Observations: UA and UNLV

Arizona defeated UNLV on Saturday night. Read on to see what the victory taught us.

Arizona blew out UNLV on Saturday night just like it was supposed to. The ‘Cats had more speed, talent and depth on both sides of the ball, and it was evident throughout as UA went on to win 58-13.

There's been a lot to like from Rich Rodriguez's bunch so far. Here are the major takeaway points from Saturday.

  • For the second week in a row, Arizona's passing attack was nonexistent. B.J. Denker completed 8-of-21 passes for 81 yards. Denker has shown very little ability to stay in the pocket and make a throw, and even when a receiver gets open down the field, he has been unable to put any kind of touch on the ball for a big gain.

    At this point, it's essentially like UA's running two (or three) running backs out there on every snap.

    That may work against NAU, UNLV and UTSA, but it's tough to see Arizona really moving the ball once conference play begins, unless drastic improvements are made to the passing attack.

  • While there was little to write home about with the passing game, the Wildcats really ran the ball well all night long.

    Daniel Jenkins made the start and continued to impress. Ka'Deem Carey came on late in the first quarter and shredded the Rebels for 171 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries. Jared Baker averaged 5.5 yards per carry. Denker reached the end zone twice and rushed for 63 yards. Even little used senior Kylan Butler got in on the action late and scored.

    It remains to be seen if UA can continue running the ball this heavily once the competition improves, but there has been a lot to like thus far.

  • The defense, sans a blown coverage in the second quarter, was really good as a whole. Take away a 79-yard touchdown run in garbage time and Arizona held UNLV to 2.2 YPC on 34 rushes.

    Jake Fischer and Tra'Mayne Bondurant both made terrific reads and were rewarded with pick-sixes. UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry looked confused all night and was unable to get much of anything going before being pulled in the second half.

    UNLV isn't exactly Oregon on offense, but it is a decent unit that was completely shut down on Saturday night.

  • Rich Rodriguez wanted to pick up the tempo, and that's just what Arizona did, racking up nearly 90 plays of offense.

    The lack of plays against NAU was likely more a product of the Lumberjacks killing the clock than anything, and it's pretty clear the Wildcats operate best when they're keeping the pedal to the metal. UNLV looked gassed by the second quarter.

  • Special teams play was much better than in the opener. Jake Smith went 3-for-4 on field goals, including an early 41-yarder to give Arizona the lead. Johnny Jackson didn't cough the ball up when returning punts, something Nate Phillips did twice last week.

  • Through two games, Arizona has taken just seven penalties for 65 yards. That's a really good sign, and if it can continue that pace throughout the season, the Wildcats will be in great shape.

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