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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona takes care of South Carolina State in 56-0 blowout

It was almost too easy for the No. 24 Arizona Wildcats (3-0) Saturday night against an overmatched South Carolina State. The Wildcats had 689 yards of total offense in a 56-0 victory that saw the majority of the UA’s starters give way to backups at the end of the third quarter.

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It didn’t take long for the Wildcats to get on the board. A mere 2:59 burned off the clock before the Wildcats led 7-0 in front of 43,919 Arizona Stadium faithful.

Wildcat quarterback Matt Scott capped off a nine play, 75-yard scoring drive on Arizona’s opening possession with a 15-yard touchdown pass to junior Richard Morrison.

At the end of the first quarter, Arizona’s offense rolled up nine first downs and 154 total yards, including 107 passing yards for Scott, who at kickoff, ranked second in the nation nationally with 418 yards per game.

“I think Matt was pretty sharp,” Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez said of Scott’s performance. “Every week, he’s hungry to prove himself.”

Arizona extended their lead, however, thanks to senior fullback Taimi Tutogi, who caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Scott, putting the Wildcats up 14-0 early in the second quarter.

Arizona’s offense was able to move the ball both through the air and on the ground, with significant balance. The run-pass ratio at the half was 26-25.

In the first half, the Wildcats forced five SCSU punts, while punting just once themselves.

Scott has impressed as the leader of the Wildcats’ offense, and at the half, he had completed 20 passes to nine receivers for 175 yards passing and has 61 yards on the ground, to compliment Carey’s 71 yards rushing on 13 carries.

The Wildcats outgained the Bulldogs 323-69 in the first half and had 21 first downs to SCSU’s four.

“We did good,” UA linebacker Marquis Flowers said. “We executed and played Arizona football. We ran to the ball.”

After piling on 28 first half points, the game began to get out of hand in the third quarter with two more touchdowns from the Wildcats’ offense.

Scott and the Arizona passing game remained sharp, as Scott completed his final 13 pass attempts before being pulled at the start of the fourth quarter in favor of backup B.J. Denker.

“I wanted to get some more reps for B.J.,” Rodriguez said. “I thought he saw the field well for his first game.”

Scott completed all five of his pass attempts for 73 yards and a touchdown to senior Dan Buckner on Arizona’s first possession of the second half. The touchdown was Buckner’s first of the season.

Due to the score and amount of time remaining on the game clock, Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez began to pull his starters in the third quarter, starting with junior linebacker Jake Fischer, who had played every down on defense in the first two and a half games. His replacement, freshman Dakota Conwell, recorded Arizona’s lone sack on the day.

After Rodriguez started to pull the starters, South Carolina State crossed midfield for the first time, but failed to get any farther than the Arizona 48-yard-line, and again was forced to punt.

A Daniel Jenkins five-yard, pile pushing touchdown run extended the lead to 42-0. For the game, Arizona rushed for 323 yards, four touchdowns and averaged 5.8 yards per carry.

“I was just trying to stick to my fundamentals,” Jenkins said after the game.

Denker debuted as a Wildcat in the fourth quarter and quickly made his presence felt, tossing his first career touchdown pass 17 yards to a wide-open Sean Willet, extending the lead to 49-0.

The Wildcats’ offense kept their foot on the gas pedal in the fourth quarter, breaking a school record with 43 first downs in one game, a mark that was set at 37 in a loss at USC last season.

Arizona’s 56-0 victory was the eighth-best margin of victory in school history. The Wildcats gained over 600 total yards for the second time in three games, and their 323 yards rushing was a season high.

“It shows we have pride (to record the first Arizona shutout since 2008),” Flowers said. “It means a lot. We’re coming together.”

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