Takeaways may define UA's defense

Takeaways may define UA's defense
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics).
(Cover photo courtesy: Arizona Athletics).

TUCSON, AZ - The Wildcats head into Pac-12 play tied with California for the top spot in turnover-margin.

Arizona is plus-four after three games this with seven total takeaways including five interceptions.

Junior safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles has three interceptions and a fumble recovery in 2017. His fumble recovery came in the win at UTEP on a ball that was forced out by freshman linebacker Colin Schooler.

Schooler also had an interception in the game.

The Wildcats have forced multiple turnovers in four-consecutive contests, dating back to the season finale in 2016, a Territorial Cup victory over Arizona State.

Totaled up, it's nine takeaways in four games that has yielded a plus-5 turnover margin.

Not surprisingly, the Wildcats have a 3-1 record in those games.

Before the current four-game streak, the wildcats caused multiple turnovers in only seven of the previous 24 games.

Additionally, the last time Arizona had a string of four straight games with multiple takeaways was in 2014, a stretch that saw the Wildcats cause 13 turnovers in a four game win streak that locked up the Pac-12 South Championship.

Should the Cats force two or more turnovers this week, it would be their first stretch of five such games in a row since the opening three games of the 2013 season combined with the final two of 2012.

The importance of forcing multiple turnovers? Arizona is 27-6 (.818) when doing so under Rich Rodriguez, a mark that improves to 14-1 (.933) if there are three or more takeaways in a game.

Copyright 2017 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

David Kelly contributed to this story.