Turnovers sink Arizona in 42-31 loss to Washington

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 30, 2011
It was one of the few times this year that Arizona found itself in a position to win a tight game in the fourth quarter. The lack of experience in pressure situations may have been key as three fourth quarter turnovers allowed Washington to rally for 14 unanswered points to earn a 42-31 win over the Wildcats on Saturday night. With the win, Washington (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) becomes bowl eligible for the second straight season. After a 24-yard field goal by John Bonano gave Arizona a 31-28 lead early in the fourth quarter, Trevin Wade picked off Keith Price for the third Arizona interception. But a three-and-out gave the ball back to Washington, and Chris Polk continued his assault of the Arizona defense. Washington scored on the ensuing drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run from Polk. Nick Foles led the Wildcats (2-6, 1-5) to midfield, but on a quick screen, Juron Criner was stripped by Washington's Will Shamburger, and freshman linebacker Princeton Fuimaono recovered. Price then hit Jermaine Kearse for 24 yards, Polk sprinted for 14, and the Huskies were back on the Wildcats' doorstep. On third-and-1 at the Arizona 3, Polk squeezed for the needed yard, then scored his fifth TD on the next play to put the game away for the Huskies. ''We didn't execute,'' Foles said. ''I didn't play particularly well, especially at the end. I made some throws that I'm just not happy about, but you've got to move forward like anything else.'' Polk finished with 144 yards rushing on 34 carries and 100 yards receiving. He scored on touchdown runs of 1, 1, 5 and 2 yards and had a 17-yard TD reception from Price. Polk became the first player in Washington history with 100 yards rushing and receiving in a game. He set a new school record with his 18th career 100-yard rushing game and topped 1,000 yards for the season. ''It doesn't mean anything if it doesn't come with a win,'' Polk said. ''I didn't realize I scored that much today.'' Foles threw for 388 yards for the Wildcats but couldn't do enough to counter Polk's monster night. Foles finished 32 of 50 passing, and Criner had 11 catches for 118 yards and touchdowns of 24 and 9 yards. An emotionally draining game on me,'' Foles said. ''All you can do with this game is move forward. You've got to learn from your mistakes, and that's what you've got to do. This one hurts.'' After a 43-yard pass to Polk, Washington was on the cusp of taking a two-touchdown lead early in the third quarter. Price threw for James Johnson, who stumbled and never gained full control of the pass. The ball deflected out of his hands and into the arms of Robert Golden. He wove through Washington's offensive personnel for a 91-yard interception return for a touchdown. The wacky play rivaled Mason Foster's game-winning interception return for Washington two years ago in a 36-33 win over the Wildcats that bounced off the foot of an Arizona receiver and into Foster's arms. Washington answered with Polk's second touchdown run, but Arizona ran off the next 10 points and led 31-28 going to the fourth quarter. Washington got the big play it needed when freshman Kasen Williams took a quick post from Price, bounced off one tackle and carried another defender for a 48-yard gain to the Arizona 21 with less than 10 minutes remaining. After a 26-yard pass to Kevin Smith got the Huskies to the Arizona 5, Polk walked in to give the Huskies a 35-31 lead with 8:21 left. Arizona still carved up Washington's struggling defense for 424 total yards a week after the Huskies surrendered 615 yards to No. 4 Stanford. At one point in the first quarter, the Wildcats had 132 total yards to Washington's minus-10. But Arizona twice settled for first-half field goals when touchdowns were needed. ''They had a good rhythm going at certain times in the game, it just wasn't consistent enough for us,'' interim coach Tim Kish said. ''Probably in the red zone there three times and having to take three field goals and on the road, that's tough. We need to at least find a way to punch one or two of those in.'' It wasn't the sharpest night for Price, who didn't get much help from his receivers at times. Price was 16 of 30 for 277 yards and a TD. He threw a career-high three interceptions, but one came when the receiver slipped and another on one more strange bounce in this series. Kearse ran for a 6-yard touchdown in the first quarter on a lateral pass from Price.
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