Three minutes into the second quarter, there were some nervous Arizona Wildcats fans. NAU had just cut the UA lead to 14-13 on a 62-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Butler, and the secondary was looking shaky at best.
But then the Wildcats went on to nearly set a new school record for points in a quarter. They finished the first half with 28 unanswered, 35 total in the second quarter, one shy of the fourth quarter against Cal last year.
From there, Arizona put it in cruise control, taking the game by a score of 77-13. That's right, 63 unanswered after the score was 14-13. It was a new school record for points scored in a game, and was also a school record for total offense. Here's some of the main takeaways:
Dazzling Dave: Senior wideout David Richards had a career game, posting 120 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. His previous career high? 61 yards against USC last year. It was good to see him dominate a corner that he should have dominated.
Secondary sacks: The Arizona secondary had problems covering NAU's top two receivers early on, but they did generate a couple of sacks, and with Reggie Gilbert getting to Case Cookus on a regular basis, the NAU quarterback actually had to deal with pressure. Anthony Lopez picked up the first sack of the night, with Cam Denson tacking on the second. Tellas Jones also had a tackle for loss in the first half. Sani Fuimaono had a Sani Sack in the third.
Confusing Cam: There were some good things by Denson (the sack above), but that 62-yard TD strike by Cookus would have never happened had it not been for a personal foul committed by Denson during Lopez' sack, which was on a Lumberjack third down. And Denson was got beat by Butler on that TD. Early in the third quarter, Denson committed a pass interference, and on the very next play, picked off NAU backup QB Kyren Poe. It was a very strange night for the sophomore.
Football firsts: A couple of first career interceptions for new faces in the Arizona secondary. DaVonte' Neal had his, and then Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles got one early in the third quarter to thwart a lengthy NAU drive. After Flannigan-Fowles' pick, Brandon Dawkins ran the ball twice, one of them being a 43-yard TD run, his first career touchdown.
Accurate Anu: Solomon only played two and a half quarters, but definitely made them count. 25-35 for 285 yards, four TDs, and most importantly, no interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 177.5.
Receiving Randall: On the final drive of the second quarter, Jerrard Randall did in fact play wide receiver. He was lined up on the left side, along with Johnny Jackson and Jonathan Haden. Randall did get open, but did not get targeted by Anu.
Randall took over the QB duties halfway through the third quarter, and promptly scored a 72-yard TD run on his first play behind center, because he is a gazelle and everyone else on a football field is a wild animal much slower than a gazelle. He also had a 73-yard TD run. Brandon Dawkins got a rushing TD as well, and Zach Werlinger got the record-setting score.
Arizona will play UCLA next Saturday night in Tucson in a hugely important battle in the Pac-12 South. The Bruins will enter the game 3-0 as well after beating BYU 24-23.