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Grading the Game: Arizona Wildcats

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 22 Washington at Arizona Photo by Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re at the point of the season where even a win feels like a loss. Let’s get into it.

Passing Offense - Fail

Even if you remove the strength of the opponent, the first half against Arizona was one of the worst offensive showings you’ll ever see from a college football team. While he’s had no help from the run game or the coaching, Dylan Morris’ play is seemingly getting worse as the season drags on. He was poor for almost the entire Arizona game, breaking the pocket early, not getting rid of the ball and taking sacks, and missing open targets. To his credit he bounced back in a huge way in the fourth quarter, leading the offense to 14 points. He also didn’t throw an interception which has plagued him all year. The way he ended the game makes his overall stat line look much better: 13/21, 271 yards, 2 touchdowns.

The receivers when given opportunities acquitted themselves well. Terrell Bynum in particular made the most of his chances with 143 yards and a touchdown, including a pair of 51 yard bombs. Jalen McMillan showed his tantalizing playmaking ability with his 29 yard catch and run, in which he spun away from the initial tackle attempt. Despite these flashes of brilliance, and the overall numbers looking not horrible, it’s hard after watching the game to give this offense a passing (heh) grade.

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Offense - Fail

Just more of the same. They don’t generate explosive plays (long run of 9 yards), nor do they get a consistent 4-5 yards per carry. Running backs finished with exactly 100 yards. On the bright side, Cam Davis had probably his best moment as a Husky with his 9 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. The offensive line, down a starter in Jaxson Kirkland, was as ineffective as they’ve been all year. Troy Fautanu filled in admirably for Kirkland at LT but one player can’t possibly explain yet another dreadful rushing performance.

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Rushing Defense - Fail

The University of Arizona, down both its top two quarterbacks and top two running backs, ran for 218 yards and a touchdown against UW. They had runs of 52, 34, and 14 yards along the way. If you take away one of the explosive runs the numbers look much better for Washington, but down tackling machine Edefuan Ulofoshio, the Huskies were simply not executing the way they should against a hapless opponent. Daniel Heimuli and Carson Bruener combined for 15 tackles filling in for Eddie, and Bruener in particle continues to play like a football magnet. He has 16 tackles already this year, in what feels like four minutes of playing time. Besides his interception, Tuli was pretty active along the DL.

Pass Defense - Pass

No surprises to be found here - Arizona is hurt at quarterback and going up against a CB duo as good as any in the country. The Wildcats got nothing going through the air all game and were held to just 68 yards and two interceptions, one by a defensive tackle. Zion Tupoloa-Fetui continues to inch his way back to full strength and showed just how critical he is to this defense with his sack. He wrecks so much havoc for opposing offenses it changes the entire nature of the defense when he’s in the game.

NCAA Football: Washington at Arizona Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Special Teams - Pass

Race Porter has be great all season and could play his way into All Pac-12 consideration. The rest of Husky Special Teams have been largely disappointing, including the blocked punt in the first quarter. Giles Jackson needs to realize he can’t return every kick off for a touchdown and to call for a fair catch now and then.

Coaching - Fail

This is an Arizona team that did everything in its power to lose the game. All they had to do was not completely blow it and they could have snapped their now 19 game losing streak. But that is what teams on 19 game losing streaks do - they find creative ways to lose. That’s what makes this win feel more like a loss. Massive credit to Tuli for his interception - but you need to make a spectacularly stupid play for him to even get a chance to make a pick. But, he did, and it ignited the Husky offense to a 14 point fourth quarter which ultimately won them the game.

I tip my hat to the players for fighting back for the win. Perhaps a loss in the desert would hasten the changes that are desperately needed to right the ship, but I don’t think anyone wants to be the team that Arizona finally beats.