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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona avoids UTSA upset, wins 26-23

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat UNLV defense tackles Arizona freshman running back Nick Wilson (28) during Arizona’s season opener against UNLV at Arizona Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Arizona won 58-13 against UNLV. Anu Solomon broke the freshman passing yards record with 425 yards.

Behind big games from several skill players, the Arizona Wildcats football team defeated UTSA Roadrunners 26-23 at the Alamodome in San Antonio on Thursday. Fresh off a record-breaking performance in week one against UNLV, the Wildcats struggled to maintain that level of play against UTSA (1-1).

“I knew it was going to be a tough environment,” UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said in a press release. “They’re a good football team, a veteran football team. They are well-coached, and we knew we were going to take their best shot and we did.”

Most of the inconsistencies began with redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon, who struggled to hit his receivers in stride. Solomon went 17-32 for 231 passing yards and one touchdown, but his overthrows negated much of the big play ability that the offense showed last week.

However, this game did start out with a bang.

It took just 18 seconds and 85 yards for Arizona (2-0) to make its mark against the Roadrunners. Solomon hit redshirt sophomore wide receiver Cayleb Jones, who was wide open down the sideline, and Jones did the rest as he scampered for the touchdown.

The 85-yard throw and catch was Arizona’s first play of scrimmage and one of the few notable offensive plays of the game.

Jones led all receivers with 143 yards and one touchdown on four receptions. By comparison, Jones had more than half as many receiving yards in the game as all the UTSA wide receivers had combined — 228 yards.

However, UTSA did not bow down after the opening score. The Roadrunners capped an 11-play, 85-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown with less than one minute left in the first quarter to close the gap.

Two first half-field goals from UA redshirt junior kicker Casey Skowron gave Arizona an early 13-7 lead in the second quarter. Skowron finished the game with a perfect 4-4 on field goal attempts to increase his season numbers to 7-8.

UTSA quickly responded with its second touchdown of the game with about nine minutes left in the second quarter. The rushing touchdown from UTSA wide receiver Kam Jones gave the Roadrunners a 14-13 lead and gave Arizona its first deficit of the season.

That was until UA freshman running back Nick Wilson scored a rushing touchdown with 26 seconds left in the second half and gave Arizona the 20-16 lead at the half.

Wilson carried the rushing attack with 174 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries. The true freshman running back has recorded back-to-back 100 rushing yard games to start out his Arizona career.

“It was pretty incredible, especially on my first start,” Wilson said in a press release. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but the glory goes to my linemen. I couldn’t have done anything without them.”

After being down 16-13 late in the first half, Arizona scored 13 unanswered points to increase its lead to 26-16 in the third quarter. UTSA marched back again, though.

The Roadrunners scored a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to make the game a one possession game at 26-23.

Solomon failed to convert on a third and short late in the game and forced Arizona to punt the ball back to UTSA. Luckily for Solomon, redshirt senior safety Jared Tevis secured the game with an interception on UTSA’s second-to-last drive.

Tevis finished the game with 16 tackles, one interception and 1.5 tackles for loss in one of the best games of his Arizona career.

Tevis and sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III combined for 27 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception and one sack.

“We have a few things that I’d like to see us get better at, but I didn’t see anyone lose their poise and I didn’t see anyone panic,” Rodriguez said in a press release. “We’ll get out of here with a win.”

—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555

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