Things we learned: Arizona vs Washington

After three consecutive weeks of inconsistent football by Arizona they were finally able to string out a complete game and almost upset the Washington Huskies in Arizona Stadium, despite playing poorly in overtime. The Wildcats showed this week that they can compete with anyone in the conference, and that they aren't going to go down easy this season. So what did we learn this week from Arizona?

Arizona needs to be taken serious: Vegas opened Arizona as 12-point underdog as they travel to the Rose Bowl for a huge week 5 matchup against UCLA. So why does Arizona need to be taken serious? Well from what we saw this last weekend against Washington; Arizona can play with anyone in the conference and can beat anyone on any given night. The Huskies needed overtime to beat the Wildcats and struggled all night to contain redshirt-sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins, who racked up a total of 343 all purpose yards. Arizona's offense also returned to the normal fast-paced spread attack that Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is known for, after stalling the first three weeks of the season.

Arizona has a Quarterback: It took four weeks, but Arizona has a starting quarterback and a really good one too. Redshirt-sophomore Brandon Dawkins has emerged as the new starter for the Arizona offense and has really taken control of the offense, and is finally making defenses play the entire field. Brandon Dawkins who will be the presumed started the remainder of the season has definitely seized control of the job after two impressive performances back-to-back weeks. Dawkins had one of the highlights of the game last night, outrunning Washington's entire defense on the way to a 79-yard TD run. Not only can Dawkins run the ball, he can sling the rock around as well. Dawkins threw for 167 YDs a TD and completed just over 60% of his passes last night, showing he's going to be Arizona's guy longterm.

Arizona can legitimately win the South: Arizona will play its first Pac-12 South opponent this coming weekend as they travel to Pasadena to take on Josh Rosen and the UCLA Bruins. UCLA is one of two teams Arizona is yet to beat in the Pac-12 since Head Coach Rich Rodriguez took over the program in 2012. Arizona's schedule does not get any easier after UCLA, as Arizona will travel to Utah before coming home to play host to USC and Stanford. With that being said Arizona will most likely be an underdog in three of its next four games, but will have a really good shot to win three of those four as well. If Arizona can continue the mojo they did against Washington, and continue to play well on both sides of the ball there's no reason Arizona can't win three of those four. Now is that a long-shot? Yes, but it's also not impossible considering UCLA, Utah, USC and Arizona all are very inconsistent and any of those teams can beat each other on any given night. If Arizona can steal a win on the road in Pasadena and some how pull one out on the road in Rice-Eccles; Arizona would be the front runner in the south as they would then play USC, Colorado, and ASU all at home to finish out the south slate. So as Rich Rodriguez would say "Why not Arizona?".

Arizona needs to find a way to stay healthy: The injury-bug has once again bitten Arizona again this year, luckily not as hard as last season though. Breakout running-back JJ Taylor will miss 6-8 weeks with a broken ankle after taking a huge hit in the second half of yesterday's game. The Wildcats health is a thing that could potentially be an issue all season and could make or break the team's year. If Arizona can get some guy's healthy such as Nick Wilson, DeAndre' Miller, and Parker Zellers, look for Arizona to make some noise in the conference this year. If injuries continue to batter the Wildcats look for a similar season to last year.

Final Verdict: Arizona's ceiling is extremely high after an excellent performance against a top-10 Washington team, and has potential to have an excellent season. Arizona's year is going to come down to playing consistent and staying healthy. If Arizona can play well and stay healthy they could shock a lot of people; if not it could be very similar to last year and have fans wondering when basketball season starts.

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