Scores

Final

(9) Iowa 27

(2-1, 0-1 away)

(24) Arizona 34

(3-0, 2-0 home)

Coverage: ESPN

10:30 PM ET, September 18, 2010

Arizona Stadium, Tucson, AZ

1 2 3 4 T
#9IOWA 0 7 7 1327
#24ARIZ 14 13 0 734

Top Performers

Passing: R. Stanzi (IOWA) - 278 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Hampton (SIU) - 7 CAR, 30 YDS

Receiving: D. Johnson-Koulianos (IOWA) - 7 REC, 114 YDS, 1 TD

No. 24 Arizona uses defense, late TD to deny No. 9 Iowa 

Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. -- One big first-half play after another, Arizona seemed well on its way to a rout. One stumble after the next in the second, a debilitating letdown was on the way.

One final gut-checking drive and the Wildcats have what they hope is a program-defining win.

Nick Foles hit William Wright with a late 4-yard touchdown pass and No. 24 Arizona held its ground in the national spotlight with a momentum-swinging 34-27 win over ninth-ranked Iowa Saturday night.

"I'm speechless right now trying to figure out what just happened out there," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "When they were challenged, they challenged them right back."

Looking for a big-ticket win to solidify its rise to prominence, Arizona (3-0) stomped on Iowa early behind a slew of big plays that had old Arizona Stadium shaking. The Wildcats blocked a punt to set up their first score, Travis Cobb returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Trevin Wade ran an interception back 85 yards for another score.

Up 20 points at the half, Arizona was well on its way to the measuring-stick win it needed after two lopsided Ws over pushovers.

Iowa (2-1) is no easy mark, though, and tightened its defense in the second half, grinding Arizona's high-scoring offense to a halt. Ricky Stanzi hit two of his three touchdown passes in the third quarter and the Hawkeyes tied it in the fourth, when defensive end Broderick Binns stuck his hands up and the ball stuck, leading to a 20-yard interception return.

Then, momentum shot right back to Arizona.

With Binns trying to catch his breath and his teammates still celebrating, the Wildcats partially blocked Trent Mossbrucker's extra point, leaving the score at 27-all. Arizona shook out of its second-half funk on the next drive, moving 72 yards in nine plays for the Foles-to-Wright score, and sealed the first-big-test win with three sacks of Stanzi.

"Obviously, we're disappointed to not come out with a win," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "Our sloppy play in that first half made it difficult."

Iowa rolled over its first two not-so-challenging opponents by a combined score of 72-14. The road trip to the desert represented a little tougher challenge: a long-distance road game (over 1,500 miles) with a late start (9:30 p.m. Iowa City time) in hot-air-dryer heat (close to 100 at kickoff).

On top of that, the Hawkeyes were facing a talented Arizona team looking to prove itself against a big-school program in one of the most-anticipated nonconference games in the 81-year history of Arizona Stadium.

The Wildcats were certainly up for it, producing one big play after another in a stadium-rocking first half.

Arizona held Iowa to a quick three-and-out on its first drive, then David Roberts broke through to block Ryan Donahue's punt, which Marquis Flowers recovered at the Hawkeyes 8. Three plays later, Foles hit David Douglas on a 5-yard slant for a touchdown that had the rowdies in red jumping and pumping their white pompoms.

Iowa was marching on its second drive, but receiver Marvin McNutt Jr. had the ball slip through his hands and it fell right to Wade, who had a clear shot to the end zone for an 85-yard score.

Barely five minutes into the game, Iowa was in a 14-0 hole.

The Hawkeyes kept plugging away on offense, though, moving 93 yards for a 4-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi to Jewel Hampton, the first touchdown against Arizona this season.

Then Cobb burst through a seam like one of the pregame fireworks on the ensuing kickoff and was gone, 100 yards for a touchdown that put Arizona up 21-7.

"That was tough to watch from the sidelines," Binns said. "Iowa is not normally known for having a lot of problems on special teams."

Tacking on two field goals by Alex Zendejas, including a career-long-matching 47-yarder, Arizona had a seemingly comfortable 27-7 halftime lead.

Seemingly.

Turning up the defensive pressure, Iowa stymied Arizona's offense in the third quarter -- 58 total yards -- and pulled within 13 points on a 37-yard touchdown pass from Stanzi to Derrell Johnson-Koulianos.

Iowa came up with a big play of its own on special teams, recovering a muffed punt by Bug Wright at the Wildcats 18. Stanzi hit McNutt on a backpedaling touchdown pass at the edge of the end zone on the next play, making it 27-21.

Binns followed with his at-the-line grab and return for a score, only to watch in amazement from the sideline as the PAT wobbled away from the uprights.

Then it was Foles' turn.

Getting the ball out quickly to avoid Iowa's strengthening rush, the junior completed 4 of 5 passes on the final drive, hitting Wright for the decisive score with 3:57 left. Foles finished with 303 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-39 passing, solidifying his -- and his team's -- place among the country's best up-and-comers.

"That was a big win for our program," said Tim Kish, Arizona's co-defensive coordinator.

One to remember.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
IOWA
ARIZ
1st Downs1919
Total Yards307366
Passing278303
Rushing2963
Penalties6-6012-103
3rd Down Conversions4-135-13
4th Down Conversions0-10-1
Turnovers13
Possession27:5232:08

Passing Leaders

IowaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Stanzi18/332788.431
ArizonaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Foles28/393037.821

Rushing Leaders

IowaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Hampton7304.3017
Robinson1050.508
ArizonaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Grigsby14271.9018
Antolin6264.309

Receiving Leaders

IowaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Johnson-Koulianos711416.3137
McNutt36622.0137
ArizonaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Douglas77410.6115
Wright56713.4119

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERIOWAARIZ
TD12:45David Douglas 5 Yd Pass From Nick Foles (Alex Zendejas Kick) 07
TD10:10Trevin Wade 85 Yd Interception Return (Alex Zendejas Kick) 014
SECOND QUARTERIOWAARIZ
TD14:50Jewel Hampton 4 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Trent Mossbrucker Kick) 714
TD14:36Travis Cobb 100 Yd Kickoff Return (Alex Zendejas Kick) 721
FG05:42Alex Zendejas 22 Yd 724
FG00:16Alex Zendejas 47 Yd 727
THIRD QUARTERIOWAARIZ
TD07:15Derrell Johnson-Koulianos 37 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Trent Mossbrucker Kick) 1427
FOURTH QUARTERIOWAARIZ
TD08:59Marvin McNutt 18 Yd Pass From Ricky Stanzi (Trent Mossbrucker Kick) 2127
TD08:12Broderick Binns 20 Yd Interception Return (Pat Blocked) 2727
TD03:57William Wright 4 Yd Pass From Nick Foles (Alex Zendejas Kick) 2734