Scores

Final

N Arizona 24

(1-1, 0-1 away)

Arizona 45

(1-1, 1-0 home)

10:00 PM ET, September 8, 2007

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
NAU 0 3 7 1424
ARIZ 7 7 24 745

Top Performers

Passing: W. Tuitama (ARIZ) - 283 YDS, 5 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: M. Thomas (ARIZ) - 4 CAR, 80 YDS

Receiving: T. Turner (ARIZ) - 6 REC, 67 YDS, 1 TD

Arizona 45, N. Arizona 24

Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Willie Tuitama threw a career-high five touchdown passes, one shy of the school record, and Antoine Cason went 70 yards for a score on the second punt return of his career to lead Arizona to a 45-24 victory over Northern Arizona on Saturday night.

Arizona (1-1) led only 14-3 at the half but the spread offense of new coordinator Sonny Dykes, stifled in last week's 20-7 loss at BYU, came alive when Tuitama threw three TD passes in a 24-point third quarter against the Lumberjacks of the Big Sky Conference.

Northern Arizona (1-1) plays in what used to be called NCAA Division I-AA and now is known as the Championship Subdivision.

It was NAU's 16th consecutive loss to a Division I-A, or Bowl Subdivision, team.

Tuitama had scoring passes of 20, 34, 4, 26 and 27 yards -- to five receivers. He completed 23 of 44 for 283 yards. His only interception, in the third quarter, set up a 5-yard touchdown run by NAU's Lance Kriesien.

Trailing 38-10, the Lumberjacks scored twice in a 45-second span early in the fourth quarter. After Kriesien ran 2 yards for a score on the quarter's opening play, the Lumberjacks skidded the subsequent kickoff down the middle of the field. NAU recovered, and Lionel Scott ran 13 yards for a score to cut the lead to 38-24 with 14:07 left.

Tuitama put Arizona back in control, throwing 20 yards to a diving Delashaun Dean on the final play of the night for the junior quarterback.

On their first possession, the Wildcats went 69 yards in 10 plays, capped by Tuitama's 20-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Mike Thomas. Tuitama was 5-of-7 for 59 yards on the drive.

Cason took Keenye Crier's punt at the Arizona 30, broke a tackle as he crossed the field, then followed a blocker down the right sideline. Cason held the ball out in his left hand and stared back at the NAU players over the final few yards before he crossed the goal line.

The score made it 14-0 with 10:07 left in the half.

After a 43-yard field goal by the Lumberjacks' Robbie Dehaze made it 14-3, Arizona drove from its 47 to the Northern Arizona 2 in the final minutes of the half, but on fourth-and-1, Xavier Smith was stopped inches short of the first down.

Tuitama, who had never thrown more than two touchdown passes in a game, came out flinging in the second half. He was 11-of-20 for 160 yards in the third quarter, including TD passes of 34 yards to Terrell Turner, 4 yards to Anthony Johnson and 26 yards to big freshman tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Next week, Northern Arizona plays at Appalachian State, the team that stunned Michigan in its season opener.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
NAU
ARIZ
1st Downs1130
Total Yards243490
Passing187295
Rushing56195
Penalties15-1527-70
3rd Down Conversions4-167-15
4th Down Conversions1-10-1
Turnovers01
Possession26:1133:49

Passing Leaders

Northern ArizonaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Kriesien22/391874.800
ArizonaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Tuitama23/442836.451

Rushing Leaders

Northern ArizonaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Scott8445.5113
Henderson6172.8014
ArizonaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Thomas48020.0039
Smith17774.5011

Receiving Leaders

Northern ArizonaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Watson10474.7010
Henderson34414.7041
ArizonaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Turner66711.2134
Gronkowski26532.5139

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERNAUARIZ
TD09:12Mike Thomas 20 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERNAUARIZ
TD10:07Antoine Cason 70 Yd Punt Return (Jason Bondzio Kick) 014
FG07:19Robbie Dehaze 43 Yd 314
THIRD QUARTERNAUARIZ
TD14:08Terrell Turner 34 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 321
TD08:47Anthony Johnson 4 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 328
TD06:51Lance Kriesien 5 Yd Run (Robbie Dehaze Kick) 1028
FG05:23Jason Bondzio 36 Yd 1031
TD03:09Rob Gronkowski 26 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 1038
FOURTH QUARTERNAUARIZ
TD14:56Lance Kriesien 2 Yd Run (Robbie Dehaze Kick) 1738
TD14:07Lionel Scott 13 Yd Run (Robbie Dehaze Kick) 2438
TD12:25Delashaun Dean 27 Yd Pass From Willie Tuitama (Jason Bondzio Kick) 2445