The Arizona Wildcats had a heart-breaking loss to the Washington Huskies in overtime. There were some inconsistencies, but when the team was clicking, they showed impressive playmaking ability. This team won’t be as bad as people think, and Saturday night proved that.
Now let’s get into the best players for Arizona in the thrilling Pac-12 opener.
Offense: Brandon Dawkins
Dawkins continues to show his athleticism and playmaking ability week in and week out. He started off the game 10-for-10 and busted a huge 79-yard touchdown run down the sideline to give the Wildcats a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. He was making great reads both running and passing in the first half.
The second half came and he started to struggle with consistency. With about six minutes left in the game, he found his rhythm again. He was able to avoid a sack by literally pushing Washington’s Vita Vea off of him and launch a well-aimed ball 54 yards down the field to Shun Brown. Dawkins also ripped off a critical 56-yard run down to the Washington seven-yard line that set up his second touchdown run.
Dawkins has a couple of things to work on, but his future is bright. He finished the game 19-for-31 for 167 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He racked up 176 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns on the ground.
Defense: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
Flannigan-Fowles was all over the field for Arizona on Saturday. He made some key tackles in the run game. One in particular was a 4th-and-1 that DFF came up and stuffed Washington running back Myles Gaskin for no gain to force a turnover on downs.
Flannigan-Fowles’ coverage was impressive as well, coming up with two big PBUs. One came in the fourth quarter on a Jake Browning pass to Darrell Daniels in the end zone. DFF’s PBU forced a field goal attempt, which Husky kicker Cameron Van Winkle missed wide right (his second miss of the game). Flannigan-Fowles’ second PBU came on a third down, forcing a three-and-out. Arizona would score on the ensuing possession.
Flannigan-Fowles finished the game with eight tackles and two PBUs.
Special Teams: Josh Pollack, K/P
Pollack continues to prove every week that he is a solid, consistent player. He was 4-for-4 on PATs, but was not needed for field goal duties.
He also boomed three punts for 155 yards. These include a long of 65 yards and two punts inside the 20-yard line.
Pollack has himself quite the leg.
This week, let’s put a spin on things and name some other Wildcats that performed well.
Shun Brown, WR: 114 yards on seven catches (caught every pass thrown his way)
J.J. Taylor, RB: 19 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown (before suffering devastating broken ankle)
The Offensive Line: They actually held their own for the most part against the much bigger Washington defensive line.
Cody Ippolito, LB: Six tackles, 1.5 TFL, 1.5 sacks
Jack Banda, DL: Five tackles, 2.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks
Dane Cruikshank, CB: Four tackles, 0.5 TFL, and an acrobatic interception (he wasn’t perfect, but was definitely improved and showed that playmaking ability Donte’ Williams loves)