Bottom line...it wasn’t a great day for Arizona, losing to Houston 45-18.
There is a lot that went wrong and still a lot to work on for Arizona.
Let’s take a look at three things we liked, and three things we didn’t.
Up: Shawn Poindexter and Tony Ellison
Poindexter finished the game with seven catches for 134 yards. That is solid production. Tony Ellison had another pretty solid game and made some great catches. His 46-yarder set up the 1st-and-goal we will talk about.
Down: Unable to score a touchdown on four attempts from the 1-yard line
Not much really needs to be said about this. This is not good. The offensive line just couldn’t get the necessary push to clear a path for the runner to get into the end zone. This is something that cannot continue to happen. The offensive line has to improve in order for any sort of success to happen.
Up: Young players get experience
Literally the only positive that comes out of a game like this. Multiple true freshmen and other inexperienced players got quality reps and that can help build depth in the long run. Darrius Smith is going to have a good career at Arizona. He ran hard, showed his burst of speed, and showed shiftiness anytime he touched the ball. Christian Young, Dayven Coleman, McKenzie Barnes, Jalen Cohcran and Jalen Harris all played a good amount of time. These types of reps will pay off in the future.
Down: The defense
It is now year three under Marcel Yates and the defense is still struggling. I understand not having multiple players out due to injury or what-have-you. But there has to be some form of improvement, and it just isn’t there. There are too many big open holes and missed assignments that killed UA.
The front seven did get pressure but did not contain D’Eriq King, which also did not help matters. It was nice to see a ton of substitutions and getting players experience, though. One positive is that Arizona had six tackles for loss.
Up: Dylan Klumph is the truth
Klumph had a much, much better showing against Houston. He did his job and held up his end of the bargain, pinning UH down inside their 20 three times and averaging 42.3 yards per punt. Not to mention he had two punts over 50 yards. It is hard, though, if your defense doesn’t stop the opposing offense.
Down: Miscues by skill players and special teams
There were multiple miscues by offensive skill players. Shun Brown dropped a couple sure-first-down catches. Tony Ellison had a killer holding penalty. Khalil Tate’s two interceptions come when he overthrew both receivers. Gary Brightwell fumbled on a 4th-and-1 which had a HIGH possbility of resulting in a first down if he held onto the ball.
The special teams mentioned above comes in the form of the kicking game. Lucas Havrisik had an uncharacteristic miss from 53 yards AND a missed extra point. The kicking game needs to be cleaned up before Arizona starts Pac-12 play against Oregon State in two weeks.