Another former Arizona Wildcats star shines Sunday in NFL


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Former Arizona Wildcats cornerback Antoine Cason, a Jim Thorpe award winner, has career lows in tackles (10) and passes deflected (two) in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals.

Yesterday’s performance at Tennessee, however, guaranteed him at least two interceptions in a season since his NFL career started in 2008.

His pick-six interception put the Cardinals ahead 34-17 in the fourth quarter. His second interception of Titans quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick set up Jay Feely’s game-winning field goal in overtime as the Cardinals survived with a 37-34 win. Cason also had a fumble recovery.

Antoine Cason holds the UA record with four returns for a touchdown in 1997

Antoine Cason holds the UA record with four returns for a touchdown in 2007

“It feels really good,” Cason, who signed with the Cardinals as a free agent this year following five seasons with San Diego, told The Arizona Republic. “I know I have a lot of work to do. I will get better for next week. That’s what’s really going through my mind, as crazy as it sounds.”

ANTOINE CASON CAREER STATS

Year Team G Tkl PDef Int TDs Yds Lng
2013 Arizona 14 10 2 2 1 36 20T
2012 SD 16 73 11 2 0 34 31
2011 SD 16 53 17 2 0 69 64
2010 SD 16 67 17 4 0 51 28
2009 SD 16 41 3 2 0 22 22
2008 SD 16 74 7 2 1 69 59T
TOTAL 94 318 57 14 2 281 64

Cason’s two-interception performance is another of many standout individual performances by former Arizona Wildcats in the NFL this year, most notably quarterback sensation Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles. Nick Folk has also kicked multiple game-winning field goals and is an incredible 30-of-31 with his attempts for the New York Jets.

Rob Gronkowski’s play after returning from forearm and back injuries was stellar, but a knee injury shelved him again. Lance Briggs has missed most of Chicago’s season with a shoulder injury but remains the team’s fourth-leading tackler with 64. He is expected to return Sunday against Philadelphia, setting up a potential situation of him trying to stop Foles.



Cadinals safety Tyrann Mathieu played cornerback in passing situations, but was lost for the season last week with a knee injury. In nickel packages, starting cornerback Jerraud Powers moves to nickel cornerback and Cason enters the game, defending a receiver to the outside.

Foles nears Arizona-NFL career mark. Foles is only 73 passing yards from becoming the leading passer among former Arizona quarterbacks to play in the NFL. He has 4,097 yards in two years. Fred Enke Jr. had 4,169 in seven NFL seasons from 1948-54.

For Foles to break that mark in only two seasons is another indication of Arizona’s lack of NFL quarterbacks in its history. The number stands only at four who have attempted a pass. Matt Scott, a rookie, is currently on Jacksonville’s practice squad and has not played in an NFL game.

Eddie Wilson (1962-65 in the NFL) and Bill Demory (1973-74) are the only other Arizona quarterbacks to attempt a pass in the NFL.

CAREER NFL STATS OF FORMER ARIZONA QUARTERBACKS

Player Years G GS Cmp Att Int TD Yds Lng
Fred Enke Jr. Fred Enke Jr. 1948-54 68 26 297 689 53 31 4169 65
Nick Foles Nick Foles 2012- 18 14 326 531 7 29 4097 63
Eddie Wilson Eddie Wilson 1962-65 56 2 90 186 6 5 1251 55
Bill Demory 1973-74 7 1 12 39 8 2 159 31

This site will periodically run statistic updates on former Wildcats who are active in the NFL throughout the season. The stats below are through Sunday’s games.

FIELD GOAL STATISTICS

Player (Years at UA) Team 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
Nick Folk (2003-06) N.Y. Jets 0-0 6-6 9-9 12-13 3-3

PASSING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Att Comp Yds Comp% Yds/Att TD Int
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia 266 165 2398 62.0 9.0 23 2

RUSHING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Att Yds Yds/Att Long TD
Nick Foles (2009-11) Philadelphia QB 50 209 4.2 21 3

RECEIVING STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Rec Yards Yds/Rec Long TD
Rob Gronkowski (2007-08) New England TE 39 592 15.2 50 4
Juron Criner (2008-11) Oakland WR 3 32 10.7 20 0

DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos Tackles Solo Assist Sacks FRec
Lance Briggs (1999-02) Chicago LB 64 47 174 2.0 2
Brooks Reed (2007-10) Houston LB 47 37 10 3.0 0
Earl Mitchell (2006-09) Houston NT 44 27 17 1.5 0
Robert Golden (2008-11) Pittsburgh CB 13 10 3 0 1
Antoine Cason (2004-07) Arizona CB 10 8 2 0 1
Spencer Larsen (2005-07) Tampa Bay LB 3 3 0 0 0
*-Trevin Wade (2007-11) New Orleans CB 0 0 0 0 0

INTERCEPTION STATISTICS
Player (Years at UA) Team Pos. Int Yds Yds/Int Long TD
Antoine Cason (2004-07) Arizona CB 2 36 18.0 20 1

* – Placed on inactive list each week since his signing Nov. 18.

An overall list of UA players active in the NFL:

Lance Briggs, LB, Chicago Bears
Eben Britton, G, Chicago Bears
Antoine Cason, CB, Arizona Cardinals
Juron Criner, WR, Oakland Raiders
Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Folk, PK, New York Jets
Robert Golden, S, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Spencer Larsen, LB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Earl Mitchell, NT, Houston Texans
Brooks Reed, LB, Houston Texans
Trevin Wade, CB, New Orleans Saints

List of former UA players on practice squads:

Dan Buckner, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Fendi Onobun, TE, Chicago Bears
Matt Scott, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars

WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report, Lindy’s College Sports and TucsonCitizen.com.



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