(Photo credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports)
Backup quarterback Noah Fifita led the go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter and helped Arizona kill the final three-plus minutes as the visiting Wildcats outlasted Stanford 21-20 on Saturday.
Arizona (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) lost starting quarterback Jayden de Laura in the final seconds of the third quarter, when he sustained an ankle injury on a scramble while trying to get out of bounds.
Fifita, a redshirt freshman playing his first meaningful snaps of the season, entered on the next possession, leading a nine-play, 67-yard drive. The march was capped by a 2-yard rush from DJ Williams that put the visitors on top 21-17 with 7:42 to go.
Stanford (1-3, 0-2) reached the Arizona 21 on the ensuing possession, but Jacob Manu sacked Ashton Daniels for a loss of 6 yards on second-and-10 and Daniels was penalized for an illegal forward pass on third-and-16. The Cardinal settled for a 46-yard field goal by Joshua Karty to make it 21-20 with 3:08 left.
Arizona took over at its 11 on the final possession, with Fifita completing two passes for 14 yards as the Wildcats ran out the clock.
Fifita was 4 of 4 for 47 yards in the fourth quarter, and he ran twice for 9 yards. De Laura wound up 14 of 26 for 157 yards and a touchdown.
Stanford, which lost to FCS school Sacramento State last week, continued to rotate Daniels and Justin Lamson at quarterback. Daniels was 15 of 27 for 202 yards. Lamson rushed 13 times for 57 yards while completing 4 of 6 for 48 yards through the air.
Arizona, after trailing 10-7 at halftime, took its first lead of the game on its first possession of the second half. The Wildcats drove 66 yards on 11 plays, with de Laura strolling into the end zone on a 7-yard keeper around the left end to make the score 14-10 with 5:53 left in the third quarter.
Stanford responded on the next drive as Sedrick Irvin scored on a 1-yard run, bouncing outside for the touchdown after getting stuffed on an initial attempt up the middle. The Cardinal twice converted third-and-12 on the possession.
--Field Level Media