In a pretty unlikely scenario, the Arizona Wildcats scored a late touchdown to take the No. 9 Washington Huskies to overtime on Saturday night. Arizona was using its backup QB, its fourth-string running back, and was still able to put together a late drive to send the game to overtime.
However, they wouldn’t be able to get across the goal line again after the Huskies scored easily to open overtime.
It still goes down as a loss, and Arizona is now 2-2 on the season after losing at home 35-28. Here are the main takeaways from the tight loss.
1. The defensive line can’t hang with the (literal) big boys
Throughout the night, Washington quarterback Jake Browning had plenty of time in the pocket to do whatever he wanted to Arizona’s secondary. The Wildcats’ weak point is their corners, and Browning was able to take advantage of that repeatedly.
UW was also able to run it down Arizona’s throats to start the second half, which led to an easy touchdown to make it 21-14 less than four minutes into the third quarter. The score stayed that way for the majority of the second half. If the defensive line had been able to hold its own coming out of the locker room, maybe this is a different outcome.
Also, when a quarterback does this to a defensive lineman, you know there’s an issue.
2. Brandon Dawkins and J.J. Taylor are plenty explosive
Early on, Arizona’s offense was firing on all cylinders, and it didn’t need huge plays to move down the field. A 15-play, 75-yard drive kicked the game off, and then the Wildcats were able to drive down to the Huskies’ two-yard-line before failing on a fourth-and-goal attempt.
After that, it was....well, not great. Until about the final six minutes of the game.
3. But they are not plenty consistent enough
It took until just under nine minutes left in the fourth quarter for the redshirt sophomore to complete his first pass of the second half after starting the game 10-for-10. After the 79-yard TD run, he was unable to find any consistency throwing the ball, resulting in a costly interception on a long pass to Nate Phillips.
Then with Taylor, the running back suffered what appeared to be a pretty serious left ankle injury. He was not getting much in the way of yardage before the injury either though, as Washington figured out a way of preventing him from getting in the open field.
4. Three turnovers against a top-ten team won’t get it done
Two fumbles lost and a pick isn’t going to get it done against a team like Washington. The one interception was close to the endzone, which could be looked at as an even bigger turnover considering how the game turned out.
5. This team won’t be as bad as people think
The offense can certainly drive the ball well when everyone is on the same page. More time with Dawkins at quarterback will only help. However, now that Taylor has been lost due to a broken ankle, it will be interesting to see what happens with the running back situation. It seems like a guy like Tyrell Johnson will get to see some serious carries, especially now that he’ll likely be the first-team guy in practice.
The defense still has some issues, but Washington’s passing offense is one of the better ones they’ll see this year, and it didn’t totally fall apart. This isn’t a team that’s going to only win one Pac-12 game unless more injuries are on the way. It’s not all doom and gloom. At least, not right now.