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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 23 Arizona football escapes with a win against Colorado

The+defense+for+the+Arizona+football+team+poses+after+a+forced+fumble+by+safety+Dalton+Johnson+late+in+the+second+half+against+the+No.+7+University+of+Washington+on+Saturday%2C+Sept.+30%2C+in+Tucson.+The+Wildcats+lost+the+game+24-31.
Mason Kumet
The defense for the Arizona football team poses after a forced fumble by safety Dalton Johnson late in the second half against the No. 7 University of Washington on Saturday, Sept. 30, in Tucson. The Wildcats lost the game 24-31.

The Arizona football team (7-3, 5-2 in Pac-12) took a road trip to Boulder, Colorado, to face the Deion Sanders-coached University of Colorado Boulder (4-7, 1-7 in Pac-12) on Saturday, Nov. 11. Though Arizona quarterback Noah Fifita didn’t look as great as in weeks past, he still got the job done and avoided what many were calling a trap game. The Wildcats’ spot in the AP Top 25 is safe after the 34-31 win.

Offense:

Fifita looked like a freshman for the first time since taking over as the starter. He struggled through the first half, barely eclipsing 100 yards and completing just eight of 18 passes attempted. Despite a first half where he looked rattled, he finished the day completing 21 of his 35 attempts for 214 yards and two touchdowns.

Running back Jonah Coleman showed off his workhorse capabilities as well, finishing the day with 179 yards on 11 carries. Coleman ripped a pair of runs for 49 yards or more and had four carries of 20 yards or more. With this performance, Coleman eclipsed 1,000 yards from scrimmage on the season (744 rushing yards, 282 receiving yards). His counterpart, DJ Williams, wasn’t as productive in the yardage category, posting just 33 yards on nine carries. However, Williams found the end zone twice and led all skill players in scoring.

Wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan often faced off against two-way standout Travis Hunter. Though Hunter posted six total tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup, McMillan still finished the game with nine catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Jacob Cowing extended his streak to 54 consecutive games with at least one reception. This is tied with Central Michigan University’s Bryan Anderson, after Coastal Carolina University wide receiver Sam Pinckney broke the record with 55 consecutive games on Saturday, Nov. 11, against Texas State University.

Defense:

The run defense was swarming, with Colorado being held to under 90 total rushing yards and Shedeur Sanders leading his team with 56 rushing yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Notably, Arizona safety Dalton Johnson stopped Shedeur Sanders two yards short on a crucial third down.

Sophomore linebacker Jacob Manu continues to act as the heart and soul of this defense. He led the team in tackles, posting at least nine total tackles for the sixth time this season. He also notched a sack to give him 4.5 on the season.

Sophomore cornerback Ephesians Prysock was tasked with covering standout two-way player Hunter when he was on the offensive side of the ball. Shedeur Sanders targeted him often, and it was a battle between Prysock and Hunter. Prysock knocked away a would-be touchdown pass at the last second on the first real Colorado deep shot of the game. He surrendered a few catches underneath and one over the top, but he held his own against the former No. 1-overall recruit.

Special teams:

For the second time this season, kicker Tyler Loop made a career-long field goal. Against No. 12 Oregon State University, he made a 51-yard field goal in Tucson. With the thin Colorado air, Loop boomed a 52-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the second half. He also hit a game-winning 24-yard field goal as time expired while also nailing all four extra-point tries.

Looking ahead:

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Arizona will return to Tucson to host the current-No. 18 University of Utah to take on the final ranked opponent of its regular season. The Utes are coming off a loss to the current-No. 5 University of Washington in Seattle, and Arizona only has ASU left on the schedule after the sixth-ranked matchup of the season.

Editor’s note: Arizona rose to No. 19 in the Week 12 AP Poll.


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