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Nick Foles Comes Up Big on Monday Night Opportunity

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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 12:   Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to hand off during rookie minicamp at their practice facility on May 12, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 12: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to hand off during rookie minicamp at their practice facility on May 12, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
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One stroke of bad luck after another marked Nick Foles' tenure at Arizona. The undisputed best quarterback in Wildcat history left without the accolades or the wins worthy of his play. He came oh-so-close to leading UA to its first Rose Bowl in 2009, and had a valiant, four-touchdown effort in decisive game against Oregon.

But the play calling went conservative, the Zona Zoo prematurely rushed the field, and Jeremiah Masoli became the hero of UO's comeback win.

Such was the existence of Foles. There's a reason "Nick Foles In A Losing Effort" became a catchphrase of the Solid Verbal. Karma might be turning, though.

Monday night, Foles got an opportunity to shine on a national stage. His initial preseason outing for the Philadelphia Eagles catapulted Foles past Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards on the depth chart to No. 2, and the inevitable Michael Vick injury occurred a little earlier than usual this season.

Foles made the most of his opportunity to step in with the Eagles' first string, going 18-28 for 217 yards, passing for two touchdowns and marching Philadelphia to a third. He even broke off a 24-yard scramble that bested any rush he had while at UA He captured national attention with his play, becoming a No. 1 trending topic on Twitter and turning heads.

His Eagles bested Rob Gronkowski's Patriots 27-17, but the true loser on Monday was not New England -- it was every Wildcat fan left to wonder what an Arizona offense with Foles passing to Gronk would have looked like in 2009.

Now, expectations for Foles should be tempered. Vick's rib X-rays returned negative and the tough, dual threat quarterback is Philadelphia's No. 1 until he absolutely cannot go. But Foles did solidify his spot as the top reserve. Furthermore, his play should not be castoff as mere preseason fodder against second stringers.

Philadelphia has a short turnaround before its third, and most important preseason game against Cleveland on Friday night. A start for Foles, should Vick still be nursing his injury, would lay a foundation for the rest of the season. Vick has not played a full regular season since 2006, suggesting UA's top all-time quarterback product would get a shot at an NFL start his rookie campaign.