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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Football notes: Quarterbacks, bowl matchup and future games

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Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon (12) throws just before being tackled by Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead (9) during Arizona’s 51-13 loss to Oregon at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Friday. The Wildcats went through three different quarterbacks against the Ducks, creating positional confusion for the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — While Arizona football played more quarterbacks than the number of touchdowns they scored on Friday in the Pac-12 Championship Game loss to Oregon, their quarterbacks’ night weren’t all bad.

UA starting quarterback Anu Solomon was 6-for-12 for 34 yards passing and ran six times for -23 yards before missing the second half. Solomon has been battling an ankle injury, which led to him missing much of the Utah game and being questionable for the Territorial Cup.

“Anu’s been battling through the injury for a month, and I’m proud of the way he’s competed,” UA head coach Rich Rodriguez said on Friday. “It wasn’t a good night.”
Solomon stood behind Rodriguez at the start of the second half, fully suited up, except for his undershirt being untucked, before putting on a walking boot.

Arizona gained 224 yards, while the Ducks gained 617. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota scored five touchdowns and had 336 total yards, with the Ducks only scoring once in the fourth quarter.

“It was just us not being on the same page,” Solomon said, “and if I’m not doing well, it all starts with me, and that’s just what happened [Friday].”

In relief of Solomon, backup quarterback Jesse Scroggins was 3-for-9 for 79 yards, one touchdown, one interception and ran for 19 yards on three carries. Third-string quarterback Jerrard Randall was 0-for-5 passing and ran for 74 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown.

“The training staff, they’ve done a really good job just getting me well, and even without me, we’ll still be well with Jesse, Gerrard and Connor [Brewer],” Solomon said. “I feel like we just got to move on from this and be well.”

While he didn’t complete any passes, Randall ran for 74 yards, while UA running back Nick Wilson, who rushed for at least 178 yards in his last two games, ran for just 26 yards on 13 carries. Randall’s 6.7 yards per carry was the most for any player with at least 10 carries on Friday night.

Scroggins played four drives in the second half, before giving way to Randall, who closed out the game with 25-yard touchdown run. Randall had played in five games before the Championship game, running five times for 23 yards.

Bowling for Tucson, again

Arizona has made a bowl game every year of Rodriguez’s tenure at the UA.

Rodriguez is 11-0 against non-Pac-12-Conference teams at Arizona, including a win over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl in 2012 and Boston College in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl in 2013.

After not going to a bowl game from 1999 to 2007, the Wildcats have made it to six bowl games. Since the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl win over BYU, Arizona has only been home for the holidays once, in 2011.

This year, the Wildcats will take on Boise State in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, by far the biggest bowl of the Rich Rod era.

Future schedules: Bring on the mid-majors

While Arizona is expected to be a playoff contender fairly often now, its future schedules don’t look like it.

In 2015, the Wildcats will host UTSA and NAU and travel to Nevada. In 2016, they’re scheduled to play Grambling State in Tucson and BYU at the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium.

In 2017, they host Houston and play at UTEP. Then in 2018, they have BYU and UTEP at home and a game at Houston.

After that, in 2019 to 2023, they play Hawaii, San Diego State and Mississippi twice and travel to BYU.

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Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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