For Arizona, stopping the run this year was a priority after giving up the third-most rushing yards in the Pac-12. Former 5-star recruit and transfer Justin Flowe looked like a ball hawk in the loss against Mississippi State, just what the Wildcats need in the middle of their defense.
“Justin had 12 tackles in ... 27 total plays,” head coach Jedd Fisch said. “That’s an enormous amount of production 12 tackles. It’s a ridiculous number. So we’re gonna have to play Justin more. He’s becoming more comfortable with the system. I would expect to see more of him as we go, and be able to really build off of his performance on Saturday night.”
In the season opener, Flowe only saw 11 snaps but during the Mississippi game, Flowe took advantage of the increased opportunity. His 12 tackles is the most tackles in a game since his second season at Oregon in 2021.
“Some SEC competition, I felt like, was a blessing,” Flowe said. “That game felt like a video game environment.”
The biggest play for Flowe came on a third-down late in the fourth quarter with the Bulldogs driving. He was able to get in the backfield and record a tackle-for-loss and force Mississippi State to kick a field-goal and allowed the offense to get another shot at scoring.
“He’s got a motor man, he plays, he gives all he’s got and he makes plays,” defensive coordinator Johnny Nansen said. “It’s all about who produces and the guy is producing so we need to keep him on the field.”
The biggest challenge facing Flowe since he arrived at Arizona was fully understanding Nansen’s scheme.
“It’s gonna take time for him, and obviously he’s getting more comfortable with the system,” Nansen said. “You can see he’s more productive when he’s doing things right and we just have to keep bringing him along and I think he’s going to have a bigger role. We just gotta keep bringing him along.”