TUCSON • The Arizona Wildcats vowed not to overlook woeful Washington, and they didn’t.
Rob Gronkowski matched a school record with three touchdown catches, Nic Grigsby ran for 113 yards and the Wildcats routed the Huskies 48-14 Saturday night.
Willie Tuitama completed 17 of 21 passes for 193 yards and threw three touchdown passes for the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10), who are looking to end the Pac-10’s longest active bowl drought at nine years.
“Overall, I’m excited about everything we did,” Arizona coach Mike Stoops said.
“We played a complete game on offense, defense and special teams.”
Arizona learned from a bitter experience in 2006, when the Huskies, bound for ninth place in the Pac-10, came to Tucson and handed the Wildcats a 21-10 loss. That defeat ended up costing Arizona a bowl bid.
Driving for their first bowl berth since 1998, the Wildcats are stacking wins against a schedule ranked 90th in the nation, according to NCAA statistics. Arizona’s four victories have come against Idaho, Toledo, UCLA and Washington, which entered Saturday with a combined 2-16 record against major-college opponents.
After a visit to 3-3 Stanford next week, Arizona returns to Tucson to face Pac-10 contenders California on Oct. 18 and Southern California on Oct. 25.
“We are playing very well,” Stoops said.
“That’s why we are where we are. We are in a good position. It’s nice to be there.”
While the Wildcats are basking in their newfound success, the Huskies (0-5, 0-3) are looking for answers. The result likely won’t quiet speculation over the future of Washington coach Tyrone Willingham, who fell to 11-30 in three-plus seasons at the Husky helm.
“We can do a lot of things better,” Willingham said. “We obviously had a very poor showing here.”
Quarterback Ronnie Fouch, a redshirt freshman who made his first college start, said the Huskies are “not going to give up on our coach. We all came here for him, and we’re going to keep fighting and battling. No matter what it takes, we’re not going to give up this season.”