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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona defeats Colorado 38-31 behind fourth quarter renaissance

Nigel Amstock
The Colorado Buffaloes and the Arizona Wildcats line up prior to the snap of the first Wildcat possession of the game. (Nigel Amstock/CU Independent)

In what was a pitiful game with key mistakes and blunders on both sides of the field, Arizona somehow defeated Colorado 38-31 at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado. The Wildcats improved to 5-2 overall on the season.

Before the game, Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre guaranteed a Buffalo victory over the Wildcats on Saturday for Homecoming night. Many had joked and ridiculed against MacIntyre for making such a bold statement. MacIntyre would leave disappointed. The loss for Colorado brings them their 14th straight defeat in Pac-12 conference play.

The Arizona offense simply could not convert for quarters two and three. In fact, the Wildcats failed to score from 7:53 in the first quarter until 14:24 in the fourth quarter. That’s 38:29 of game play.

The performance of the offense was so dreadful that backup quarterback Jerrard Randall was put in late in the third quarter to provide some spark, which is exactly what occurred.

Few would have thought that the MVP of the game would be none other than Randall. With Randall running the offense, Arizona managed two straight touchdowns. Randall finished the night with 81 yards on the ground on 11 attempts and one touchdown. He was 3-3 on passing attempts for 42 yards.

A lot of that dreadful offense had to do with the absence of running back Nick Wilson, who did not play due to injury. Jared Baker  rushed in his place for 207 yards on 23 attempts and two touchdowns. The stat was his career high.

Quarterback Anu Solomon threw for ­283 yards on 22-37 passing attempts and two touchdowns.

Receiver Trey Griffey returned to action for the first time this season after being injured prior to this game and finished the game with one catch.

Leading the receivers were Cayleb Jones and Nate Phillips. Jones caught six passes for 94 yards. Phillips also caught six for 106 yards.

Linebacker Jake Matthews is the first linebacker to start two games in a row this season. That statement says it all about the way injuries have affected the Wildcats throughout the season.

The Arizona defense allowed 467 total yards. Jace Whittaker led the Wildcats on defense with 11 total tackles. Following him was Matthews with 10 total tackles.

The Wildcat special teams struggled for most of the game. Punter Drew Riggleman implemented his rugby-style punts, averaging 34.6 yards per punt. However, the rest of the special teams repeatedly failed to down the punt before the end zone. That’s what miscommunication can do.

But in the end, when it counted, Riggleman pinned Colorado all the way down to the one-yard line.

Arizona’s second touchdown of the game went to tight end Josh Kern. The catch was the first of his career and the first by a tight end since 2009.

Anthony Fotu, who made the athletic interception against Oregon State in Beaver territory last game, did not travel with the team due to violating team rules and has been suspended indefinitely.

Will Randall be the starter for the rest of the season? Probably not. But Randall and the clutch defense are the reason that the Wildcats are walking away with the victory.

Key Plays

First Quarter

  • With 10:15 remaining in the first, Arizona running back Jared Baker rushes for a 79-yard touchdown
  • With 9:31 remaining in the first, Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau throws a 72-yard touchdown pass to Shay Fields
  • With 7:53 remaining in the first, Anu Solomon throws a five-yard touchdown pass to tight end Josh Kern
  • With 3:43 remaining in the first, Solomon fumbles the football on a bad snap exchange from center Cayman Bundage

Second Quarter

  • With 6:33 remaining in the second, Cam Denson forces a fumble and Paul Magloire Jr. recovers
  • With 2:26 remaining in the second, Liufau rushes for a two-yard touchdown

Third Quarter

  • With 11:51 remaining in the third, Liufau rushes for a four-yard touchdown

Fourth Quarter

  • With 14:24 remaining in the fourth, Baker rushes for a 45-yard touchdown
  • With 9:17 remaining, Solomon throws a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jared Baker
  • With 4:51 remaining, Baker rushes for a six-yard touchdown
  • With 2:19 remaining, Liufau throws a 30-yard touchdown pass to Fields

Follow Matt Wall on Twitter.

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