Here's the report card from the game, where there's definitely room for improvement going into games against better teams.
The more I thought about this, the more I bumped the grade up, based purely on how important Jerrard Randall ended up being in the comeback. Without him in there, Arizona doesn't win. And he performed really well, going 3-for-3 through the air, and rushing the ball 11 times for 81 yards.
Anu Solomon wasn't awful (22-of-37, 283 yards, two touchdowns), and he still hasn't thrown an interception this year. But his lack of mobility, combined with the offensive line's ineffectiveness, boxed Arizona in, and they couldn't get out of their own way on offense for the middle two quarters.
Again, I don't think it's all on Anu. I think the offensive line has to take the majority of the blame for how poor the offense looked for that middle stretch, but there's no arguing the switch to Jerrard won the game.
Running backs: B+
Jared Baker did have a career-high 207 yards, but more than half of those came on just two of his 23 carries. He broke off a 79-yard TD run in the first quarter, then reeled off a 45-yard score in the fourth quarter. Outside of that? 83 yards on 21 carries. Fairly average numbers there. Again, this falls more on the offensive line.
Tyrell Johnson got some carries, three to be exact. And no Orlando Bradford was strange, especially since there was no Nick Wilson. It really came down to two big plays, but that's all they needed in the end. Baker also did a good job picking up blocks when Jerrard Randall would take off.
Wide receivers: B+
There weren't any horrible things that happened after Samajie Grant dropped a touchdown on the first drive of the game. There was a David Richards drop, but Cayleb Jones made a couple nice plays, Nate Phillips was looking good in the slot. Josh Kern caught a touchdown. And the receivers were blocking well for those Jerrard Randall runs.
Offensive line: D+
This was just awful to watch at times. Solomon was sacked four times. The rushing game couldn't get anything consistent going. The front-five were just getting outplayed for a majority of the game.
Then Jerrard Randall comes in, takes off running every single time, and makes their life easier because he's so fast.
Oh, and snaps from Cayman Bundage are going to be a talking point all week again. He was all over the place, and was hitting Anu in the facemask before the quarterback was looking. I don't know what's going on with Bundage as far as having the yips, but he needs to take some sort of Beta blocker or something to calm himself down. This is out of hand.
Defensive line: B
The defensive line was not stellar, but they got the job done when it mattered, and that's what counts. And get ready for Jack Banda stuff all week. He had two sacks in his first significant action as a collegiate defensive lineman. It's fun to see new people contribute.
One play that stood out to me for the line was when Colorado had Nelson Spruce matched up against Jace Whittaker on the near sideline on a crucial third down. Reggie Gilbert then forced Sefo Liufau out of the pocket to the far side, making the Spruce mismatch obsolete. That's a play that could have given Colorado the win. But Gilbert got pressure at a critical time, and forced a punt.
Gonna be honest, didn't really notice the linebackers that much throughout the game, and was surprised to find out Jake Matthews had eleven tackles. Paul Magloire had seven tackles of his own, and Sir Thomas Jackson had five. The line got more numbers than normal, but the linebackers certainly did what they needed to do.
Jace Whittaker got the start at corner with DaVonte' Neal out, and Whittaker got worked for a little while. Cam Denson played pretty well when he was tested in the first half, but gave up a big play to start the second half to let Colorado take the lead. It was not the same level of play from the secondary as it was against Oregon State, but again, they made plays when they had to in crucial spots. So even though it wasn't great overall, it's still enough.
Special teams: D
First things first, Casey Skowron missed field goal. He doinked one off the upright from 45 yards out. He did make a 48-yarder earlier in the game though.
But this poor grade is on the punting game this week. Drew Riggleman just seemed not confident, and was kicking linedrives throughout the night, which seemed to throw him off. And then his coverage wasn't good either. Jonathan Haden let one go in the endzone for no reason. Other weird things were happening.
Then on the return side, Samajie Grant was back deep twice instead of Nate Phillips, and the second time, the ball hit Trey Griffey in the back, leading to a Colorado touchdown. This is not a team that can survive punt team mistakes, especially multiple ones. It was weird.
But it was a win. Guaranteed.