24 Hours Later: Reactions to NAU

After letting Arizona's 65-41 win over Norther Arizona marinate, here are some reactions to the first win of the year.

The Arizona Defense was…bad. The final numbers from the game were awful. Arizona gave up 442 yards and 41 points. That would be bad for any game, but especially bad against an FCS opponent.

On the plus side, the defense was not too bad in the first half. They gave up just 13 points and 171 yards. Even better, they gave up just 12 actual rushing yards (-18 with the bad snap on the punt). The lone touchdown drive was extended thanks to some bad penalties.

However, the second half was terrible. Although the Arizona defense was mixing in second and third team players, there is no reason they should give up 28 points and nearly 300 yards. It could have been worse. NAU’s Case Cookus threw a terrible pick in Arizona territory that ended one drive. It was the lone drive the Lumberjacks failed to score on. The NAU offense scored on four out of five possessions in the second half. Even worse, NAU found the endzone with their back-up quarterback.

While you can argue that these scores came against many reserves, what is concerning is that the defense failed to make any real adjustments and there is a problem when Arizona’s second and third stringers appeared less talented than a crop of FCS starters.

Arizona is…undisciplined. Arizona committed 11 penalties for 127 yards. There were two ejections, including one player committing not one, but two taunting/celebration penalties. For the season the Wildcats have committed 21 penalties, making them one of the most penalized teams in the nation. It would be one thing if this was a new occurrence, but the Wildcats struggled last season with penalties as well.

The running game was…great. Arizona ran for 450 yards and it could have been more if the Wildcats actually wanted Khalil Tate to run more. They were smart not to have him run too much since it could lead to injury. Gary Brightwell and J.J. Taylor both eclipsed 100 yards, and altogether there were five runners who gained 41 yards or more.

The offense was…potent. Arizona has scored 204 points in the last three games against NAU, so it is tough to be too optimistic, but the game plan was sound. Arizona ran 46 times and only passed 28 times with 23 completions. Nine different players caught passes, while 10 players had at least one carry. Arizona even got reps to three different quarterbacks, with Tate and Gunnell having great success.

The Wildcats will be hard pressed to score in the 60’s again, but it does look like the offense will be the strength of the team and as long as the Cats establish the run and Tate continues to make good decisions, the Wildcats will score some points.  

Comments (4)
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wildcat4evr
wildcat4evr

Texas Tech looked terrible vs. forever bottom-dwelling UTEP last week. UTEP is one of the worst teams in the country and TT looked mediocre at best. TT is the 9th best team in their conference in my opinion. Don't understand the "respect" they are getting in this upcoming game? 2019 TT is not years ago Tech, no carryover in CFB from years ago. Not being a homer in this thought, just seems like oddsmakers did not look at the two games TT has played so far this year - not impressive at all.

wildcat4evr
wildcat4evr

What would make you believe Chip Kelly at 3 - 11 so far and 3 -12 after this weeks game vs. OK will be an offensive juggernaut? He is the worst coach in the PAC12 right now with the talent he has. Stop giving him credit based on 10 years ago.

Gary Randazzo
Gary Randazzo

Editor

I take part of my post back. Texas Tech is favored by 2.5 this weekend.

Gary Randazzo
Gary Randazzo

Editor

Poor defense and penalties are killers for a team like Arizona. All the offseason chatter about improved on and off the field discipline has not translated to in-game performance yet. This must change with winnable games against Texas Tech and UCLA next on the slate. The way the team has played thus far, these might be the only two games where Arizona is favored to win on the rest of the schedule. Even then, I give the Wildcats a 50-50 chance of beating Texas Tech and about a 60% chance of beating UCLA. I have a horrible feeling right now that UCLA will have an offensive breakout against the Wildcats.



Gary Randazzo
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Brad Allis
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Brad Allis
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Gary Randazzo
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Brad Allis
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