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September 6, 2008

Tuitama leads Wildcats to 2-0 start

Every week this season, GOAZCATS.com will run a simulation of each game that the Arizona Wildcats football team is involved in. The simulation will run on the Xbox 360 version of NCAA Football 2009 by pitting two CPU-controlled teams against each other.

Arizona got off to a quick start against Toledo and never looked back as the Wildcats improved to 2-0 by defeating the Rockets 31-14.

Willie Tuitama completed 25 of 30 passes and threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns in the winning effort. Tuitama showed pinpoint accuracy and was able to get all of his receivers involved in the victory.

Nicolas Grigsby carried the ball only 15 times but ran for 135 yards and a touchdown. Grigsby was already over the century mark at the end of the half and was given some rest in the fourth quarter as the Wildcats used Nick Booth and Keola Antolin down the stretch.

The offensive line gave Tuitama time all day to reach his receivers. Mike Thomas finished with six catches for 98 yards, Terrell Turner caught four passes for 85 yards and a touchdown and Delashaun Dean added four catches for 65 yards and a score.

The Wildcats offense had put up 24 by halftime and coasted the rest of the way. Toledo was down 24-0 at halftime before it finally scored on its first drive in the second half.

Aaron Opelt was able to find Stephen Williams for a 67-yard touchdown after Marquis Hundley and Cam Nelson tripped over each other and allowed Williams to get out in the open. That would be Toledo's only score until the final possession of the game.

The Wildcats defense was constantly in the face of Opelt. Apaiata Tuihalamaka had a pair of sacks to lead the way and Brooks Reed, Ricky Elmore and Earl Mitchell all recorded sacks for the Wildcats.

Aside from one miscue, the secondary was just as impressive. Hundley had an interception in the first half and Toledo hardly threw the ball to the side of the field that Devin Ross was covering. The Wildcats defense was only beaten that one time as Nelson and Nate Ness protected the deep ball very well.

As a team, the Wildcats were superior to Toledo from the first play of the game. On that first play, Tuitama found Thomas on a quick screen and Thomas broke it for a 30-yard gain. The play was an omen for the drive and the rest of the first half. The Wildcats were ahead 7-0 45 seconds into the game and never looked back.

The Wildcats face a tougher task against New Mexico next week and will need to play with the same level of intensity in order to get the victory.

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