It was just Casey Skowron's day.
Arizona turned to the same kicker that came into Saturday against Washington in a funk and took advantage of three Huskies turnovers to win 27-26 on the leg -- and legs -- of the former women's soccer manager. Skowron scored 13 of the UA points, making up for an ugly offensive outing by the Wildcats, who next face Utah with an 8-2 record.
In a funk himself for the third game in a row, Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon had Arizona ready to win by a touchdown minutes before Skowron and Tra'Mayne Bondurant, who forced the final UW fumble, saved the Wildcats. He threw an interception on a long drive when Trey Griffey broke off what appeared to be a fade route and that seemingly sealing Arizona's fate.
But Washington back Deontae Cooper, attempting to run down the clock, fumbled the ball with 1:23 left, giving UA possession and another life.
A replay review on an ensuing Solomon deep ball that was caught by Cayleb Jones showed that the receiver's toe was on the line in the back of the end zone, and so the Wildcats turned to Skowron as they had more than a month ago against USC. This time, a miss during the icing timeout got the bad juju out of the kicker. His 47-yarder as time expired was money.
That wasn't the only game-changing play for the kicker against UW.
Casey Skowron and @CoachRodAZ ... #WildcatFamily pic.twitter.com/8mVOohqZoV— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) November 16, 2014
Skowron the speedster: Arizona looked tentative -- until RichRod pulled out a fake field goal in the first half. With 1:39 to go in the second quarter, Skowron took a direct snap to the house on an 18-yard fourth down run.
Commitment to the run game: Early on, as in on the very first drive, Arizona tried all it could to convince Washington it would be attacking with the run game. An outside pitch to Nick Wilson to start seemed to send a message to UW and its front seven led by Danny Shelton. After two more runs up the middle, even a three-and-out was promising for UA. But the Wildcats were only fibbing early on. They went back to a pass-heavy attack that resulted in some big plays and some three-and-outs.
Arizona set up the first score of the game, a run by Wilson, with a 57-yard pass from Solomon to Samajie Grant, but Washington answered before the end of the first quarter by a backward pass and easy touchdown throw from receiver Marvin Hall to Josh Perkins.
Wilson finally got churning in the second half, finishing with 30 totes and 104 tough yards to go with two touchdown scores.
Blown opportunities mount for UW: One Washington field goal went off the upright. A red zone drive that abruptly ended with Cyler Miles losing the handle on the football, leading to an unforced fumble recovered by Arizona. A penalty brought a Washington score back. The Huskies recorded nine penalties for 67 yards, plus two turnovers, in the first half alone.
Meanwhile, Arizona played without any penalties in the first half and despite struggling offensively led 21-17 at halftime. A second fumble by UW with less than two minutes to play in the second quarter allowed the Wildcats to score another Wilson touchdown, a missed extra point play allowed for UA to win on the final field goal, and the third fumble obviously set up the chance for Skowron to win the day.
A different story to start the second half: Arizona's mistake-free day didn't last long into the second half. Wilson fumbled on the Wildcats' opening drive of the third, leading to a Washington field goal that made it a one-point game. With eight minutes to play in the game, the Huskies put pressure on Solomon and forced him into a deep pass that was easily picked off and he also threw the final pick -- one that appeared to be on Griffey.
Solomon went 17-for-39 for 242 yards and no touchdowns on the day.