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UTSA vs Arizona: Position group grades for the Wildcats

The offense was fine, the defense was not.

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Offense

Quarterback

Anu Solomon's performance was very underrated on Thursday. He ended the day going 22-36 for 229 yards and four touchdowns, equating to a 151.2 quarterback rating.

He also seemed a lot more elusive in the pocket, escaping what should have probably been sacks, and extending the play out. He finished the first half 11-22 for 170 yards and two touchdowns. In the second half, he went 11-14, throwing for 59 yards and two more touchdowns. He also had a 35 yard run into Roadrunner territory.

Solomon seemed a lot more crisp on his throws, especially in the intermediate passing game, as seen in the second half, averaging just five yards per completion.

Overall Grade: B+

Running Backs

Nick Wilson had nothing going on early and it was really gross to watch the offensive line. At half time, Arizona had just 32 rushing yards and 10 attempts. The running backs ultimately ended with 132 yards on 31 carries, averaging just over 4 yards per carry.

Wilson had a rare fumble in the second quarter, which put UTSA in great field position.

Jared Baker proved to be a solid backup option for Wilson, ending his day with 35 yards on just nine carries. He might not be the great complimentary back that Terris Jones-Grigsby was last year, but he will be able to take about 8-13 carries off of Wilson per game.

Overall Grade: B

Offensive Line

Nick Wilson couldn't get anything going in the first half, and Anu Solomon was left on his own to scramble and extend plays. Freddie Tagaloa was out with an injury, which put Layth Friekh at left tackle.

Cayman Bundage didn't have any troubles getting the ball to Solomon, but surprisingly, from Bundage to Lene Maiava, the offensive line was pretty rough.

Luckily, they were able to pick it up in the second half, and it made Nick Wilson look like his normal self.

Overall Grade: C

Receivers

Johnny Jackson was the clear favorite of the diminished group, with Trey Griffey, Samajie Grant and Tyrell Johnson all out for the game. The two big receivers on the outside, David Richards and Cayleb Jones, both hauled in three catches and a touchdown from inside the 10 yard line.

Josh Kern got involved a bit with two catches, and Shun Brown also brought in two catches, but resulted in 0 net yards.

There weren't any drops on any catches that should have been made. A common theme throughout the night was just Anu Solomon overshooting on the long ball, with the receivers beating the coverage, just a step or two behind the overthrown ball.

Overall Grade: B+

Defense

Defensive Line

The defensive line seemed pretty nonexistent. There wasn't a ton a pressure on the quarterback and UTSA was able to run the ball pretty efficiently. No defensive tackle finished with more than two solo tackles and there were no sacks recorded. In a 3-3-5 defense, the defensive line isn't there to make a play, but to contain their gaps and allow the rest of the defense to do their job. But vs UTSA, their performance seemed far from stellar.

Overall Grade: C-

Linebackers

You have to give this group the benefit of the doubt, as they were playing without Scooby Wright III for a majority of the game, and still might be trying to fill the void of Cody Ippolito. This is definitely an area of concern for Arizona, especially if Wright is out for an extended period of time.

When you have RJ Morgan, Haden Gregory and Jake Matthews all in at once, it's a little concerning.

DeAndre' Miller and Derrick Turituri were decent. but aside from those two, the linebackers didn't really do too much. They definitely left the middle of the field open for the tight ends, letting David Morgan get right behind them repeatedly.

Arizona's linebackers couldn't seem to put it together given the shake up, and it showed all night long

Overall Grade: C-

Secondary

For being a true freshman, Sammy Morrison played pretty well. He only got beat once and it wasn't a backbreaking play. UTSA definitely tried to expose the inexperienced corners and many times that inexperience showed. DaVonte' Neal was tied for first in tackles, which is great to see from a new corner.

Devin Holiday got some reps and he allowed a touchdown. Jarvis McCall was in for a series when Sammy Morrison got hurt after giving up a big play, Kwesi Mashack and Jace Whittaker got some time on the field, and that was about it from the corners.

Arizona gave up a lot of intermediate passes, but they didn't allow UTSA to connect on a long ball, which happened too many times last season for Arizona.

Overall Grade: C+