Arizona led 17-13 at the half, but were outscored 38-10 the second half. Our full recap can be found here, and here is what Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin had to say after the game.
On the overall game: “You know, we talk about it every week, and then I said this week at the press conference, it comes down to really three things: turnovers, penalties, and special teams. You can’t play a team of that caliber and turn it over that many times, have a punt block, and all the things that happened first half and (win). To still be ahead (at halftime) was really a miracle. Our defense held up, because we gave them short fields in the first half and kept them to field goals, but we couldn’t respond in the second half.”
On Arizona’s offense: “We had spurts of offense, right? We weren’t very consistent, we couldn’t run it the way we wanted to. They did some interesting things with run throughs and linebackers to try to get the perimeter and they did a nice job there, and we found out our best thing is just to run right at it. I thought J.J. (Taylor) coming back, he did some nice things. It was either hit or miss. We either got a gain of none or a gain of 12 because of how they were doing it.
“So you look at the numbers and J.J. had 18 carries coming back for 95 yards, and Tilford 49 yards and Wiley six (carries) for 35. So you look at the paper, the game didn’t look like that. Guys averaged that much because they’re either zeros or 10, and you get behind the chains. We just didn’t play very well, and you can’t play a team like that or any of these teams and not be consistent and turn the ball over the way we did.”
On what Washington did to create pressure on the pocket: “They did a nice job with the front four, but they also did a nice job with their linebackers of running through. I mean, even the run game they just kept coming when we dropped back. They had some safety blitzes, which we hadn’t seen a bunch of. Played some (cover) zero a couple times and just dared us to (throw) and we couldn’t get it off. So give them credit, they did a nice job. Like I said in our locker room, we got outplayed, we got outcoached, and that’s something that we gotta handle, and that’s the message. When you have problems, you admit what it is. I mean, it whatever that is. Those blitzes we’re going to see from here on out, and we’ve seen more in the last three weeks.”
On how Khalil Tate handled the pressure: “We talked about that, him stepping up in there and not avoiding the rush so much to the perimeter because they were containing him. And so when he was bailing out, he was bailing out right into either pressure or the blocking surface, right? So, he had to step up in there, and there were times where he could have stepped up and ran. Instead of bailing out to the side, he’s gotta push up in the pocket and make some things happen.”
On if Tate is 100 percent healthy: “I don’t know, to be honest with you.”
On if running backs Bam Smith and Gary Brightwell were out with injuries: “Yes.”
On what broke down on Washington’s punt block: “Yeah, it was just a different formation. They left their d-line in and when they’ve done that they’ve been over the course of the last two years, they’ve been a return team. And I mean, in two years, I think they came after one punt and that was after they had a month to prepare to play Ohio State in a bowl game. So for whatever reason they decided to bring it tonight from a different formation and got to it.”
On if Thomas Reid III ran into Stanley Berryhill III on the muffed punt: “Yeah, that’s what happened. It looked to me like he was trying to block for Stanley, and it looked to me like he was engaged with the blocker, didn’t see the fair catch sign, and I think the ball hit him first.”
On why Washington had a lot more success offensively in the second half: “They took some more shots down the field and they made the plays down the field that we did not. We had some fields that were long. They completed a long fade on the other sideline. They completed a post down the middle of the field off a play action, and then the play action pass for the touchdown going the other way on the short field. And then really a good play in the end zone, coming towards the locker room on another fade. So they made the plays down the field for chunk yardage in the second half that they didn’t have in the first half.”
On his assessment of the team at the midpoint of the season: “We talked about 1-0 mentality and that has been working for us. Tonight obviously it did not, but the message is, ‘hey, listen, win or lose, guess what next week’s coming and what we can’t do is let this bleed into next week.’ We’re not even talking about the year, right? We’re talking about this how team has responded to one week at a time, one day at a time, and that’s our approach, and we’re going to stick with that approach.
“And we gotta be critical of ourselves as players, as coaches, and then we will move on and get ready for next week.”