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October 18, 2008

Simulation: Wildcats fall to Cal

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 fell behind early - on the first play from scrimmage to be specific -- and it ultimately cost it as UA fell to California 23-17 in a hard fought defensive struggle.

Bears quarterback Nate Longshore was 26 for 32 for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception on the day. Longshore managed the Cal offense well and came through late when the Bears needed it most.

Cal's defense accumulated seven sacks of Wildcats' quarterback Willie Tuitama, led by three from backup defensive tackle Mika Kane and two from linebacker Zack Follett. The Golden Bears also intercepted Tuitama three times, once for a touchdown.

Tuitama completed 18 of 22 attempts for 200 yards and threw for two touchdowns and three interceptions.

The game started out badly for the Wildcats. After the opening kickoff, Arizona took the field and Tuitama dropped back to pass on the first play, only to be picked off by linebacker Anthony Felder who took the ball back 30 yards for the score as Cal took a 7-0 lead.

The score would remain the same until the second quarter.

On the second play of the quarter, UA had the ball inside its own five yard line. Tuitama dropped back to pass and was met by an untouched Follett in the end zone for a safety to give the Bears a 9-0 advantage.

After another Tuitama interception gave the Bears the ball again, Cal would stall at the UA one-yard line and settle for a 19-yard field goal from David Seawright to increase its advantage to 12-0.

On the ensuing drive, Arizona - led by Tuitama - would go on a 75-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Turner with 39 seconds left to bring the score to 12-7.

Cal would make a costly mistake on its first play from scrimmage when running back Jahvid Best fumbled the ball and UA linebacker Xavier Kelley picked up the loose ball and stumbled to the Cal seven-yard line.

Tuitama would hit Grigsby for a seven-yard touchdown with five seconds left in the half to give Arizona a 14-12 lead.

After a scoreless third quarter, Cal was able to get the first points of the second half on a 48-yard field goal from Seawright to give Cal the lead back at 15-14.

Arizona would respond by driving down to California 15-yard line. Consecutive sacks by Follett and nose tackle Derrick Hill would bring the drive to an end, but UA was able to take a 17-15 lead on a 35-yard field goal from Jason Bondzio.

Cal would get to the 45-yard line on the return from Shane Vereen to set the Bears up with good field position.

Longshore hit back to back passes to wide receiver LaReylle Cunningham to move Cal in the red zone. After a couple of short runs by Best, Longshore hit tight end Cameron Morrah for a six-yard score to give Cal a 23-17 lead.

With one last shot, Tuitama would attempt to lead a game-winning drive but on the third play, defensive back Darian Hagan intercepted Tuitama's pass at the Arizona 28-yard line to ice the game.

Jason Nimrichter

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