The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

84° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA football in favorable position going forward

Rebecca Marie Sasnett
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat

In an improbable fashion, the Arizona Wildcats pulled off the biggest comeback in program history on Saturday against California. Arizona redshirt senior wide receiver Austin Hill caught a Hail Mary touchdown in the back of the end zone as time expired to secure the 49-45 victory over the Golden Bears.

The Wildcats scored 36 points in the fourth quarter alone and overcame a 22-point second quarter deficit behind the arm of UA redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon.

Solomon was a paltry 18-33 for 149 passing yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions at halftime. However, things changed for the young quarterback in the second half and specifically the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-2 quarterback went 19-24 for 248 passing yards and four touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone.

In essence, it was a tale of two halves.

Arizona struggled to stop Cal from the onset, as the Golden Bears put up 224 total offensive yards in the first quarter alone. The secondary was absolutely horrible as corners and safeties alike were beaten down the field and in the intermediate game.

Fans began to leave after the first half, as Arizona could not get a stop or score for the vast majority of the time. The Wildcats looked like a team defeated and without a chance.

Then something incredible happened at halftime.

Whatever Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said should be bottled up and saved for a later date, because it was powerful. At the postgame press conference, Rodriguez said there was plenty of optimism in that halftime locker room, even though the team trailed by 22 points.

However, I’m inclined to believe Rodriguez is overstating his team’s optimism and understating whatever he said during the break. Not to say that the team wasn’t optimistic, as it surely was. Rather, Rodriguez said all the right things at the right time.

It was truly remarkable to see the sheer excitement in both players and coaches alike as their eyes lit up. Hill, the one who came down with the fortunate catch, was tackled by the entire team immediately after he secured the catch and could hardly stop smiling during the press conference.

When you think about it, this Hail Mary couldn’t have come at a better time for the Arizona football program as a whole. The Wildcats are 4-0 for the first time under Rodriguez and have considerable momentum, as Arizona’s bye week is up next.

Having the bye week will not only allow Arizona to recover physically from a game that saw over 100 offensive plays, but give the team an extra week to prepare for an ESPN matchup with No. 2 Oregon in Eugene on Oct. 2.

Arizona will have a chance to put a significant damper on Oregon’s playoff hopes with a win in Eugene, something that hasn’t been done since 2006.

Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter @HouseofPayne555

More to Discover
Activate Search