Arizona Wildcats want to keep building on 5-win season

Nov 27, 2022, 12:00 PM
Arizona running back DJ Williams (32) scores a touchdown against Arizona State in the second half d...

Arizona running back DJ Williams (32) scores a touchdown against Arizona State in the second half during an NCAA college football game, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Arizona Wildcats punctuated their 2022 season with a home victory over heated rival Arizona State in the season finale Friday afternoon.

With the emotional triumph, Arizona ended its second season under coach Jedd Fisch with a 5-7 record and will likely have several key players back next season, including QB Jayden de Laura, RB Michael Wiley, WR Jacob Cowing and S Jaxson Turner.

Friday’s win was Arizona’s fifth of the season, a four-win improvement over 2021. Four wins is tied for the second-best year-over-year improvement in program history, as Arizona has experienced a five-win jump two times (1967-68, 1997-98).

“This season has been a good season, in terms of we’ve competed really well in a lot of games,” Fisch told reporters after Friday’s game. “We all have regrets, we all wish we won more games, but in this case right now, the build is still the build. The build isn’t changing. We’re still trying to get better. We want to get better … and keep building off of what we did.”

In addition, Arizona won the Territorial Cup for the first time since 2016, snapping a five-game skid.

The Wildcats had a season-high five takeaways vs. ASU, and 16 takeaways for the season, 10 more than last year. The Wildcats were 5-2 when they won or broke even in turnover margin, 0-5 when they lost the turnover battle.

Arizona finished the season with 45 offensive touchdowns and 370 points. They scored only 206 points and 20 TDs last year.

Cowing on Friday extended his reception streak to 44 games, the longest streak in the nation.

He finished the season with 85 catches for 1,034 yards – the third-most catches and eighth-most yards in a season by a Wildcat. Meanwhile, wide receiver Dorian Singer had three catches for a team-high 91 yards on Friday and finished the season with 1,105 receiving yards, sixth-most in school history.

De Laura finished the season with 3,685 yards, third-most in Arizona history.

“I feel like this win means a lot, especially for older guys, all the trials and tribulations they’ve been through in their career here,” de Laura told reporters after Friday’s game.

“And for the young guys, it just helps them to see that this is how it should be here. And this is what is kind of expected with our team that we have. So, it’s a good win going into this offseason, that’s kind of the first thing I told coach Fisch when we came into the locker room.”

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