Arizona football opens 2023 season with breezy win over Northern Arizona

To kick off the highly anticipated Arizona football season in head coach Jedd Fisch’s third season at the helm — and the program’s last season as a Pac-12 member — the Wildcats cruised past Northern Arizona 38-3 Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.

In front of an announced attendance of 48,195, the most attended season opener at Arizona Stadium since the BYU game in 2018, the Wildcats avenged the historic loss to the Lumberjacks from the 2021 season — and won their second straight season opener for the first time since the 2014 and ’15 seasons.

The last time Arizona surrendered fewer than 10 points was the win over Cal in 2021 that snapped the Wildcats’ 20-game losing streak. It’s also the fewest points Arizona has allowed in a season opener since its 35-0 win over the Lumberjacks in 2013.

Arizona had 478 yards of total offense and averaged 9 yards per play — 14.6 per completion and 6.9 per rush; the Lumberjacks were limited to 264 yards of total and offense and averaged 3.8 per play.

The Wildcats set the tone with a seven-play, 65-yard drive, with de Laura completing all four of his passes, including a 37-yard completion to running back Jonah Coleman down to the 4-yard line. De Laura subsequently connected with defending Pac-12 receptions leader Jacob Cowing for the first touchdown of the season.

Coleman’s 7-yard touchdown in the second quarter lifted the Wildcats to a 14-0 lead. Coleman concluded the first half with three catches for 59 yards.

De Laura, who nearly threw his first interception of the season, exited the game for a suspected head injury in the second quarter after tucking for a run inside the red zone and colliding with an NAU defender. De Laura fumbled on the play.

Arizona freshman right guard Raymond Pulido did not start on Saturday for undisclosed reasons; backup right tackle Sam Langi started in…


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