Arizona opened the season with a 35-0 win. Read on for a closer look on how they won, including some stat information and a low for Rich Rodriguez's time in Arizona.
opened the season with a 35-0 win over the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks. The Wildcats shut out the opposition for sixty minutes and went on to victory without star running back KaDeem Carey
. Here is a closer look at how they did it:
B.J. Denker started the game for Arizona at quarterback. The first drive of the game was a quick and efficient one for the senior. He threw for 42 yards and ran for 23 during a ten play touchdown drive that gave the Wildcats an early 7-0 lead.
Denker struggled for the rest of the half, throwing for just 38 yards and rushing for another ten. He bounced back in the second half, helping the Wildcats get to a 28-0 lead by the time he left the game.
The senior finished with 87 yards passing on nine completed passes and 71 yards rushing on thirteen carries.
"I think he was solid," Rodriguez said. "He made a lot of good decisions tonight. There are a couple of throws that I think he would like back, but I think he was pretty solid. He did a good job for us getting his eyes in the right place looking for the defense."
Ka'Deem Carey was suspended for Friday's game due to "team policy". After some offseason problems, Rodriguez decided that Carey needed to sit out the opener. It Is likely that Carey will see his first action on the road next weekend against UNLV.
"We have team policies and team rules, but that is all in the house," Rodriguez said. "One of the ways to make it most effective is to have playing time taken away. I'm sure Ka'Deem was hurting because he is a competitor, but he should be playing in the next game."
Arizona played six freshmen in the home opener. Linebacker Scooby Wright stood out the most for the Wildcats on defense, playing a solid game throughout the night. He had six total tackles, including one for a loss. Wright also tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage that was intercepted by Tra'mayne Bondurant and returned for a touchdown.
"He's always going 100-miles per hour," Jake Fischer said. "Sometimes it gets him in trouble, but other times it helps him make plays. Once he learns all the little details, he'll probably be an All Pac-12 linebacker."
Daniel Jenkins 91-yard rush in the second quarter was the third longest rush in school history. The run was third behind Trung Candidate and Nic Grigsby. Candidate had a 96-yard run in 1997 against San Diego State and Grigsby had a 94-yard run in 2009 against NAU.
The senior running back ran twelve times for 139 yards in the game. He was hobbled by an injury midway through the second half and left the game briefly.
"I think he played a great game," Rodriguez said. "it was good to see him get that long run. I think he deserved it for all of his hard work.
"His run was good. I'm sure he is going to tease Ka'Deem because I don't think he has had one that long before."
In addition to his pick six, Bondurant also intercepted another pass in the third quarter. It gave him two for the game, which is already two-thirds of his career total. He came into the game with three interceptions in his two-year career.
"I just read the quarterback's eyes," Bondurant said. " I dropped back into my zone, he looked at me once so I tried to bait him, but he looked away. When he looked back, I knew the ball was coming so I made sure I didn't drop it.
"Getting a touchdown on defense is always good. I got the interception just off of playing hard, so my coach will be happy for that."
Arizona scored 35 points in the victory over Northern Arizona. The Wildcats improved from last season, as they only scored 24 points in an overtime win over Toledo. The eleven-point improvement is also interesting, given that the Wildcats ran just 47 total offensive plays throughout the night, the lowest in Rodriguez's time at Arizona.
It is also important to note that the previous low was the last time that B.J. Denker started: last season's win over Colorado.
"We averaged almost twice that last season," Rodriguez said. "Some of it is when they are going to have kill-the-clock type offense.
"We're going to have some games like that this year where we will have to fight and scratch our way to a win."
Derrick Turituri was playing in his first game as a Wildcat and recorded a sack late in the fourth quarter. NAU was facing third and goal from the nineteen-yard line when Turituri came up with the sack for a nine-yard loss. He finished with two tackles, including the sack.
Javelle Allen entered the game late in the fourth quarter and was immediately effective. He rushed once for six yards before breaking off a 61-yard touchdown run without a defender in sight. It was Allen's first collegiate plays from scrimmage.
"It was a read (for Allen)," Rodriguez said. "From my angle, it looked like he made the right read, but I don't know yet. I hope he made the right one.
"He is faster than I thought. A lot of guys run faster when they are being chased and I think he might be one of those guys."
Arizona also had help from another freshman on defense: Devin Holiday. The freshman snatched a tipped pass out of the air and recorded his first career interception. For now, Holiday is averaging one pick per game for his college career.
The Wildcats are still having trouble with the return game. With Davonte' Neal still caught up with the NCAA, true freshman Nate Phillips was back to return kicks. Phillips muffed two punts before he was replaced by Johnny Jackson.