The Arizona Wildcats were involved in a blowout once again, except this time, they were on the winning end of it. The Wildcats thrashed the Oregon State Beavers 44-7, and here were the 'Cats that were most responsible for the performance:
Offense: Anu Solomon
Man, oh man, was it nice to have Anu back. Solomon wasted no time getting the Wildcats' offense back on track when, on the opening drive of the game, he led the team on a 9-play, 75 yard drive that included a deep, 50-yard bomb down the far sideline to David Richards. The passing game returned to its normal self, and with the running game producing a 391 yard output, Arizona's offense was clicking on all cylinders. Solomon finished 17/30 for 276 yards.
It was kind of odd that he didn't have a single touchdown pass in a game that Arizona scored 44 points in. Oh well, he was still sharp, and it's great to have him back on the field. By the way, he has now thrown 145 passes this year, yet still hasn't thrown an interception.
Defense: Paul Magloire
There were a lot of players worthy of being this week's Defensive Player of the Game -- William Parks could have gotten it for his crushing hit on an Oregon State receiver, and Anthony Fotu could have gotten it for getting his first career interception -- but I felt that Magloire's switch from safety to linebacker had the biggest impact on the defense. The Wildcats did a nice job against the run and were able to get pressure on the Beavers' QB's. It was the defense's best game of the season, and Magloire led the team in tackles (9) and tackles for loss (2).
With Arizona's linebacker corps being so banged up, Magloire not only helped stop the bleeding, but he had one of the better performances from an Arizona linebacker this season. Hopefully he can keep it up moving forward, and perhaps his position change becomes the turning point for Arizona's defense this season. They sure looked like a whole different unit against Oregon State.
Special Teams: Everyone
Before this game, Arizona's kickoff coverage was notoriously bad. Oregon State tried to take advantage by taking kickoffs out from 3-5 yards deep in the end zone, but it didn't pay off for them. The Wildcats swarmed to the ball and tackled extremely well forcing OSU to start deep in their own territory a handful of times.
Drew Riggleman punted three times for 161 yards -- an average of 53.7 yards per punt -- and boomed one of them for 61 yards. Two of his three punts were inside the 20-yard line too. Casey Skowron, on the other hand, made all three of his field goal attempts with the longest of the three coming from 37 yards out. He also made a tackle, forced a fumble, and recovered said fumble on one kickoff. Unfortunately, the play was reviewed and it did not stand as it was ruled that the returner's knee was down. It will always stand in our hearts, though.