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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Football Notes: Scooby Wright III named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week


Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona football sophomore defensive lineman Scooby Wright III (33) celebrates during Arizona’s 59-37 win against Washington State at Pullman, Wash., on Saturday. Wright III was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week following his eight-tackle, three-sack performance against the Cougars this past weekend.

Sophomore linebacker Scooby Wright III had a prolific game on Saturday in Arizona football’s 59-37 win at Washington State, and he got rewarded for it Sunday and Monday.

On Sunday, Wright III was named Walter Camp Football Foundation Football Bowl Subdivision National Defensive Player of the Week. On Monday, the Pac-12 Conference named Wright III its Defensive Player of the Week.

Wright III had eight tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles at Washington State. Four forced fumbles in one game is the NCAA record, and Wright III is first in the country in forced fumbles with five.

“He’s an athletic guy, more athletic than people give him credit for, and he’s got great strength,” UA football head coach Rich Rodriguez said.

Wright III is third in the nation in sacks (nine), third in tackles for loss (14), third in sacks per game (1.14), 11th in solo tackles (49), 12th in tackles per game (11.1) and 20th in total tackles (78).

“All the best players on both sides have a great awareness, and he has that,” Rodriguez said.

Road warriors

After beating Washington State, Arizona is 3-0 on the road for the first time since 2010.

Rodriguez said the Wildcats embrace adversity.

“Any time you get them to boo or say stuff to [you], whatever, you should get a smile on your face instead of making it worry [you],” Rodriguez said, “At least it means they think you’re important — important enough to boo.”

Including bowl games, Arizona has won nine of their last 12 away from home after losing 11 of their last 12 games not in Tucson before that.

Last weekend, sophomore receiver DaVonte’ Neal scored two touchdowns at Washington State, including an 81-yard punt return.

“We love [getting booed] because that means we’re relevant,” Neal said. “That means you see us and see what we’re doing.”

Saturday is Arizona’s last road game before a two-game home stand.

“We believe we can win anywhere against any team,” UA senior safety Jourdon Grandon said.

Rank and file

No. 14 Arizona moved up a spot in the AP poll and the first ever playoff rankings are coming out today, but the Wildcats don’t seem to care.“It’s cool to see, but at the end of the day it’s just a number,” Grandon said.

The first ever College Football Playoff Committee rankings will be unveiled today at 4:30 p.m. MST on ESPN.

“If we were in the mix at the end of November, when they have their meeting, sure we would pay more attention to it,” Rodriguez said.Solomon starsFreshman quarterback Anu Solomon also picked up a national award; he was one of eight Manning Award Stars of the Week.

On Saturday, Solomon went 26-for-38 passing for 294 yards and five touchdowns.

“Man, that kid, he’s impressed me a lot,” Grandon said. “He’s just seems so poised out there for his first time playing. It seems like he’s been doing it for years, and it’s just crazy how poised and just how under control he is, and everything looks so fluid and just effortless for him.”

Rodriguez said the UA treats Solomon like he’s a veteran, not a freshman.

“He’s still learning,” Rodriguez said. “I thought his last game, he was seeing the field as well as he had all year.”

Fans can vote on the quarterback of the week on the Allstate Sugar Bowl Facebook until Thursday at 9 a.m. PST.

Saturday night lights

Another game time announced, another night game.

On Monday the Pac-12 announced that the Nov. 8 game against Colorado will start at 6 p.m. MST and be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.

If the Wildcats’ Nov. 15 game against Washington is selected as a night kickoff, the only Arizona home game that will not be at night is the Black Friday game against ASU, which is at 1:30 p.m.


Follow James Kelley on Twitter.

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