Not only were the Wildcats (3-4, 2-2) outplayed in every facet of the game, but starting quarterback Khalil Tate exited after two series after appearing to re-injure his ankle.
True freshman Jamarye Joiner had a brief, unsuccessful stint before Rhett Rodriguez entered and did some decent things. The sophomore was 20 for 38 for 226 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Peterson.
Here is what UA head coach Kevin Sumlin had to say after the game, quotes courtesy of the Utah Athletics. Note that this story will be updated when/if more quotes become available.
On his message to the team after the game...
”Everybody has got to take ownership and responsibility. That starts with me. In situations like this, the little things can turn into big things; details, little things like that. The message was basically that everyone needs to look at themselves first and how they can be better, including me and the coaches, then move on. Like earlier in the year, when these situations come up, there’s not a lot you can do about this, but you don’t want this performance bleeding into the rest of the season. That was the message. We need to fix the things we can, and then continue playing with effort, and put our best people on the field who can give us a chance to win.”
On Utah scoring on four of their first five drives...
”The first thing that kept them on the field was, I think in the first series, they completed three third-and-longs. One by penalty, a couple of runs. Those third-and-longs kept them on the field. That kind of set the tone on the first drive. Give Utah credit because they were able to execute the three third-and-long situations. Give Utah credit for how they approached it, and how we didn’t. That allowed them to stay on the field for over seven minutes on their first drive. That set the tone for the rest of the game.”
On his quarterback situation with Khalil Tate going out in the first quarter...
”The situation was that last series Khalil was in there, I was concerned about him not being able to move at all. Running was out of the question, and even dropping back and handing it off. So, we’re always going to start with player safety first. We had an opportunity with Rhett. We gave him a shot to run the team in the two-minute offense to end the half, and he did move the team, and that earned him the right to start the second half.
“I thought that in tough situation he operated with poise, he looked comfortable. In a tough situation and in a really tough environment, I thought he handled it very, very well and was mature. We gave him an opportunity because of his maturity, because of where he is. He didn’t do anything to take himself out of the game. He operated pretty well with the situation that he was in.”