Arizona was able to escape with a victory over Toledo on Saturday night. Read on for a closer look at how it happened.
It was wild debut for Rich Rodriguez
, but the Wildcats were able to come away with a 24-17 overtime victory over Toledo
on Saturday night.
The win moves UA to 1-0 on the season, but the game left more questions than it did answers. The Wildcats allowed the Rockets to hang close and even hold the lead for an extended period of time before holding them off in the extra frame.
Arizona should have won game handily but made several mistakes at the most inopportune times and the Wildcats almost ended up on the wrong side of a defeat.
A win is a win, however, and UA will go into next week's affair versus Oklahoma State with a win notched on its belt.
Quarterback Matt Scott proved that he already has a strong grasp of Rodriguez's offense, completing 30 out of 46 passes for 387 yards and throwing two touchdowns passes.
Scott also ran the ball 14 times for 74 yards and managed the offense really well. While there is plenty of concern surrounding the Wildcats after Saturday's performance, fans can rest easy knowing the quarterback position is one of the team's strengths.
Ka'Deem Carey had a career night, rushing the ball 20 times for 147 yards and a touchdown. The Tucson native showed why many expect him to erupt in Rodriguez's scheme, especially on a long 73 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
If Carey can have this type of performance on a consistent basis, UA's offense should thrive all season.
Arizona's wideouts proved to be a group littered with talent. Dan Buckner led the team in receptions with 10 and added 116 yards through the air.
Austin Hill's showing should have Wildcat fans excited. The sophomore caught seven passes and led the team in receiving yards with 139. Hill beat Toledo's defense over the top in the first half for a 34 yard touchdown reception where he dove and extended out to make an amazing diving catch.
Senior wideout Terrence Miller added six receptions for 80 yards and came up with the game winning touchdown in overtime. Miller is another receiver who proved he belonged on Saturday and should serve as a big weapon for this offense going forward.
Richard Morrison caught six passes for 44 yards, but made several key mistakes throughout the game. Morrison dropped a pass that would have been a touchdown in the first quarter and the Wildcats had to settle for three.
He later fumbled inside the 10-yard line, costing his team a chance at another score. In addition, Morrison muffed a punt in the second half, but fortunately it was recovered by Derrick Rainey.
Offensive mishaps were one of the main storylines from this game for the Wildcats. They fumbled the ball four times – losing the ball twice - and committed three turnovers. Arizona also saw two long touchdown runs – one by Daniel Jenkins and the other by Morrison – called back on penalties.
Arizona's offense gained 624 total yards of offense compared to just 358 for Toledo and still had to go to overtime to win the game. Toledo wasn't particularly strong on the offensive side of the ball, but UA's errors nearly allowed the Rockets to come away with the victory.
The defense, while only giving up 17 points, showed it has a long way to go to reach the level the coaching staff wants. Toledo's offensive numbers aren't eye-popping, but UA's lack of pressure in the opposing backfield and relaxed coverage permitted the Rockets to move the ball a little more frequently than the Arizona staff would probably have liked.
UA allowed Toledo to convert 10 of 15 third down attempts in the first half, but buckled down in the second half when the Rockets failed to convert on any of their eight third-down conversion attempts.
With Oklahoma State coming to town next weekend, the Wildcats have a lot of wrinkles to iron out before Saturday if the team wants any shot at winning that game.
In reality, Arizona should have held a comfortable lead by halftime against Toledo, but missed opportunities prevented that happened. If the Wildcats experience the same struggles in week two, it could be ugly, as the Cowboys aren't going to be as forgiving as the Rockets were on Saturday.