

Hopefully, the big win over the Sun Devils will allow the Cats to play better next week against USC.

4. The Catch Relapse

Kyle Williams’ second touchdown catch in the endzone was reminiscent of an infamous play that happened over 30 years ago, one that haunts Wildcat fans.

The Catch.

Every Wildcat fan is haunted by John Jefferson's diving catch in the back of the endzone to beat Arizona and it looked like that was how it would play out again for the Cats.

Williams made a great diving catch on 4th-and-12 to tie the game with two minutes left. The play sucked the life out of Wildcat fans after the team had forced a fourth and long, one play after a touchdown got called back on a penalty.

Luckily, ASU fans will now be haunted by The Muff.

5. By Scott

With Nick Foles nursing a broken left hand, Arizona played backup QB Matt Scott for his first extended playing time since the Iowa game.

Scott ran the zone-read offense meaning he handed the ball off or kept it and ran it himself depending on what the defense gave him. He didn't throw a single pass while in the game.

I thought he did very well faking the handoffs and running when he kept it himself.

His running ability gives Arizona a different aspect that ASU wasn't prepared for. Future opponents will be on the lookout for it now.

Extra Knowledge

Arizona was due for a fluke play to go their way. When Kyle Williams dropped the punt, the football gods smiled on the Cats for the first time all season.

The Washington and Cal games both went against Arizona. It seems as though the universe always has a way of evening itself out.

Hopefully there is one more in store for Arizona.


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