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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 9 Huskies hang on versus Arizona football in OT

Rebecca Noble
Arizona quarterback Brandon Dawkins (13) is tackled from every angle by Washington defense during Arizona’s overtime 35-28 loss to Washington in Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 24.

The Arizona Wildcats were ultimately outlasted in OT at home against the No. 9 Washington Huskies on Saturday night in Arizona’s Pac-12 Conference opener.

The Wildcats started the night with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in the game’s first score, as freshman running back J.J. Taylor punched it in from a yard out.

The second quarter didn’t start off as well, as the Wildcats failed on a fourth-and-goal conversion that could’ve put them up 14-0. Instead, Washington took over on downs and moved the ball up field to tie the game 7-7 on a wide receiver John Ross 32-yard reverse-play.

On Arizona’s ensuing drive, quarterback Brandon Dawkins rushed 79 yards into the end zone with the help of a Nate Phillips block downfield that sprung Arizona to a 14-7 lead. Washington didn’t wait long to come back, as Ross caught a touchdown pass from 12 yards out to tie the contest at 14-14.

Going into halftime, Dawkins and Taylor had a combined total of 193 yards rushing on 21 carries.

“[Dawkins] is a competitive runner and did some nice things out there,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “He missed some things in the pass game that I know he’ll try and get corrected after watching film tomorrow.”

The Wildcats struggled against the Washington rushing attack all night as evidenced by backup running back Lavar Coleman who had 181 yards rushing on the night.

“His vision looked good, he will break a lot of tackles and we are proud of how he ran,” Washington head coach Chris Petersen said.

Coleman started the third quarter by rushing for 44 yards, leading to a touchdown pass from quarterback Jake Browning to take the lead, 21-14.

Taylor rushed for one yard but came up limp and headed to the locker room at the end of the third quarter. He rushed for a total 98 yards on 19 carries before getting taken out. Arizona announced Taylor suffered a broken ankle and will likely miss the remainder of the season with a 6-8 week expected recovery. 

The Wildcats were down 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter. Dane Cruikshank intercepted a Browning pass at the one-yard line to thwart the Huskies’ attempt to score deep in Arizona territory.

Arizona drive newly-inserted running back Tyrell Johnson fumbled the ball to give Washington the possession right back.

After a missed 40-yard field goal attempt by Washington kicker Cameron Van Winkle, Arizona went down the field and tied the game on yet another long run by Dawkins which set up the score.

However, on the next drive Lavon Coleman found another gap in the Arizona defense and ran it into the end zone from 55 yards out to give Washington the lead 28-21.

“It felt great to play how we did and how the offensive line blocked,” Coleman said. “I depend on those guys up front [offensive line]. Without them, this performance would not have happened, so I really thank the five guys up front.”

Dawkins continued to try and keep UA in the game making play after play with his legs before finding wide receiver Shun Brown late in the fourth quarter for 54 yards to set up the ‘Cats in scoring position.

“I threw my hands up and it was just a trust factor in the end,” Brown said. “Once he threw it up, I just jumped higher than the defensive back.”

With 17 seconds left on the clock, Dawkins found tight end Josh Kern in the front of the endzone to tie the game at 28-28, forcing the game into overtime.

Arizona won the overtime coin toss and elected to defer until the second possession.

After a 19-yard run by Coleman on the first play of overtime, Washington’s Dante Pettis caught what would be the game-winning touchdown in the games first overtime.

After converting on fourth-down with a pass to Nate Phillips, Arizona was unable to gain yards on the ensuing series. Dawkins couldn’t get anything going on first, second or third down. He couldn’t find a receiver open on fourth-and-goal after a low snap seemingly wrapped up Arizona’s efforts as the Wildcats fell 35-28.

“We have to get some execution things cleaned up in all three phases and try and get better,” Rodriguez said.

The Wildcats will be on the road in California for their next game as they to take on UCLA on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Follow Syrena Tracy on Twitter.

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