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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

After two straight losses, Wildcats need to do some soul searching

Courtesy of Sam Girvin/The Stanford DailyArizona safety Jarek Hilgers (20) chases Stanford down the field during the Wildcats loss on Saturday, Oct. 3. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats are out of excuses moving forward in the rest of the season.
Sam Girvin

Courtesy of Sam Girvin/The Stanford Daily

Arizona safety Jarek Hilgers (20) chases Stanford down the field during the Wildcat’s loss on Saturday, Oct. 3. Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats are out of excuses moving forward in the rest of the season.

Saturday night football in the Pac-12 Conference for Arizona has been rough to say the least.

This became a reality Saturday when Stanford dominated Arizona 55-17. The game came on the heels of the Wildcats’ deflating defeat to UCLA just one week before its matchup with the Cardinal.

To be fair, the Wildcats came into the game with everything working against them. Quarterback Anu Solomon did not play because of a head injury sustained against UCLA, and linebacker Scooby Wright III was out with a foot injury.

That being said, Arizona took away few positives from its matchup at Stanford.

Arizona’s defense, with a wobbly Wright, was still shredded by UCLA, and the story was no different with Stanford. Stanford racked up 314 yards on the ground against the Wildcats, who have been weak against the run all year. In comparison, Arizona totaled just 314 total yards against the Cardinal.

Arizona also failed to control the tempo, something it has struggled with through its first five games. 

“We aren’t playing at the level that we can,” said linebacker Jake Matthews. “I think we just have to keep our heads up and keep working harder.”

Speedster Jerrard Randall took over the offense with Solomon out. Randall’s strength is definitely his running, but he can still only do so much. The Stanford defense contained Randall and forced him to try to win with his arm. Randall didn’t commit a turnover, but he consistently overthrew his receivers and finished the game 15-28 with 178 yards and one score.

“We just didn’t finish,” said receiver Johnny Jackson. “We were getting stopped early and couldn’t bounce back, and when we did have a positive drive, I feel like offensively, we needed to help our defense a lot more.”

Running back Nick Wilson, Arizona’s most consistent offensive threat, was also held in check. The sophomore phenom ran the ball 17 times for only 46 yards and one touchdown while averaging a mere 2.7 yards per carry. 

“We had a lot of three-and-outs, and our defense was on the field the majority of the time, and that’s just something we have to fix,” Jackson said.

Not to mention, the Wildcats are in the midst of one of college football’s most draining seasons, playing a schedule that allows them no byes and 12 straight games.

Anything and everything went wrong for the Wildcats against Stanford. 

So, where does Arizona stand now? Well, nowhere great.

The Wildcats now sit at 3-2 with a 0-2 record in the Pac-12 Conference. Both losses have been by large margins to ranked opponents. 

Wright will continue to sit out for several weeks, and Solomon’s status is still up in the air. The Wildcats will have Oregon State at home this week before traveling to Colorado and then back home to face Washington State. 

These are three winnable games that Arizona must take advantage of. This stretch could be an easy break in the schedule for the Wildcats and give them a chance to recover from their injuries and get back on a winning track.

Arizona’s game against Stanford should serve as a gut check for the team, having been dominated by a formidable opponent in back-to-back weeks. With ASU, USC and Utah still on the schedule, the Wildcats are going to need to do some soul searching if they hope to make up for these blowout losses.


Follow Kyle Hansen on Twitter.


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