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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football Roundup: Solomon shows versatility in Cats’ upset of Oregon

Tyler Baker

Arizona redshirt freshman Anu Solomon (12) slides for a first down during Arizona’s 31-24 win against Oregon at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., on Thursday.

EUGENE, Ore. — From passing to receiving to punting, Arizona football redshirt freshman Anu Solomon did just about it all in the Wildcats’ 31-24 upset of No. 2 Oregon.

Solomon was 20-for-31 passing, for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He had a quarterback rating of 146.5.

“He’s unflappable,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said. “We put a lot on him from a decision stand point because our offense is geared that way and even when he misses something, he knows it right away.”

On the other side, Oregon Heisman candidate and junior quarterback Marcus Mariota was 20-for-32 passing for 276 yards with two touchdowns. He had a quarterback rating of 155.6.

Solomon also had a 48-yard punt in the second quarter that pinned the Ducks on their one-yard line.

“That was his best [punt], the way it rolled, we had a friendly bounce,” Rodriguez said.

Additionally, Solomon caught a pass that was deflected and ran it for 21 yards, completing a pass to himself. Out of the nine Wildcats that caught balls, his yardage was fifth.

He said it was his first catch.

“The defensive end batted it down and I just saw the ball and you know what?,” Solomon said. “I was kinda surprised.”

Mariota was held to one yard rushing on one attempt, while Solomon ran for zero yards on 12 carries, with a long of 19 yards.

“We reacted well,” Rodriguez said about stopping Mariota. “When we rushed three, we reacted well, our linebackers reacted well and we did a good job of covering the field.”

Solomon and Mariota are both from Hawaii.

“We beat a very good team,” Solomon said. “After the game I told Marcus ‘he has my vote for the Heisman.'”

Solomon said he was not nervous, just anxious and frustrated.

“I was kind of let down, I thought the stadium would be louder, to be honest,” Solomon said.

Lightning strikes twice

Rodriguez said they showed the Wildcats a video on Wednesday night of a man getting hit by lightning twice.

“Our guys got a little chuckle out of that,” Rodriguez said.

The Wildcats upset the Ducks for the second straight season, after they beat UO 42-16 in Tucson last year.

“Well, we’re 5-0, one win away from bowl eligibility I guess,” Rodriguez said when asked about what the win means for the program. “It’s hopefully a shot of confidence that we can play against a very good team. We still got a lot of things to clean up, we had some penalties an some things that could of cost us the game, but our guys battled.”

It is Arizona’s win over a ranked team on the road since 2009. The Wildcats are 5-0 for the first time since 1998, when they went 12-1.

“It means a lot to us but people always say that no one gave us a shot at anything but it makes a statement that Arizona is here to play for the next couple of years,” sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III said.

Arizona has now beaten a ranked team in 10 of the last 11 seasons. In 2007 the Wildcats also beat a second ranked Oregon squad on a Thursday night, but in Tucson.

Running back race

On the Wildcats’ weekly depth chart, fifth-year senior Terris Jones-Grigsby and true freshman Nick Wilson are listed as co-starters.

They played like it.

“Nick runs hard, Terris Jones-Grigsby runs hard, we had two starting running backs and they got good speed, but they’re physical,” Rodriguez said.

Jones-Grigsby led all rushers with 115 yards on 27 carries and scored a rushing touchdown. Wilson ran for 92 yards on 13 carries and tallied two rushing touchdowns.

“Going into the game, me and Nick knew we were going to spread reps, so I think it is perfect to have two backs with fresh legs,” Jones-Grigsby. “It keeps the drives going.”

Jones-Grigsby caught four passes for 95 yards — the most yardage receiving for any player in the game. Wilson caught one pass for 34 yards but it was a touchdown.

“I just want to shout out to Nick Wilson, he came down injured, but I think he’s going to be all right; three touchdowns,” Jones-Grigsby said.

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