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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Brandon Dawkins makes case for starting spot with Arizona football

Alex McIntyre
Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins launches a pass against Hawai’i at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016. The Wildcats won the game 47-28.

If quarterback Brandon Dawkins’ first start was solid yet unspectacular, his follow-up was a masterpiece. He led the Wildcats to a 47-28 win over Hawaii, shredding the Rainbow Warriors’ defense for 235 passing yards and another 118 on the ground on his way to a four-total touchdown performance.

Dawkins was more comfortable and more experienced in his second career start, according to head coach Rich Rodriguez.

On Arizona’s initial drive, Dawkins accounted for 85 of the team’s 88 yards including a 31-yard run to give Arizona the lead. The fun was just beginning for Arizona’s offense as it put on a clinic against Hawaii.

Dawkins opened the game by completing his first seven passes to give the Wildcats an offensive spark they haven’t seen since last season. With the help of freshman running back J.J. Taylor, the two torched Hawaii on the ground with 286 yards and four scores.

When Dawkins was not torching Hawaii with his feet, he was connecting with receiver Shun Brown and company for big plays through the air. Dawkins wasn’t sacked and was able to extend plays with his legs as he did against Grambling State.

Arizona scored on its first three possessions of the game as Dawkins led a Nick Wilson-less offense to 34 points in the contest’s first 30 minutes. Without the threat of Wilson in the backfield, Dawkins still found holes in the defense often.

Yes, Arizona was playing a porous defense, but Dawkins still took care of business. He didn’t turn the ball over and made sure Arizona left no doubt who the better team was. If he continues to improve, the quarterback controversy between Dawkins and Anu Solomon could ramp up to an even higher degree.

“I have to take advantage of my opportunity, and I did,” Dawkins said.

He has definitely earned a chance to try to unseat ninth-ranked Washington with his performance Saturday night. From his role against ASU last year to his two starts this season, Dawkins has shown steady improvement and has kept his mistakes to a minimum. 

Over the past few years, Arizona has upset Oregon on two separate occasions and has scored upset wins over USC and Utah while they were both in the top 10. Maybe Dawkins can play right into history.

Follow Ivan Leonard on Twitter

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