“No Foles, no problem”

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat

The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.

Mike Christy

Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats hosted the Washington Huskies in a Pacific 1o Conference matchup Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Wildcats rolled to a 44-14 behind backup quarterback Matt Scott.

Mike Schmitz

Arizona head coach Mike Stoops sat in the team hotel talking to quarterback Matt Scott on the eve of Saturday’s game against Washington. With Nick Foles out because of a knee injury, it was up to Scott to take the reins.    

“”I told him, ‘Just be yourself, you don’t have to be anybody but that,'”” Stoops said. “”‘You have talent, use your instincts.'””

Starting his first game since Sept. 19, 2009, the junior quarterback rose to the occasion and led the Wildcats to a dominating 44-14 win over the Huskies in front of a sold-out crowd at Arizona Stadium.

Scott did it through the air and on the ground, completing 18 of his 22 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 65 yards on seven carries.

“”I think Matt did a great job being Matt Scott tonight,”” Stoops said.

Scott disproved the doubters, accounting for 298 of Arizona’s 467 total yards. After losing the starting job thanks to three sub-par starts in 2009, Scott showed he wasn’t just another four-star recruit that wasn’t going to pan out.

“”Coming off the Iowa game (last season) everybody was real skeptical about what I can do as a quarterback and I think I proved a little bit tonight,”” Scott said.

When asked if he was prematurely judged as a quarterback, he said: “”I’m not really sure on that. Hopefully they know now.””

Scott helped Arizona achieve a 6-1 start to the season for the first time since 1998. With the victory, Arizona became bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.

“”He came a long ways, from his footwork, to his mechanics to his throwing motion,”” said receiver Juron Criner, who finished with eight catches for 108 yards and a score. “”Everything just came together good and he just pieced it all together and let it all show out.””

But Scott wasn’t the only reason Arizona manhandled Jake Locker and the Huskies. Wildcats running back Keola Antolin ran all over the Washington defense to the tune of 114 yards and two scores, and Nic Grigsby also chipped in with two scores and 50 yards on the ground.

The Wildcats knew they could run all over a porous Huskies defense, however, it was the way that Arizona stifled Locker that made the biggest difference.

The Wildcats defense sacked Locker four times, while collecting eight tackles for a loss of 43 yards. The potential top-5 draft pick finished the game 17 of 29 with one score and 183 yards through the air, but negative 24 yards on the ground.

“”I think me, Brooks (Reed) and D’Aundre (Reed) did a good job of not letting him run up the sides and so did the inside guys,”” said defensive end Ricky Elmore. “”We had a good team effort by everybody, not just one guy stood out tonight. Everyone played well to contain a player like him.””

The Huskies struck first as Locker found wide receiver Jermaine Kearse for a 26-yard score less than four minutes into the game.

But from that point on, it was all Arizona.

Scott found receiver David Roberts for a 17-yard score less than three minutes later and Alex Zendejas tacked on a 29-yard field goal to make it 10-7 after the first quarter.

Antolin scored twice in the second quarter, including a 78-yard burst that took the air out of the Huskies defense.

“”Man, that was a long run,”” Antolin said with a smile. “”I felt like I was running forever. I just saw a hole, Nic (Grigsby) made a good block backside so I hit that backside and I was gone.””

Grigsby followed up the Antolin run with Arizona’s fourth rushing touchdown of the game, which gave Arizona a 30-14 halftime lead.

The Washington offense was nowhere to be found in the second half, while Scott and Arizona tacked on two more scores and coasted to a 30-point victory.

There were a ton of questions heading into Saturday’s game. But Scott and the Wildcats proved they are still a force to be reckoned with, even without Foles, as they put together their most complete game of the season.

“”I’m happy and relieved,”” Scott said on the field right after the game. “”I’m happy to win this game. It feels great to be out here with a sold-out crowd and everything and just with my teammates. We played a great game today.””