Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats helmet-sticker update: Special teams responsible for three of six stickers vs. USC

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Arizona’s special teams play was the talk of the postgame shows and social media in a negative way after Casey Skowron’s miss wide right from 36 yards against USC on Oct. 11.

The Trojans survived 28-26 at Arizona Stadium in a game the Wildcats almost rallied again after trailing by double-digits. Arizona and its fans have experienced a steady diet of those kind of endings in recent years including the historic comeback wins over Nevada in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl and California this season.

The third time was not much of a charm against USC, but to the Skowron naysayers, consider these helmet-sticker achievements by the junior placekicker and Arizona’s special teams unit in general:

— Skowron’s perfectly executed onside kick, similar to his execution against Cal, put Arizona in position to try his last-second field goal.

— For the second consecutive game, a punt by Drew Riggleman was downed inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.

— Notre Dame transfer DaVonte’ Neal had a breakout game, including an impressive 43-yard return of a punt.

Arizona’s potent offense behind redshirt freshman Anu Solomon managed a sticker in each of the first six games of the season by achieving at least 10 plays of 12 or more yards. Arizona managed 10 such plays against USC with five of them coming in the fourth quarter.

Solomon’s 18-yard pass to David Richards in the last drive (after the recovered onside kick) allowed the Wildcats to earn a sticker by reaching 10 plays of at least 12 yards.

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HELMET STICKER RESULTS
HS: Helmet stickers
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Arizona also earned a sticker by achieving at least four drives of eight plays or more and by winning the turnover battle. The Wildcats finished with six drives that consisted of at least eight plays. USC turned the ball over on a fumble and an interception — Cody Kessler’s first of the season — while Arizona lost only a fumble.

Solomon passed 72 times and did not have an interception. He has not thrown a pick in 98 straight attempts extending to the Oregon game. Overall, he has only four interceptions compared to 15 touchdown passes.

Kessler’s streak of passes without an interception was 190 before Arizona’s Jonathan McKnight picked off his pass with 1:28 left in the second quarter.

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HELMET STICKER CRITERIA

The Wildcats earn cat claws for the Arizona helmet if they achieve these following marks. This helmet will be updated weekly as the Wildcats attempt to fill the helmet with the cat claws:

FIRST SIX GAMES

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LAST SIX GAMES

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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