TUCSON - Willie Tuitama threw for five touchdowns and freshman Nicolas Grigsby rushed for 186 yards in his second Arizona start, leading the Wildcats to a 48-20 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.
Grigsby carried 30 times and caught nine passes for 76 yards, including a 22-yarder for a touchdown.
Tuitama, increasingly comfortable in first-year coordinator Sonny Dykes’ spread offense, completed 22-of-31 for 346 yards with no interceptions. He also had a 1-yard sneak for a score as Arizona (2-3, 1-1 Pac-10) scored 28 straight points after Washington State rallied to tie it at 20 early in the second half.
Another freshman, 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end Rob Gronkowski, had four receptions for 115 yards, including touchdown plays of 18 and 57 yards.
Alex Brink was 35-of-56 for 347 yards and three touchdowns for the Cougars, who lost to the Wildcats for the second year in a row. Brandon Gibson had 11 catches for 127 yards and a score.
The wide-open game featured 985 yards of offense, 567 for Arizona.
Down 20-7 with 2:53 left in the first half, the Cougars had 80-yard touchdown drives on their final possession of the second quarter and first possession of the third to tie it at 20. WSU would have had the lead had it not been for the first missed extra point by Romeen Abdullomahammadi in 27 attempts as Washington State’s kicker.
Arizona went back on top with two third-quarter touchdowns. Tuitama threw 27 yards to Mike Thomas for one score. His 64-yard pass to Terrell Turner, the Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage this year, set up the quarterback’s 1-yard sneak that made it 34-20.
Gronkowski’s long scoring play came next. Tuitama hit him over the middle, and the big tight end spun away from a would-be tackler, then rambled to the end zone, nearly losing his balance along the way.
The Cougars briefly went ahead 7-3 lead on Brink’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Charles Dillon in the first quarter.
The Wildcats took the lead for good on their next possession, Tuitama floating a pass over Grigsby’s shoulder on a 22-yard scoring play.