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Football Notes: Running backs race toward victory

Tyler+Baker+%2F+The+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0Aduring+Arizonas+season+opener+against+UNLV+at+Arizona+Stadium+on+Friday%2C+Aug.+29%2C+2014.+Arizona+won+58-13+against+UNLV.+Anu+Solomon+broke+the+freshman+passing+yards+record+with+425+yards.+
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / The Daily Wildcat during Arizona’s season opener against UNLV at Arizona Stadium on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. Arizona won 58-13 against UNLV. Anu Solomon broke the freshman passing yards record with 425 yards.

Before the season, Arizona football head coach Rich Rodriguez said the Wildcats would use a running back committee to replace Ka’Deem Carey but also that he was excited about the backs.

After two games, UA fans are seeing what he meant.

Through two games, the Wildcats have had running backs rush for over 100 yards three times. True freshman Nick Wilson ran for 174 yards on 30 carries in Arizona’s 26-23 win at UTSA on Thursday.

“It was pretty incredible, especially on my first start,” Wilson said after the UTSA game in a press release. “I really didn’t know what to expect, but the glory goes to my linemen. I couldn’t have done anything without them.”

In the opening game of the season, fifth-year senior Terris Jones-Grigsby ran for 124 yards on 13 carries, while Wilson ran for 104 on seven rushes. Jones-Grigsby started the season opener and topped the depth chart last week until missing the UTSA game due to an ankle injury.

The win over the Roadrunners was the 19th game in a row the Wildcats had a 100-yard rusher, and 25 of the 28 games under Rodriguez that an Arizona player has eclipsed the century mark in rushing.

“Nick’s got a great future,” Rodriguez said after the UTSA game in a press release. “He runs really, really hard, and he’s still learning.”
Those 174 yards against UTSA were the fourth-best for a freshman in school history, and the 30 rushes matched the freshman UA record, shared with Nic Grigsby, the brother of Jones-Grigsby.

“I wasn’t expecting it, but you have to do what you have to do,” Wilson said. “I was surprised I got the ball that many times, but whatever coach wants me to do is what I am going to do.”

Wilson has run for 278 yards this season, averaging 7.5 per carry, second in the Pac-12.

Solomon joins Mannings… sort of

While Arizona redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon didn’t replicate his debut performance on Thursday, on Friday, he nonetheless joined elite company.

Solomon won the first Manning Award Quarterback of the Week for his exploits against UNLV. Solomon racked up 475 yards of total offense in his first game.

The Manning Award was created by the Allstate Sugar Bowl to honor the famous quarterback family of Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.

Ex-Wildcat watch

Former Arizona star and NFL player Brandon Sanders won the first game of his head coaching career at Pueblo High School in Tucson on Friday.
Pueblo (1-1) beat Santa Rita High School 31-20.

“It’s not so much about me, as I thought it would be. It’s just more seeing their faces,” Sanders said. “I’m just excited about the way they are.”

Sanders was a first-team All-Pac-10 safety in 1994 and 1995 for Arizona’s “Desert Swarm” defenses. Sanders played for the New York Giants in the 1990s.

In the professional ranks, 10 former Wildcats made the active rosters of nine NFL teams as the season started. The Chicago Bears feature two former Wildcats, Carey and Lance Briggs. Safety Robert Golden is a captain for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

—Follow James Kelley @jameskelley520

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