Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats showed great offensive promise in their opening victory against Toledo, but the team still has a lot of work to do to improve their execution.
The Arizona Wildcats definitely proved they could move the football on Saturday night in Tucson. But they also showed they still have kinks to work out before they can move up to catch with the elite offenses in the Pac-12.
Arizona had over 600 yards of total offense in regulation, as they came close to doubling up Toledo in offensive production. They averaged 7.1 yards per play. They had 33 first downs. They even piled up 387 passing yards via the arm of Matt Scott, who looked surprisingly effective in his first real starting action.
And after all that? 17 points before overtime.
Here's how every Arizona drive into Toledo territory went.
1st drive: 12 plays, 92 yards (starting from their own 1) ending in a field goal at the Toledo 7. Fair, although a bit disappointing to go that far and come up with nothing.
2nd drive: Five plays, 63 yards, ending with a fumble at the Toledo six yard line.
3rd drive: Six plays, 80 yards, touchdown.
5th drive: Three plays, 47 yards, ending in a fumble on the Toledo 37.
6th drive: Six plays, 36 yards, ending in punt on Toledo 45.
8th drive: Two plays, 64 yards touchdown.
9th drive: Thee plays, one yard, punt on Toledo 45.
10th drive: Six plays, 26 yards, missed field goal on Toledo 6.
12th drive: Eight plays, 31 yards, turnover-on-downs on Toledo 49.
14th drive: 13 plays, 73 yards, missed field goal on Toledo 6.
If you're counting, that's 10 of 14 drives into Toledo territory ... resulting in 17 points. That's four drives inside the Toledo ten yard line ... resulting in a single field goal. That's a lot of execution issues that need to be fixed to keep Arizona going forward.
Hopefully, it's just an incredible extreme and the Wildcats will progress up to more normal splits. The Wildcats offense can be exciting to watch when things are run right.
SB Nation snippets
Speaking of Scott, he was a decided positive. He looked every bit as good as advertised in the new system, knowing when to tuck the ball to rush, and doing so effectively when he did. His passing was accurate and spread around the roster. Austin Hill and Dan Buckner showed signs of becoming a formidable one-two combination a la Juron Criner and David Douglas. Scott also showed veteran savvy in every decision save the late interception. Otherwise, he didn't force passes.
K_Zim of Arizona Desert Swarm talks about the defense, which looked surprisingly good. Jake Fischer won Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors for his efforts.
Greg Hansen noted that a team has run more plays against the Wildcats just three times in history. So all of a sudden, 358 yards (161 on the ground and 197 through the air) for the Rockets doesn't look so bad. That's 3.4 yards per rush and 4.2 yards per pass -- take away a bomb on the Shaquille Richardson bite and those numbers look even better.