ARIZONA FOOTBALL

Arizona ‘excited’ to punctuate impressive season with matchup vs. Oklahoma in Alamo Bowl

Dec 28, 2023, 7:15 AM

Jedd Fisch, Arizona Wildcats...

Head coach Jedd Fisch of the Arizona Wildcats watches the action during the second half against the Utah Utes at Arizona Stadium on November 18, 2023 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Arizona coach Jedd Fisch is looking at his team’s appearance in the 2023 Valero Alamo Bowl on Thursday as a stepping stone.

No. 14 Arizona (9-3) will play No. 12 Oklahoma (10-2) in San Antonio at 7:15 p.m. Arizona time on ESPN.

“We’re just getting started,” Fisch told reporters at the official pre-game press conference on Wednesday. “This will be the fourth time, if we can get to 10 wins, that the program, since 1930, has gotten to 10 wins.”

Arizona won six consecutive games to end the regular season and capture its first bowl bid since 2017.

The Wildcats, under Fisch’s leadership, have improved from 1-11 in 2021 to 5-7 in 2022 to 9-3 in 2023. The eight-win two-year improvement is the most in program history.

Quarterback Noah Fifita is looking to cap a solid freshman season in which he placed second in the Pac-12 in completion percentage (73.6), a mark that is currently the best single-season completion percentage in program history.

The Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year threw for a school-record 527 yards and five touchdowns the last time Arizona played — a 59-23 rout over Arizona State in November.

“He is an incredible preparer,” Fisch said. “He loves the game of football. He’s addicted to the game of football. He’s somebody that not only does everything right off the field, he does everything right on the field.”

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables said he respects and appreciates what Fisch and his staff has done in just three seasons.

“They’ve developed things the right way,” Venables said. “Recruited these guys, have kept them there and developed them. They’ve gone through some tough moments as they built their program. They can play with anybody. I think they’ve shown that this season.”

Arizona is 1-1 vs. Oklahoma all-time. The last time these teams competed was in 1989. The Wildcats won 6-3.

“We know we got an incredible opponent ahead of us,” Fisch said. “Oklahoma has done an amazing job this year, amazing job in years past. It is a true blue blood of college football.”

He added, “We’re certainly excited. Our team’s ready to go. It has been awhile since we played a game. Those guys have been practicing 14, 15 times. I think all they want to do now is play another team and not look at one another.”

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