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Colorado vs. Arizona final score: Five takeaways from Wildcats’ loss to the Buffaloes

Yet another loss in the books

NCAA Football: Colorado at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Wildcats fell to 0-7 in Pac-12 play on Saturday night when the Colorado Buffaloes came to town and kept their hold of the Pac-12 South lead.

At halftime, Arizona trailed 28-10, and 42-10 after the third quarter. After not starting the game, Anu Solomon took over at quarterback for Brandon Dawkins, and led the team to a couple of touchdowns in the final quarter.

The final score ended up being 49-24.

Here are five takeaways from the game; nothing really earth-shattering or new though.

1. The secondary is in a poor state

Several times, Sefo Liufau was able to find a Colorado wideout that had absolutely burned his man in coverage. As CU was driving for their third touchdown of the game, Dane Cruikshank had left the game with an injury, which meant Arizona had Malcolm Holland and DaVonte’ Neal in the game as the corners. Holland was playing minor league baseball a year ago, and Neal has been the most disappointing five-star recruit in recent memory.

Cruikshank returned, as did Jace Whittaker, but neither were effective either. Plus, there were times when Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles was in coverage, and that is not his strong suit. At half, Liufau was 13-of-18 for 158 yards. He was able to do just about whatever he wanted with the ball.

For the first time all year, Kwesi Mashack was playing meaningful snaps in the secondary. He got some run at safety while wearing a new number on his back (45). The secondary is in a very vulnerable state right now.

2. When you’re not a good football team, committing penalties makes it impossible to win

Nine penalties for 87 halftime. 13 for 143 at the end of the game. There were several times when the offensive line committed penalties that stalled out drives, and then there were two defensive penalties that came on third down stops (holding and late hit) that extended drives, eventually turning into Buffs touchdowns.

Arizona hasn’t really had a huge problem with penalties (5.8 per game before this one), but it was a huge reason why it wasn’t able to keep the game close on Saturday. This is a reflection of the coaching staff, and needs to get fixed before the final two games of the year.

3. Colorado is legit

Let’s not forget, these aren’t the same Buffaloes that Arizona had gone 4-0 against the last four years. With all of the turmoil that happened at the top of the College Football Playoff rankings on Saturday, CU’s chances of getting a spot in that four-team playoff got a lot better. They finish the year with home games against Washington State and Utah, then potentially a Pac-12 Championship Game appearance against UW or WSU.

We are officially CU fans for the rest of the year here at the AZ Dessert Storm dot com.

4. Samajie Grant is actually a pretty good running back option

Sure, he fumbled. But he did his weekly hurdle for Arizona’s lone first half touchdown. That was his first career rushing TD, and Saturday he also went over 100 yards rushing for the first time in college. He picked up another score on the ground early in the fourth quarter.

If there’s an MVP of the 2016 Arizona Wildcats Football Program, it is Samajie Grant. No doubt.

5. All of the sudden, missed field goals are a thing again

Up until the last two weeks, Josh Pollack had been doing a really good job handling both the punting and kicking duties. At Washington, he struggled with the punting aspect, eventually getting replaced by Matt Aragon. This week, he struggled with the kicking, missing field goal attempts of 44, 50, and 44 yards, while connecting on a 23-yarder.

Just about everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong this year. Just add missed field goals to the list.

Arizona travels to Oregon State next week to play a football game at a currently undecided time and on an unknown television network.