Foles turning into a star QB for Wildcats

TUCSON (AP) - A year ago this week, Nick Foles, after losing a tight battle with Matt Scott, got the call to warm up.

Arizona coach Mike Stoops, frustrated with his offense's ineffectiveness against Iowa, wanted Foles to take over in the fourth quarter.

Statistically, Foles was decent. Inside the huddle? Well, he was a bit antsy, which carried into his first career start the next week against Oregon State.

"He was a little jittery," Wildcats tackle Phil Garcia said. "But as the year went on, his demeanor calmed down as he felt more comfortable. This year, he's picked up where he left off."

Actually, he's taken it to another level.

A junior from Austin Westlake in Texas, Foles has become one of the best quarterbacks in a conference filled with star signal callers.

After throwing for over 2,400 yards and 19 touchdowns while starting the final 10 games last season, Foles has become the calm, cool leader Stoops envisioned when he arrived as a transfer from Michigan State.

Entering the season as the unquestioned starter for once, Foles has been stellar through the first two games, hitting a remarkable 83 percent of his passes for 574 yards and three touchdowns.

"He's not looking to run; he's looking to throw the football, does it very well," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "(He) does a good job getting the ball to different spots on the field and different players."

Ferentz and the Hawkeyes will get a firsthand look at how far Foles has come on Saturday, when they head to Tucson to face the 24th-ranked Wildcats.

They got a glimpse last season, when he was called in to start the fourth quarter in Iowa City. Foles did his best to rally the Wildcats in the loss, capping a 62-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Juron Criner that turned the final score into a more-respectable 27-17.

"I was excited to get my opportunity," Foles said. "I remembered them being a big, physical team. The one thing you realize when you play a team like Iowa is the game's a lot faster. The first drive, I was adjusting to the speed."