The California Golden Bears were still clinging to hope Saturday night, lining up for an on-sides kick with 16 seconds left, trailing Arizona 24-17.
The kick went on two bounces to Arizona wide receiver Shawn Poindexter, who used his 6-foot-6 frame to jump and snag the ball, cradling it to the ground. One problem: Arizona was offsides, as multiple Wildcats bit on a fake kick to the left before the Bears kicked it to their right.
On the second attempt, Poindexter had an easier catch on a one-hopper, but Cal defensive back Jaylinn Hawkins, missile-like, launched into Poindexter, striking him in the head. Official flagged Hawkins for targeting, and he will have to miss the first half of Cal's game this week.
Poindexter, wobbly right after the play, got in the last shot when he tweeted after the game:
TURNOVERS IN TUCSON
Arizona came up with four turnovers against Cal -- three interceptions and a fumble recovery -- a week after getting three takeaways in a loss to USC.
The Wildcats, who had only one takeaway in the first four games, are at plus-1 in turnover margin for the season.
"The thing we've been talking about is turnovers and those type of things. That was something we were disappointed with early in the year and something that we've paid great attention to," Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said Saturday night.
"The turnover margin situation gives us the opportunity to win games."
TATE ON THE RUN
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate's 40 rushing yards on eight carries were a season-high. His biggest rush came when Arizona faced third-and-9 from its 4 after the Wildcats had made a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter.
On a run-pass option, Tate faked the inside handoff to JJ Taylor and, showing some of the 2017 speed and decisiveness, sprinted around the right end. That was the longest of his 44 rushing attempts this season.
"It's something I had to do," Tate said. "It's something the defense showed; they gave me a pull read."
Tate not keeping the ball as much this year worked to his advantage, he said.
"It was something that surprised them," he said.
--In a quirk of the schedule, two sets of former Mike Stoops assistants at Arizona faced off against each other Saturday as head coaches. North Texas (Seth Littrell) held off the upset bid of winless UTEP (Dana Dimel), winning 27-24. And 12th-ranked Central Florida (Josh Heupel) moved to 5-0 with a 48-20 victory over SMU (Sonny Dykes). ...
--Arizona linebacker Kylan Wilborn missed the second half because of a left shoulder injury, according to the radio broadcast on Wildcats1290.
--Arizona sophomore linebacker Colin Schooler tied for the team lead with nine tackles (with linebacker Tony Fields II and safety Jarrius Wallace), and he also intercepted a pass and improved his season total to 11.5 tackles for loss.
--PJ Johnson, at 335 pounds, started for the second consecutive game at defensive end, giving Arizona a trio of 300-pounders along its three-man line, as he joined Dereck Boles and Finton Connelly. Sophomore JB Brown also played end and came up with a sack and forced fumble when he was left unblocked off the edge.