Anu Solomon and Nick Wilson did it again. There were certainly too many uncomfortable moments for the Arizona Wildcats in 35-28 win, but the good news is that RichRod's crew again made the necessary plays to stave off the upset bid from the Nevada Wolf Pack.
Strong signs from the defense -- sort of: OK, so an opening drive by Nevada that lasted 9:26 isn't the best thing for Arizona, not for a team that needs possessions to get in an offensive rhythm. Still, it was impressive that the defense held the Wolf Pack to a field goal after a red zone stop to start the game. Jeff Casteel's crew also held on the next Nevada possession -- the Wolf Pack settled for a 21-yard field goal. Most impressively, there were signs of a solid pass rush and push from the defensive line at points in the game. At points. On the positive side of things, Arizona held the pistol offense to 2.7 yards rushing on the evening. The pass defense: not so good.
Nick Wilson is still good: Twenty-nine carries for 171 yards and two touchdowns good.
A lotta Wilson, notta much else: Terris Jones-Grigsby remained sidelined this week and Wilson seems firmly atop the running back depth chart. It's hard to imagine that won't be the case even if Jones-Grigsby is healthy, but it'll be intriguing to see who gets what snaps.
Tyrell for the touchdown: It was a little underthrown, but such good touch. Tyrell Johnson made the slight adjustment to haul in Anu Solomon's pass for a 35-yard score to put UA ahead 21-6. Solomon threw a mirror-image of a pass to Cayleb Jones later in the game -- it also included a zone-read fake, rollout and pass on the move that was spot on target.
Bad signs from the defense: The Wolf Pack had a hard time getting yards on Arizona in the third quarter -- until third down. On a 3rd-and-14 in the middle of the field, the Wildcats blew a coverage on a simple slant route across the middle. It was one of three third downs picked up during Nevada's 16-play, 84-yard drive that tied the game at 21 apiece with 6:03 left in the third quarter. Arizona responded with two scores -- both passes from Solomon to Jones.
The slide: Hard to put too much blame on Solomon, who passed for 278 yards and hit 22-of-26 passes for three touchdowns -- all after an early interception. But a slide he took late in the game and on fourth down gave the Wolf Pack a possession that led to a score and brought them within a touchdown with six minutes to play. Wildcat fans lost a few years off their life because of it, but perhaps the play now deemed harmless to the win column will add a few years of experience to Solomon's resume.
RichRod chewing on Solomon for not knowing where yard marker was _ slide too early and came up short on fourth down— John Marshall (@jmarshallap) September 14, 2014
What's the wideout hierarchy look like?: Maybe Nevada did everything it could to stop Austin Hill, who absolutely burned the Wolf Pack in the 2012 New Mexico Bowl. Yet, it looked and felt odd that Cayleb Jones caught nine balls for 116 yards and Hill only caught two passes for 17. Arizona has the ability to get a new guy hot each week, but how this goes will be something to keep an eye on.