The Arizona Wildcats got to bowl eligibility far sooner than anyone expected last season, reaching the 6-win plateau in late October after a 58-37 home victory over Washington State. At 6-2, the prospect of a really good record—and a quality bowl game—were quite good.
Then November happened, with Arizona going 1-3 with road losses to USC, Oregon and Arizona State (sandwiched around a home win against Oregon State). That resulted in a less-than-sexy matchup with Purdue in the Foster Farms Bowl, a game the Wildcats lost 38-35.
The final record of 7-6 didn’t fully describe what Arizona accomplished in 2017, though it did do a good job illustrating the finish. That doesn’t sit well with the Wildcats.
“Nobody likes the taste of that, but you know, you’ve just got to leave that behind,” senior cornerback Jace Whittaker said. “I mean, we won some games, we got to a bowl game but we all wanted to be in the (conference) championship. It’s all about putting in the work and kind of can’t dwell on those types of things.”
Running back J.J. Taylor ran for 847 yards and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman last season but after gaining a career-high 153 yards with two TDs against Wazzu he averaged just 49.8 yards in the four late losses with just one score.
“We can do better, we’re trying to win every day,” Taylor said.