Arizona continues to work it’s magic and move to 8-2 on the season after a thrilling 27-26 win over the Washington Huskies from Arizona Stadium Saturday afternoon. Here are five things we learned.
Casey at the pylon: The game was getting close to being out of reach at the end of the 1st half when Casey Skowron stepped up to kick a field goal. He went into that play having missed five of his last nine attempts. Rich Rodroguez rolled the dice and decided to run a fake field goal with a direct snap to Skowron who ran the ball in for six. That play turned around the momentum of the game. He went on to hit two field goals after that touchdown run, the second was the game winner with no time left on the clock. After missing the possible game winner against USC last month, Skowron received extremely unnecessary abuse on social media. Great to see him be resilient and come through on this day. He said after the game that “every time he kicks, he thinks about that USC game.”
Anu decisions: Washington defensively had a great game plan to go with their already great personnel. They limited Nick Wilson for much of the game, even though he had two touchdowns, and took away the inside run that really gets the offensive flow rolling. They also took away Solomon’s ole reliable quick slants. As a result, Solomon was in no rhythm all game and relied on low percentage deep ball throws. Some were caught, most were not. The ones on 3rd and 4th and change which either weren’t close to being caught or were intercepted was some head scratching decision making on his part. But as been the case all season, Solomon was a warrior. He was able to move the chains when he needed to and almost converted an incredible touchdown pass to Cayleb Jones which was out of bonds by a mere centimeters. With every passing game, Solomon learns something new which is invaluable for a redshirt freshman.
Third Down, Let Down: The Arizona defense just could not get off the field in this game and a large reason for that was because of the incredible execution by Washington on third down. They did a fine job running the ball on 1st and 2nd down which led to more manageable 3rd downs. Because of it, the Wildcats weren’t able to make a play in these situations from the start of the game through the last drive of the game and watched the Huskies go 13-22 on third downs. However, the Wildcats would force a huge turnover on defense on that final drive and not allow it to go to third down. The turnover lead to the game winning field goal by Skowron.
Points off turnovers: This is more of a season long note rather than a note from this game but what the Wildcats have done on both sides of the ball off of turnovers has been nothing short of spectacular. After this game which includes the Skowron field goal at the end of the game which came after the defense forced a fumble, they are outscoring opponents 69-6 in points off turnovers. They allowed one field goal to Washington moving that number to six but coming into the game, they had allowed just three points which was the best in the FBS coming into the game. Taking advantage of turnovers on offense and regrouping after turnovers on defense has been a large reason for their success this season.
60 minutes of Arizona: It has been the same all season long. It may not always be pretty, it definitely won’t be perfect, but if you do not compete for 60 minutes, the Wildcats will make you pay. That was made true once again in this win by Arizona as they were out-played for much of this game. But they were able to take advantage of many Washington miscues. They are still very much in the race for the Pac-12 South with two huge games left. They travel to Utah next week in what will be an extremely hostile environment against a very good team.