5:00 PM ET, October 14, 2006
Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Perhaps Arizona's Desert Swarm defense was reborn at Stanford Stadium.
Or more likely, the Cardinal are bad enough to make any defense look historically impressive.
Chris Jennings and Chris Henry ran for first-quarter scores, and Arizona rediscovered its ground game while holding winless Stanford to the worst offensive performance in school history in a 20-7 victory Saturday.
The Wildcats (3-4, 1-3 Pac-10) dominated Stanford's injury-plagued, inept offense, recording six sacks and holding the Cardinal to 52 total yards -- less than half the previous worst performance since Stanford began playing football in 1918.
Arizona also won it on the ground, rushing for 220 yards after averaging 54.8 over the Wildcats' first six games, including negative rushing yardage in each of their last three.
Injured quarterbacks Willie Tuitama and Adam Austin weren't missed as Arizona escaped the conference cellar and snapped a three-game losing streak by sending the Cardinal (0-7, 0-4) to their worst start since 1960.
"The whole time it's just been about execution, and today we came out and performed," said Henry, a native of nearby Stockton. "We knew we had to get out and get positive yardage. It gives the whole team confidence to get 200 yards against anybody, no matter who it is."
A nightmare season got even worse for the Cardinal when Trent Edwards, Stanford's senior starting quarterback, played just one series before apparently injuring his foot while scrambling. Backup T.C. Ostrander then struggled before injuring his knee on the Cardinal's final play.
"It was a situation I've been in before," Ostrander said. "Everything they did, we were prepared for. That's what's most frustrating."
Stanford managed just 17 total yards in the first three quarters before finishing with 52, including minus-6 yards rushing. In their ninth straight loss since last season, the Cardinal couldn't even come close to the previous worst offensive game in school history, when they had 116 yards against Tulane in 1979.
"We could not handle them physically up front, and that was the game," Stanford coach Walt Harris said. "I thought our defense did a good job in that they got better as the game went on, and the interception gave us hope."
Sprinter-turned-cornerback Wopamo Osaisai returned an interception 72 yards for Stanford's only touchdown.
The Wildcats held the ball for 38½ minutes and ran 64 plays to Stanford's 32 despite playing the second half with their third-string quarterback.
Kris Heavner, the Wildcats' starting QB for two seasons before transferring to Baylor and then returning to Tucson, mostly handed off to Jennings, Henry and Xavier Smith in his first playing in time in two years.
"The running game is a quarterback's best friend," Heavner said. "When you can get the running game going, you can do anything. The defense kept them in check the whole game anyway."
Heavner went 4-for-4 while capably replacing longtime backup Austin, who led Arizona to a 17-0 lead but hurt his knee late in the first half of his first start in place of Tuitama, who sat out after getting two concussions in the last month.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops elevated former Wyoming head coach Dana Dimel to co-offensive coordinator before the game, putting him in charge of the Wildcats' slumbering ground game. Arizona's rushing attack dominated, and Stoops matched his victory total from each of his first two seasons with the Wildcats.
"Mike is easy to work with," Dimel said of co-coordinator Mike Canales. "With Kris coming in, now we're down to our third quarterback, and you bite your tongue sometimes thinking about what plays to call. But we ran efficiently enough, and we made it easy for him."
Jennings rushed for a 16-yard score on Arizona's opening drive, and Henry added an 18-yard TD run 7 minutes later. Nick Folk kicked two field goals, and the Wildcats' defense did the rest.
Osaisai runs the fastest 100-meter dash in Stanford history, and he used that speed for the school's fourth-longest interception return after intercepting a long downfield pass by Austin, who also got hurt on the play.
The Wildcats gave up an 89-yard interception return for a TD last week against UCLA.
Heavner got his first action since leaving the team late in the 2004 season when he lost the starting job to Richard Kovalcheck. Heavner briefly transferred to Baylor and then returned to play baseball last spring, while Kovalcheck transferred to Vanderbilt after losing his own job to Tuitama.