Josh Pollack had a chance to be the hero in the Arizona Wildcats’ heartbreaking 41-40 loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday, but he missed a potential game-winning 45-yard field goal with 11 seconds left that allowed ASU to keep the Territorial Cup in Tempe.
Nobody feels worse about it than Pollack. The fifth-year senior issued a statement Sunday apologizing for the miss and thanking UA fans for “what has been the best five years of my life.”
Here is his statement in its entirety (via Twitter):
“I want to thank my Wildcat family for what has been an amazing five years. This program, the coaches, the players, fans, and everyone else that has been a part of this has had a huge impact on my life. I cannot thank you enough for all that. Things didn’t go the way anyone wanted to at the end. It’s easy to blame certain plays or individuals for what happened but football is a beautiful game. No single person can have the opportunity to do anything without 10 other players on the field, coaches giving you the opportunity, or other support staff getting you prepared to go out there. It is a team sport and we win and lose as a team.
“I had an opportunity at the end of the game to take the cup back to Tucson and I failed. I take full ownership for that kick but will not let it impede me on my future journey. Failure is a catalyst for grown, not just as a player but also as a person. At the same time I want to apologize to the wildcat family for letting you all down on what is everyone’s goal each and every season, to beat the team up north. Don’t let this game or this season define this team because I can say from being around these guys for years that they have heart and a surplus of motivation and work ethic.
“As John Wooden says, ‘success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.’ Expect this team to rise up in the future, support them in this tough time, and continue to believe in the process. There is something special here in Tucson and I will always be proud to call myself a wildcat. Bear Down!”
Pollack is hardly to blame for the loss anyway. UA coach Kevin Sumlin put the onus on the two turnovers Arizona committed in its own territory in the fourth quarter, which both led to ASU points, helping the Devils erase a 19-point deficit. UA’s coaching staff is responsible as well after making some questionable decisions (like twice going for two) and going conservative in the fourth quarter.
Plus, Pollack was 4 for 4 up until his miss and had made 13 straight field goals, turning in a solid senior season after he was originally beat out by sophomore Lucas Havrisik.
Still, it’s a classy move by Pollack to take ownership of the miss, and hopefully Arizona fans don’t hold it against him moving forward.