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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

UA loss to Huskies was same old, same old

SEATTLE – Arizona football. Oh, what a tease.

The Wildcats offered fans a glimpse of hope with a 48-12 pasting of UCLA 11 days ago.

Maybe, Arizona fans thought, this was the same team that some predicted would compete in the Pac-12 South Division. Maybe it could pull the unthinkable, winning five straight conference games to earn a shot at playing the Pac-12 North Division champion.

Maybe, led by the conference’s best quarterback-receiver duo, Arizona could salvage the season behind the seemingly carefree attitude of interim head coach Tim Kish and without the weight of playing for its head coach’s job on its shoulders.

That hope didn’t last long.

Take away Arizona’s blazing start on Saturday against Washington — a stretch that saw the Wildcats take a 10-0 lead while outgaining Washington 132 yards to 10 — and you saw the same mistakes that plagued Arizona through the season’s first six games.

Turnovers at inopportune times, long stretches of ineffectiveness, not being able to find a rhythm, leaving the red zone with field goals instead of touchdowns, the inability to burn clock, dropped passes and confusion on substitutions — and that’s just on offense.

The defense gave up huge chunks of yardage thanks to blown coverages, couldn’t stop the run, missed tackles and couldn’t get stops on third down or in the red zone.

Special teams — save for John Bonano, who added two more field goals to remain perfect on the season — was also a downfall for Arizona. Punter Kyle Dugandzic had his worst game of the season while the kickoff team gave up long return after long return.

It’s not easy to get stops when the other team is starting around the 50-yard line half of the time.

Punt returner Keola Antolin dropped a punt when things were getting desperate for Arizona, killing any hope it had of pulling off a miracle. Running back Ka’Deem Carey had a long kick return called back because of a block in the back.

UA special teamer Jared Tevis was called for a late hit on another kickoff, giving Washington more excellent field position.

“At the end of the day, I felt like we beat ourselves,” quarterback Nick Foles said. “It was an emotionally draining game on me.”

Foles contributed to the slop-fest with three interceptions, two of which came in the fourth quarter. Wide receiver Juron Criner also dropped a pass that would have given Arizona a first down and fumbled when the Wildcats were driving in the fourth quarter for a potential go-ahead score.

So now, instead of needing to come out on top of three very winnable games in order to make a bowl game, Arizona is going to have to win out if it wants to go to the postseason for the fourth consecutive year.

That includes winning at ASU, and with the way both teams are playing, that might be too crazy even for this rivalry.

The reality of things is that this season is all but over. Once Arizona loses one of its next four games, there’s nothing left to play for and very little to gain.

With next season is going to come more change, this time in the form of new assistants and new schemes.

“We’re playing the game that we love,” Carey said.

Well, that makes one thing that Arizona has going for it.

— Alex Williams is the assistant sports editor. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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