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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Anu Solomon strikes back

Tyler Baker

Anu Solomon is back, and Arizona fans couldn’t be happier.

The redshirt sophomore returned to action Saturday afternoon and reminded everyone why the Wildcats need him if they want to find success.

Solomon finished the game 17-30 with 276 yards. He did not throw any touchdowns, but he didn’t need to. 

“I thought he was pretty sharp,” said Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez. “He’s a competitive guy. He’s kind of a quiet competitor, and one thing he does do a good job of is seeing the field.”

Solomon’s presence on the field changes the dynamics of Arizona’s game. Solomon gives Arizona a passing attack, which is irrelevant when backup Jerrard Randall is in the game. 

Randall undoubtedly makes plays with his legs. However, each time he drops back to pass, the defense knows that he will probably tuck and run. He was also notorious last week against Stanford for overthrowing his open receivers. 

Once Randall enters the game, the offense is one-dimensional.

Solomon is different. As a second-year starter, Solomon opens up the game for every other player on the offense. Oregon State could not key in on just Arizona’s run offense, which did post 368 yards. Solomon opens that running game with his ability to pass the ball, thus helping everyone on the field. 

Solomon catches a lot of grief for his performance against Boise State in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. But I pose the question: Would Arizona have been in that game without Solomon? The answer: no, they wouldn’t. 

A lot of things went right last year for the Wildcats. Did Solomon struggle at times? Yes. Did he make mistakes against Boise State? Yes. However, he also shined when his number was called (see first Oregon game, Cal and ASU). He was instrumental in putting the Wildcats at the top of the Pac-12 South. 

This year’s team has been tested a lot more with injuries and a grueling schedule. Solomon’s return marks a turning point for Arizona.

Solomon so far has been efficient since he’s been in the game. He has yet to throw an interception so far this season, passing for a total of 1,121 yards and 11 touchdowns and a completion percentage of 63.4 percent. Had he not been knocked out of the game early against UCLA, that game (might have) been a lot closer than it really was. Same goes for Stanford. We don’t know. We can only assume. 

Now, Solomon has solid numbers so far, but he has also done this against easy teams. He hasn’t gone out and tossed 300 yards and three touchdowns against ranked teams every night. However, it would be more of a concern if he was playing poorly against these teams, which he is not.

Next week the Wildcats will travel to Pullman, Washington, where they will go up against the Washington State team that just upset Oregon in Eugene. While Wazzu is 3-2 with one of their losses coming to Portland State of the FCS, they have proven they can play with the big boys. This game is an opportunity for Solomon and the Wildcats to prove they’re still competitive.

Wildcat fans should be thrilled that their quarterback is healthy and under center again. He’s young, and he’s made some mistakes in the past, but if his recent injury and return tells us anything, it’s this: if the Wildcats want to continue to find success in football, Anu Solomon needs to be on the field.

Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.

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