Nick Wilson's big day: The next-man-up mentality was necessary for the Arizona Wildcats. A determined and tough UTSA Roadrunner team confused redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon and made the defense earn a win. Yet, the offensive success came on the back of freshman running back Nick Wilson, who finished with 174 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in place of injured starter Terris Jones-Grigsby.
Red light in the red zone: Casey Skowron was another savior for the Wildcats -- or the sign that they didn't have enough. In a win, it's the former. In a loss, the latter. The kicker went 4-for-4 and topped out at 44 yards, but that only meant the Arizona offense stalled in the red zone against a defense that was fine making a redshirt freshman quarterback make plays.
Different week, different problems: Last week, it was a slow start. This week, the Wildcats got out to an extremely fast start. Solomon hit Cayleb Jones with a short pass, and Jones turned it into an 85-yard touchdown score by shedding a tackle and slowing up to put a stiff arm on a pursuing defender. But after tacking on a field goal, the Wildcats' defense began struggling to keep up with a versatile offense, and the offense found its red zone troubles.
The hit of the game: It wasn't a good thing for Arizona. William Parks went left and reversed to the right side of the field. In doing so, he didn't see a UTSA defender ready to tee him up with a huge block.
Legal shot to Arizona's #11 on @FOXSports1. Shot was not to head or neck area & didn't lead with helmet.— Mike Pereira (@MikePereira) September 5, 2014
About that Vegas point spread ... : After the momentum -- and everything -- went UTSA's way, a few penalties helped Solomon and Arizona drive 85 yards for a touchdown capped by Nick Wilson's run with 26 seconds to go in the second quarter. The seven points gave UA a 20-16 lead, about halftway to the spread. So smart, Vegas. Give credit to Parks after returning from injury and Jared Tevis for getting a tackle for loss on a 3rd-and-1 run play that set up the score.
Keep away: A tense first half for the Wildcats was mostly due to UTSA playing keep-away. The Roadrunners led in time of possession 17:08 to 12:52 but had only gained 183 yards to 293 for Arizona. UTSA won the second half as well at 32:44 to 26:56.
There was a Realio: Thanks, UTSA punter. Kyryl Natyazhko is proud.
Making up: The defense was involved in one play where UTSA quarterback Tucker Carter had 11 whole seconds as his five-man line easily held off a three-man pass rush. Finally, in the final five minutes, Arizona's defense finally showed sturdiness to keep a 26-23 lead and give the offense a chance to burn out the clock. The offensive didn't take advantage, giving UTSA the ball back with less than two minutes left.
The one mistake: UTSA missed a chippy field goal and had a few penalties at the most inopportune times. Solomon finished 17-of-32 for 232 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. It was Carter who in the final minutes made the one big mistake, throwing a shovel-ish pass that fell short and into Jared Tevis' lap. The interception sealed Arizona's slim victory.