Arizona was able to defeat Toledo in a close game on Saturday. Read on to see numerous notes on what went right, wrong, and more.
Hank Hobson was not dressed for the game after being listed as questionable with a shoulder injury earlier this week. In his place, redshirt freshman Sir Thomas Jackson got the start alongside Marquis Flowers and Jake Fischer at linebacker. Thomas Jackson had seven tackles on the night, playing every defensive snap of the night.
"He's a walk-on, he works hard every day in practice and he played hard tonight," Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez said of Sir Thomas Jackson. "I'm proud of him and how he hung in there tonight. He played every play on defense and some special teams plays."
Arizona had a strong showing on both sides of the ball in the first two drives of the game. The Wildcat defense held Toledo to a single first down to open the game, seeming to quell feelings that it may not be able to stop the opposing offense.
The Wildcat offense marched down the field, aided by two Terrence Miller receptions for 40 of his 80 total yards receiving. Though they were dominant in the open field, proving to be faster than the Rockets, The Opening drive stalled in the red zone and John Bonano connected on a 26-yard field goal to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.
Daniel Jenkins scampered for a 67-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, but it was called back on a holding penalty. Fabbians Ebbele was charged with holding as Jenkins found room up the sideline and it proved to be costly.
What would've been a 17-7 Arizona lead turned into a 14-10 Toledo lead after the Wildcats punted and the Rockets marched down the field to score.
Arizona also had another touchdown run called back in the third quarter, when Taimi Tutogi was charged with an illegal block in the back. Richard Morrison sped past defenders and into the end zone only to have it negated.
The penalty was critical, as Arizona could not score on the drive. John Bonano hit the upright with a 24-yard attempt to continue the Wildcats' kicking woes.
Arizona's defense struggled to defend on third downs in the first half, giving up multiple big plays instead of getting stops. Before halftime, Toledo had been successful on 9 of 11 third down conversions. After halftime, Toledo was just 1 for 12 in the second half after making a few adjustments.
"We just tried to get to the quarterback," Bandit Jared Tevis said after the game. "We tried to make him feel pressure and throw some poor passes. Letting him get out of the pocket and run really hurt us in the first half."
Turnovers were costly to the Wildcats in the game. Arizona fumbled the ball four times, losing it twice. In addition, Scott threw the only interception of the game early in the fourth quarter to Jermaine Robinson.
The two fumbles both came as the Wildcats were driving towards the end zone. Richard Morrison fumbled the ball after a reception within the ten-yard line and Austin Hill fumbled at the Toledo 36-yard line as Arizona was driving.
Early in the second half, Matt Scott stayed on the field on a fourth down to attempt a pooch punt. The kick traveled 54 yards and could have been downed at the one-yard line, but Austin Hill fell on the ball and knocked it into the end zone, resulting in a touchback.
Arizona surprised everyone in the stadium with an onside kick early in the second half. John Bonano kicked a short ball that bounced went just far enough before being recovered by the kicker himself. Arizona did recover the kick, but failed to score on the drive.
Ka'Deem Carey and Matt Scott both crushed their own career highs on the night. Carey broke his rushing total high with 147 yards total along helped by his longest play from scrimmage in a Wildcat uniform with his 73-yard rush in the 3rd quarter. It was the longest run for Arizona since Keola Antolin had a 78-yard run against Washington on October 25, 2010.
"Matt (Scott) just read that they only had five guys in the box and changed the play," Carey said. "It was just a race to the end zone after that.
"I thought that there might have been a penalty when I got to the end zone, but then I realized that there were no flags and it was a touchdown."
Scott also had career highs in rushing and passing yards. He completed 30 of 46 attempts for 387 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner. Scott also ran for 85 yards.
Late in the game, Arizona opted to go for it on a fourth and one from its own 46 yard line. Scott handed off to Tutogi, who scooted his way around the linemen before being tackled a few inches short of the first down marker.
It could've been a crucial mistake, but the defense held Toledo and forced a punt, keeping the game tied at 17.
John Bonano missed two field goals during the game, including a potential game-winner with two seconds remaining. The missed field goals were from short range, 24 and 25 yards, but Bonano hit the goal post with the first and sailed the second wide. He was a perfect 3 for 3 on extra points.
"John (Bonano) will make those, he's made them in practice the past few weeks," Rodriguez said. "He's a good kicker and he will bounce back. After he missed the one at the end of regulation, I told the guys, ‘We can hang our heads for one second, but they need to come right back up."