The number of first downs were nearly even. The yard totals weren't too far apart. The UTSA Roadrunners contained the Arizona Wildcats' run game and did enough against the passing game, but just as Rich Rodriguez's team did all of last year, it did more than win the box score on Saturday.
Arizona beat UTSA 38-13 in Tucson behind a promising offensive performance and yet another strong defensive effort. It just took a bit for the Wildcats to settle in on defense.
The Roadrunners scored five minutes into the game on a 58-yard, 11-play drive that gave Arizona its first deficit of the 2013 season. But four minutes later, Wildcat quarterback B.J. Denker found freshman Samajie Grant for a 13-yard score on an 11-play, 82-yard drive to give UA a lead that would hold for the rest of the evening. Denker rushed 35 yards for another helicopter-spin-like score in the end zone minutes later, and the Arizona offense was off and running.
The Wildcats allowed a touchdown with 9:39 left in the fourth quarter, but otherwise, it was another dominating defensive effort, albeit against a team without many expectations.
There were fewer big plays in Week 2 than in Arizona's first two games. UTSA proved that it was indeed the toughest test yet and scored a second field goal after Arizona went ahead 17-3. Ka'Deem Carey, who had 27 carries for 128 yards on the night, rushed for a short score to give the Wildcats a 24-6 lead before halftime, and Denker scored on a one-yard score on UA's first possession after a break.
The Wildcats had 422 total yards and gave up 379 to the Roadrunners, but on 7-of-12 UTSA drives they gave up less than 40 yards.
The 3-3-5 defense isn't necessarily known as the bend-but-don't-break sort, but by allowing UTSA quarterback Eric Soza to go 30-of-47 in completions for 277 yards through the air certainly said a bit.
How about Arizona's own passing game? Relatively, it was promising. Denker hit 14-of-21 passes for 158 yards, a touchdown and no turnovers. Denker also also added 90 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on just 10 carries.
Overall, Denker's hot seat cooled off -- and that's if it was ever hot in the first place.
Jesse Scroggins was listed second on the depth chart but didn't dress, and Javelle Allen took garbage snaps and didn't throw the ball. Denker still hasn't been abysmal, and as such has only helped his cause. He'll start at quarterback until the wheels fall off, and that's not even close to happening as of Week 3. UA has a bye week followed by a game against the Washington Huskies at the end of the month, and that will be a true first test. Considering the circumstances, there's not much to be concerned about for now.
Arizona will show its true self in two weeks, and to accept a full three weeks of the regular season and then two off weeks before finally being challenged is something that should benefit Rich Rodriguez's team.
The defense has been overly-impressive. The offense has flaws but hasn't been a disaster. Even with UTSA keeping Arizona from big plays on Saturday, in a Big Ten sort of way, the Wildcats controlled the game -- they won the rushing battle with 264 yards to just 102 allowed.
It's hard to ask for much more.