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What we learned from Arizona’s loss to Colorado

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 05 Colorado at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats (0-4) fell short again Saturday, falling to Colorado 24-13 for their 11th straight loss, the longest streak in program history.

If for some reason you want to read a recap of the game, click here.

As always, here are some additional takeaways from the action. (Forgive me if this rendition isn’t as thorough as usual. It’s hard to come up with new takeaways every week when every game feels the same.)

The Wildcats can still hit new lows

As if the 11 losses in a row aren’t bad enough, Arizona did another thing it has never done before: allow a player to rush for 300 yards.

That was Colorado’s Jarek Broussard, who totaled 301 yards on just 25 carries, a whopping 12 yards per touch. That included monster runs of 75, 59, 28 yards and 72 yards.

Even quarterback Sam Noyer broke off a 54-yard scamper.

I guess that’s revenge for what Khalil Tate did to the Buffaloes for all those years.

Still, the defense deserves better

Even with all those big plays, the defense deserves credit for playing hard and doing enough to put Arizona in position to win, just as it’s done every week except the Washington game.

It held Colorado to 24 points, 92 passing yards, recorded seven tackles for loss and forced three turnovers, their first takeaways all season.

Shout out to Anthony Pandy for this sick one-handed interception, his first of two picks on the night:

Unfortunately, Arizona punted three plays later, rendering it meaningless.

That was the biggest stat of the game—Colorado’s three turnovers only resulted in three Arizona points, even though two of those turnovers occurred on Colorado’s side of the 50.

That’s gotta be deflating for the defense.

The red zone offense is atrocious

The Wildcats made three trips to the red zone and only got three points out of it.

One possession resulted in a turnover—Will Plummer had a slant picked off at the goal line—and another ended when the Wildcats failed to convert 1st and goal at the 5. They ran the ball three times, then threw a fade into double coverage that was nearly intercepted.

Crazy playcalling but nothing new.

Arizona only has four touchdowns in 11 red zone trips this year. And these are their splits when they’re inside the 20:

  • Rushing: 16 carries, 46 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • Passing: 3 for 11, 25 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
  • Kicking: 4-4 FG

More creativity is required when the field is condensed and Arizona clearly lacks it.

At least Arizona has a punter

Tyler Loop has been one of the few bright spots this season and appears to be the solution to Arizona’s longstanding punting woes.

The true freshman boomed seven punts for 330 yards on Saturday, a 47.1 average. That boosts his season average to 42.5, Arizona’s best mark since the Drew Riggleman days.

Three of Loop’s punts Saturday went for 50+ yards and three plopped inside the 20-yard line.

It’s not a good sign when your punter is seeing that much action, but at least he’s making the most of it.

Misery has less company

Akron snapped its 21-game losing streak Saturday with a win over Bowling Green, and New Mexico ended its 14-game skid by beating Wyoming, meaning Kansas is now the only FBS team with more consecutive losses than Arizona.

That whole “as long as Arizona beats ASU, this season is a success” theory is about to be tested

Arizona fans always say that—that as long as the Wildcats beat ASU, the football season is a success.

Do they mean it? We’ll see. Like Arizona, ASU is entering the Territorial Cup without a win. (They’ve only played two games, but let’s pretend things in Tempe are just as bad as they are in Tucson.)

Most of the fans I interact with on here, in person and our social media channels are ready to move on from Kevin Sumlin. But what happens if the Wildcats beat ASU and bring home the Cup? Does that change?

And even if the Wildcats lose, is a winless season with a condensed schedule and a decimated roster enough to justify paying a coach to go away during a pandemic?

If so, where does that money come from?

Those will be, quite literally, the million-dollar questions this offseason. 7.5 to be exact.