The gaudy numbers for some of college football's most inventive offenses often cast a cloud over efficiency. Take Arizona's 59-37 win, where both teams racked up points and yards. The Wildcats just did it a whole lot better.
Washington State passed 79 times to Arizona's 74 combined rushes and passes. The Cougs' 20 rushes gained only 54 yards, while the Wildcats rolled up 157 rush yards on 4.4 yards per attempt and 297 pass yards on 7.7 yards per attempt.
Give credit to Arizona's defense, which saw a fine opportunity to shine against a team that wouldn't do what its last opponent did -- pound the rock up the middle. And on offense, Anu Solomon's five touchdowns and zero turnovers were the story.
Bundle it all up, and it means the Wildcats remain in control in the Pac-12 South. Moreover than looking in control, they've given every indication they have the pieces to improve and legitimately challenge for the division title.
So many snacks: Scooby Wright is often times the fourth lineman in what would look like a traditional 4-3 defensive front. On Saturday, he was in the backfield often. Wright recorded three sacks and forced three fumbles on the day while harassing WSU quarterback Connor Halliday when he held the ball for too long. The bad news for the Wildcats: they didn't recover any of the fumbles.
Still, the performance became indicative of a much-improved defensive unit that appears to have gotten so much better over the last three games. Wright and the line put enough pressure on Halliday, and the Arizona defensive backs didn't let anything get behind them. What was in front of them was extinguished quickly with solid tackling.
William Parks and Cam Denson both picked off passes to add more concerns on the Cougs' long list of them.
Talk about a fast start: A Washington State three-and-out started the game, and that's when DaVonte' Neal turned on the jets for an 81-yard punt return touchdown to open the game. He also caught the Wildcats' first defensive touchdown of the game.
They wanted to keep viewers: It was 31-0 with nine minutes left in the first half, and the Pac-12 Network announcers were grasping to keep their viewers. Crazier games have happened in the Pac-12 this season, they said. RIGHT. Oh, right. Washington State found a little offensive rhythm and scored as the Wildcats' offense sputtered. It was 31-13, and suddenly Jared Baker was running into his own blockers and fumbling on a kick return with less than two minutes left in the half.
Arizona lucked out as WSU missed an extra point on its second touchdown, but the Cougs tacked on a field goal following Baker's untimely fumble.
ANDDEN: ANDDEN the Wildcats took 1:13 into the third quarter to score a touchdown.
Annndden they would hit 52 points before the Cougs scored again.
Coug'n it: Give them credit. Washington State's wouldn't give up. Midway through the fourth quarter, Arizona led by more than three touchdowns but the Cougs tried an onside kick. Not only did the ball bounce around before being picked up and returned for a touchdown by Cayleb Jones; Wazzu picked up two penalties on the play, both of which were obviously overturned by Arizona.
This, after Washington State's Mike Leach fired his special teams coach following a 60-59 loss to California a few weeks back. The hot seat is officially hot in Pullman.
Running back attack is back: After USC solved Arizona's run game because of injury or not, the Wildcats made a solid rebound in the run game despite going to the passing attack more often to start the game. Terris Jones-Grigsby put up 107 yards on 13 carries, while Nick Wilson also returned from injury to take 10 carries for just 18 yards.