Nick Foles played in 35 games in his Arizona career and he won 19 of them, which was good enough to help Mike Stoops‘ program reach a higher level with his career record-breaking performances.
He quarterbacked the Wildcats to two of their biggest bowl appearances — the 2009 Holiday Bowl against Nebraska and 2010 Alamo Bowl against Oklahoma State.
Philadelphia Eagles fans hope Foles has a better fate against the New England Patriots tomorrow than what the Wildcats endured in those two blowout losses. Arizona lost 33-0 to Nebraska and 36-10 to Oklahoma State.
Foles completed only 9 of 29 passes with an interception against the Cornhuskers. He was 32 of 50 for 280 yards against Oklahoma State with three interceptions and a touchdown.
Unfortunately, Foles’ career came to an end in the same season Stoops was fired mid-season in 2011. In terms of wins, Foles did not reach his potential with the Wildcats, but he left the program as its most accomplished quarterback in terms of his passing stats and NFL potential at 6-foot-5 with a strong and accurate arm.
Foles also won memorable games at Arizona against some of college football’s top names in coaching: Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll and Dennis Erickson.
The following is a ranking of five of Foles’ best games at Arizona that helped established him as the greatest to stand in the pocket for the Wildcats.
5. Arizona vs. Iowa, Sept. 18, 2010, Arizona Stadium
Final Score: Arizona 34, Iowa 27
Completed 28 of 39 pass attempts for 303 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Nick Foles hit William Wright with a late 4-yard touchdown pass and No. 24 Arizona’s defense held its ground in a nationally-televised win over ninth-ranked Iowa. Foles, who shook off a pick-six thrown earlier in the game, avoided Iowa’s rush by releasing quickly on the final drive. He completed 4 of 5 passes, including the decisive strike to Foles with 3:57 left. The Wildcats started strongly as well with Foles. Arizona held Iowa to a quick three-and-out on its first drive. David Roberts broke through to block the punt, which Marquis Flowers recovered at the Hawkeyes 8. Three plays later, Foles hit David Douglas on a 5-yard slant for a touchdown. Flowers will try to thwart Foles in the Super Bowl as a New England Patriots linebacker.
4. Arizona vs. Oregon State, Sept. 26, 2009, Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Ore.)
Final Score: Arizona 37, Oregon State 32
Completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 254 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Nick Foles’ first collegiate start was a promising one, which was key for coach Mike Stoops to trust him the rest of the way in place of replaced starter Matt Scott. Foles directed the Wildcats’ spread offense efficiently against Oregon State. Foles, a sophomore that season after transferring from Michigan State, started out strong by completing five of his first seven passes in a 15-play, 71-yard scoring drive capped with a 2-yard strike to Delashaun Dean. Foles also connected with Greg Nwoko for a 52-yard gain and found Juron Crier for a 3-yard touchdown pass four plays later.
3. Arizona vs. ASU, Nov. 19, 2011, Sun Devil Stadium
Final Score: Arizona 31, ASU 27
Completed 35 of 51 pass attempts for 370 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Nick Foles broke the Arizona single-season records for yards passing and pass completions and still had a game to play, a non-conference game at home against Louisiana-Lafayette to conclude his career. Foles was 6 of 7 for 79 yards on a 7-play, 94-yard drive that cut the lead to 24-21. Foles threw short to Gino Crump, who evaded four would-be tacklers on a 33-yard touchdown play with 10:25 remaining. Foles was forced to leave the game later in the fourth quarter after getting shaken up and was replaced by Bryson Beirne, who connected on the go-ahead touchdown pass of 23 yards to Juron Criner with 5:18 remaining. Foles completed 6 of 6 passes for 67 yards on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive to start the game. The big play was a 48-yard pass to Criner.
2. Arizona vs. USC, Oct. 1, 2011, L.A. Coliseum
Final Score: Arizona 21, USC 17
Completed 22 of 40 pass attempts for 239 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Down 17-14 with 7:13 left in the game, Nick Foles engineered the game winning drive by converting three straight third downs against Pete Carroll’s team. When Foles saw single coverage on his top receiver, Juron Criner, he changed the play to a streak route. Criner caught the long pass and eluded a tackle before scoring the decisive 36-yard touchdown with 3:14 to play. “It comes down to will and wanting it, and our guys have a lot of heart,” said Foles, who also had an early touchdown pass to Delashaun Dean. “USC played great, but our guys wanted it more.”
1. Arizona vs. Stanford, Oct. 17, 2009, Arizona Stadium
Final Score: Arizona 43, Stanford 38
Completed 40 of 51 pass attempts for 415 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Foles’ production helped the Wildcats overcome Stanford and high-profile quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck threw for 423 yards and three scores with an interception. The Cardinal’s had their four-game winning streak in Tucson snapped. The game turned when Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, his leading 38-36, went for it on fourth-and-1 at Arizona’s 8 with 5:27 left in regulation. Luck found Chris Owusu in the flat, but Owusu dropped the ball. On Arizona’s ensuing possession, Nic Grigsby’s 57-yard touchdown run on a third-and-17 play made the 53,479 in attendance go wild. Luck drove his team to the Wildcats’ 17 with 50 seconds remaining. He ran out of luck, missing on his last three passes.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.