Anu Solomon hit Nate Phillips on a 34-yard touchdown pass and 2:40 into the game Arizona led UCLA 7-0. It was all downhill from there as UCLA scored 42 of the next 49 points and beat Arizona 56-30.
Little went right for the Wildcats. Arizona committed three turnovers, which UCLA turned into 21 points. It was one of those turnovers which really swung the momentum to the Bruins. With the game tied at seven, Cayman Bundage’s snap soared over Anu Solomon’s head and was eventually recovered by UCLA at the 16-yard line. On the very next play Paul Perkins took the handoff and raced for the score.
Between turnovers and special team’s gaffes, the Bruins started four of their first five possession in Arizona territory or at the 50-yard line. This allowed them to score on six of their seven first half possession.
As Arizona fell behind and then lost their quarterback. Solomon attempted to slide after running for the first down, but was still hit and left the game to be evaluated by medical personnel. Solomon was still with the trainers after the game according to Head Coach Rich Rodriguez.
Before the injury Solomon was 4-10 for 55 yards and the score. He also has 47 yards on seven carries.
Solomon was replaced by Jerrard Randall and on his first snap he kept and raced 39 yards for the touchdown. Randall led the Wildcats on a second long drive before the half, but it stalled and Casey Skowron missed the ensuing field goal attempt.
Randall was good on the ground, he had 128 yards on 16 carries, but struggled through the air connecting on just 4-16 passes. He did throw a touchdown pass to David Richards, but also had the team’s first interception and actually threw two more that were called out due to defensive penalties.
The one bright spot was the Arizona run game. Nick Wilson rushed for 136 yards and the Wildcats gained a total of 353 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry.
The game also marked the return of linebacker Scooby Wright. He was tied for the team lead with seven tackles, but struggled to make some of the plays he is accustomed to making and was pulled from the game once the result seemed eminent.
Northern Arizona gave it a go, and for awhile hung with Arizona, but in the end the Wildcats had too much offensive firepower and beat the Lumberjacks 77-13.
The Wildcats set a school record for points and yardage in the win and scored 70 of their 77 after the first quarter/
A long pass from Case Cookus to Emmanuel Butler cut the Arizona lead to 14-13. After a personal foul kept the drive alive, Butler made the grab against a diving Cam Denson and raced 62 yards for the score.
From there it was all Arizona. Arizona rattled off 28 in a row to close out the half and left little doubt as to who would win.
Arizona quarterbacks shined. Not only starter Anu Solomon with his arm, but the legs of back-ups Jerrard Randall and Brandon Dawkins. Solomon was 25-35 for 285 yards and four scores, he also added a rushing touchdown.
Randall had a wild night. The senior gained 149 yards on just three carries, scoring on runs of 72 and 73. Not to be outdone, Dawkins had 74 yards on two carries, scoring on a long run of his own.
Even fourth string quarterback Zach Werlinger got into the act. The redshirt freshman had 28 yards on two carries. His 11-yard touchdown run set the team record for points, 77, and yards, 792.
Nick Wilson rushed for 143 yards on just 19 carries, scoring twice. David Richards grabbed 8 catches for 120 yards and two scores.
Injuries and suspensions left Arizona a bit shorthanded, but they still managed to beat Texas San Antonio 42-32 to open the 2015 football season.
No. 22 Arizona (1-0) appeared destined to rout the Roadrunners when safety Anthony Lopez intercepted a pass from Blake Bogenschutz on UTSA’s first play from scrimmage, racing 23-yards untouched into the end zone for the early 7-0 lead. The Wildcats would then add seven more points on a six-yard touchdown pass from Anu Solomon to David Richards before the conclusion of the first quarter. However, UTSA would respond with 10 unanswered points, and from there it was on.
The Roadrunners (0-1) did nearly everything necessary to win. They outgained Arizona 525-392 in total yards. Bogenschutz outpassed Solomon 332-229 through the air. UTSA rushed the ball for 193 yards, compared to Arizona gaining 163 on the ground. The visitors also racked up 29 first downs to Arizona’s 25, while possessing the ball for over 35 minutes. In fact, UTSA had a whopping 38 snaps inside of Arizona territory in the first half, which is one reason they only trailed the Wildcats 21-20 at intermission.However, what UTSA could not do is overcome its own mistakes, while accounting for Arizona’s own big plays.
In addition to the Lopez pick six, Arizona’s defense added a second touchdown with 5:57 to play in the third quarter whenJamar Allah picked up an Aaron Grubb fumble and sprinted 22-yards for the score to put the Wildcats up 35-20.
Earlier in the game, Solomon rolled left, avoided the sack, scrambled back across the field while avoiding would-be tacklers to then heave a pass to a wide open Johnny Jackson, who dove into the end zone for a 21-yard score. The heady play, along with Lopez’s surprising game-opening, shining moment, was the reason why Arizona led at halftime.
In the final frame, Arizona’s special teams made an impact when DaVonte’ Neal broke free off the edge to block a 44-yard field try by UTSA’s Daniel Portillo. The block and eventual recovery and return by Jamar Allah gave Arizona possession of the ball near midfield, still clinging to a tenuous 35-26 lead. Solomon and the offense would capitalize, driving 47 yards in four plays to score on a Solomon pass to Cayleb Jones from four yards out.
Overall, Arizona’s defense accounted for 14 points. Its special teams also served to deny UTSA seven points out of its kicking game, which whiffed on an extra point attempt, missed a field goal, and had a second miss blocked by Arizona’s Neal.
Add it all up and Thursday’s outcome could have been entirely different.
Fall camp is a time for both questions and answers. Some positions and players answer their questions quickly, while others can linger long into the season. No position is as settled as the quarterback position.
With only four quarterbacks in camp, the Wildcats have not only settled on a starter but have their depth char essentially set in stone. Anu Solomon came into camp as the starter and has done nothing to lose his grasp of the job. Year two sees the signal caller stronger, quicker, healthier and most importantly, more confident.
“He (Rich Rodriguez) says it through his body language that he is letting me take control of the offense and do what I’m supposed to do without him telling me,” noted Solomon.
The redshirt sophomore looks 100% healthy and an additional year in the offense has him making quicker decisions. He had a pretty stellar freshman season, but lacked consistency. If he can string together more good quarters and avoid slow starts, Arizona’s offense could be particularly potent.
Jerrard Randall has a great set of physical tools, but had issues getting used to the Arizona offense a year ago. He really did not start to come around until the end of the season and was probably the lone bright spot in the Pac-12 Championship game. He has the strongest arm on the team and is one of the fastest players.
Now he seems to be closer to having a great feel for the offense and looks to be a very nice back-up to Solomon. He does not have the consistency that Solomon has had in practice and seems a little less instinctual, but looks like he could win football games for the team if Solomon goes down.
“I have a lot more focus this year,” Randall said. “I also feel a lot more comfortable. Last year I was a bit tense and Coach Rodriguez would put us in uncomfortable situations. So this year I'm more comfortable being uncomfortable."
Will Arizona use Randall in any special short yardage situation packages?
With his speed and ability to run, you would have to think Randall could do some things in short yardage situations. He is athletic enough to play other positions, but until third stringer Brandon Dawkins gets more consistent, Randall is the team’s No. 2 QB. Will RichRod find ways to get him on the field or is he just an insurance policy for Solomon.
Year four of the Rich Rodriguez era got underway on Wednesday as the Wildcats started fall camp. It was a rare open practice for the media, so we got a good look at the team.
It was a pretty typical first practice. No pads, so it is very tough to get a great gauge on how guys really look. Practice was mostly smooth, as the team knows what is expected and move easily from drill to drill and skill to skill.
“We started practice early and we finished practice on time,” Rodriguez said. “I told the team we kind of script an hour and 45 minute practice and they determine whether we go over an hour and 45 minutes or less than an hour and 45 minutes. Today we actually finished a couple minutes early so I thought it was pretty good work today.”
With just four quarterbacks on the roster, it is one of the smallest groups I can remember since Rodriguez’s first spring. It is early, but both Anu Solomon and Jerrard Randall were the most consistent, which is to be expected as they look like they will be the top two quarterbacks.
“We know what Anu (Solomon) and Jerrard (Randall)’s strengths are,” said Rodriguez. “We know what plays they run better than others. We have to be careful, even though we have some experience there, that we don’t add too much and its slows us down. We’ll be a little ahead of installation than we were a year ago at this time.”
Solomon had a good, solid day, but if we are just looking at physical ability, Randall is very impressive. The ball just explodes off his hand and it looks like his accuracy is getting better. This is clearly Solomon’s team, but Randall looks like a really good option.
With Trey Griffey held out, Cayleb Jones and David Richards loomed large over the rest of the group. No other receivers have their mix of height and muscle. Both guys are big and strong and made some nice catches. Jones had a great grab during 11-on-11 work going over the defensive back.
I was a little surprised that freshman Shun Brown has started his career at WR. I loved his tape as a corner back, but he wants to start on offense. Brown’s lack of height is his only real knock as a DB, but it will not be as big a deal at WR. The early reports are that he has a shot to play right away.
Tony Ellison is a guy who has gotten some rave reviews and he has certainly flashed some ability over the past year, but there are still some growing pains. He has all the tools to be an effective slot receiver in the Wildcats’ system, but had to make a few corrections on some minor technique things. He seems like a quick learner and expect him to be in the rotation.
Tight End and Line
As they did in spring the Wildcats continue to run a lot of plays for the tight ends and the first day of fall camp was no exception. There is a lot of good size in the group, but Trevor Wood still stands out. He’s tall, thick and moves well. Josh Kern still reminds me a bit of former Wildcat Steve Fleming and it was weird to see a No. 48 out there. Brion Anduzehas a long way to go to be the next Rob Gronkowski, but has some similar size.
The battle of camp, at least on offense, is center. Carter Wood got the most reps with the first team line. He had a slim hold on the job coming out of spring drills, but has a long way to go to sew up the job. One newcomer who got some reps is Chase Hanlon. The Washington native joined the military out of high school, then played at Long Beach City College where he was listed as an offensive lineman, defensive lineman and tight end. He is listed at 6-1, 279 on the UA roster handed out to the media at practice. He is listed at 6-4, 270 by Long Beach CC and on his Hudl page, but one of the linemen next to him in the highlight video is listed at 6-5 and he is clearly several inches shorter.
Luca Bruno joined Reggie Gilbert and Parker Zellers in working with the first team. The redshirt sophomore has yet to make in impact on the program since being touted by Rodriguez during the fall of his first year. Bruno ran into some issues getting cleared and never established himself. He’ll get that chance this year.
JC transfer Anthony Fotu showed some flashes and I would expect him to be in the mix.
Basically five linebackers got serious work with the first team. Scooby Wright never left the unit and was joined by DeAndre’ Miller, Jake Matthews, Cody Ippolito and Derrick Turituri. Already an athletic freak, Turituri looks even bigger this year.
Overall the offensive line held off the pass rush, but the defense had some success with blitzes from the backers. Ippolito had a few nice penetrations from the middle.
Despite Anthony Lopez coming up with a big pick, the defensive backs had their issues on day one. Cam Denson and Jarvis McCall worked with the first team and seemed to have better days than back-up Davonte’ Neal and Devin Holiday.
Freshman Demetrious Flannigan-Fowles stood out because he has great size at 6-2, 182. Redshirt freshman Kwesi Mashackhas not missed his reps in the weight room. At 5-8 and over 200 pounds the kid is yoked.
Arizona senior T.J. McConnell has been named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award presented by College of Holy Cross, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday.
McConnell is joined among the award’s finalists by Tyus Jones (Duke), Kevin Pangos (Gonzaga), Delon Wright (Utah) and Fred VanVleet (Wichita State).
The winner of the 2015 Bob Cousy Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit cousyaward.com to cast their votes from March 9-18.
The winner will be presented the Bob Cousy Award at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s from Club Nokia in Los Angeles on April 10.
McConnell paces the Pac-12 with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.25 and ranks second in the league with an average of 6.3 assists per game, leading active Pac-12 players with 397 assists despite playing just 69 games in an Arizona uniform. He also ranks seventh nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio and 11th in the country in assists per game.
He averages 9.6 points per game on the season, and stepped up his offensive output in Pac-12 play with an average of 11.1 points per contest. The Pittsburgh native has been efficient on the offensive end of the floor all season, ranking 12th in the Pac-12 in overall field goal percentage (.494) and seventh in league games only (.543).
McConnell has also been a force on defense for Arizona this season, leading the team, ranking third in the Pac-12 and checking in at 20th nationally with an average of 2.1 steals per game. His 65 total steals place him two away from tying Ken Lofton (1989) and Reggie Geary (1996) for ninth on UA’s single-season chart.
McConnell has led Arizona in assists in 29 times this season and 58 times in 69-career games with the Wildcats. He has also paced UA in steals 16 times this season and on 38 occasions during his tenure in Tucson. With 397 total assists and 129 total steals during his time at UA, he is approaching the best two-year totals in program history in both statistical categories.
A second-team All-Pac-12 selection as a junior, McConnell has scored in double figures 15 times this season, reached double figures in assists four and recorded two double-doubles.
Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson was named one of five finalists for the inaugural Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award in a release Monday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The winner of the Julius Erving Award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fans are encouraged to visit hoophallawards.com to cast their votes from March 9-18.
The winner will be awarded at ESPN’s new College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s from Club Nokia in Los Angeles on April 10.
Johnson is the only Pac-12 player among the five finalists, which also include Justise Winslow (Duke), LaDontae Henton (Providence), Justin Anderson (Virginia) and Sam Dekker (Wisconsin).
Arizona’s leader in scoring and rebounding, Johnson is one of just two freshmen in the major college basketball conferences averaging at least 13.5 points and 6.0 rebounds per game (also Jahlil Okafor of Duke) with marks of 13.9 points and 6.6 boards per night.
The Fullerton, Calif., native leads Pac-12 freshmen and ranks 13th overall in the league in scoring, while pacing freshmen and ranking fifth among all Pac-12 players with an average of 1.5 steals per contest. He leads Arizona and ranks fifth nationally among freshmen with 160 free throw attempts, the seventh-most ever by a UA freshman.
Johnson has scored in double figures 25 times in 31-career games, leading the Wildcats in scoring 14 times and rebounds on 11 occasions, and has posted three double-doubles.
In November, he was named MVP of the EA Sports Maui Invitational after averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as Arizona claimed the tournament crown. He is also one of 10 finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, presented annually to the nation’s top freshman.
Posted in University of arizona, Livenup, Uawildcats, Speak out on Monday, March 9, 2015 3:13 pm. Updated: 10:06 am. | Tags: Stanley Johnson , University Of Arizona Basketball , T.j. Mcconnell Comments (0)
Stanley Johnson became the eighth player in Arizona men’s basketball history to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Year honors on Monday, joining Brandon Ashley, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and T.J. McConnell as UA players to earn All-Pac-12 honors. Hollis-Jefferson and McConnell were also named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
With three players on the All-Pac-12 first team, the league champion Wildcats are the only program with multiple first-team honorees, and Arizona’s four total All-Pac-12 selections are also a league high. UA is the only program with multiple players on the five-man Pac-12 All-Defensive Team.
The league’s freshman leader in scoring, steals, free throws made and free throw attempts, Johnson is the second-straight Pac-12 Freshman of the Year for Arizona after Aaron Gordon claimed the award in 2014. He was also the lone freshman named to the All-Pac-12 first team
Johnson leads the Wildcats in scoring (13.9/game) and rebounds (6.6/game), and is one of just two freshmen in the major college basketball conferences averaging at least 13.5 points and six rebounds per game. He has scored in double figures 25 times in 31-career games, leading the Wildcats in scoring 14 times and rebounds on 11 occasions, and has posted three double-doubles.
In November, he was named MVP of the EA Sports Maui Invitational after averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as Arizona claimed the tournament crown.
The Fullerton, Calif., native is also one of 10 finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, presented annually to the nation’s top freshman, and one of five finalists for the inaugural Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award.
McConnell took the league by storm en route to first-team All-Pac-12 honors after being named to the second team last year, averaging 11.1 points on 54.3 percent shooting, while leading the conference in assists (6.3/game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.14), in Pac-12 games.
He is currently the league leader in assists (6.3/game) and assist-to-turnover ratio (3.25) for the entire season, ranking 11th and seventh nationally, respectively, in those categories. For the year, he averages 9.6 points on 49.4 percent shooting and 3.8 rebounds per game.
The Pittsburgh native has led Arizona in assists in 29 times this season and 58 times in 69-career games with the Wildcats. McConnell has scored in double figures 15 times this season, reached double figures in assists four and recorded two double-doubles.
A Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honoree for the second time in as many years, McConnell ranks third in the Pac-12 and 20th nationally with an average of 2.1 steals per game. His 65 total steals place him two away from tying Ken Lofton (1989) and Reggie Geary (1996) for ninth on UA’s single-season chart.
With 397 total assists and 129 total steals during his time at UA, McConnell is approaching the best two-year totals in program history in both statistical categories.
On Monday, he was also named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award.
One of the most explosive all-around players in the conference, Hollis-Jefferson was named first-team All-Pac-12 and a member of the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.
The Chester, Pa., native ranks fifth in the Pac-12 with a .523 field goal percentage, leading to an average of 11.2 points per game that ranks 24th in the league. He has scored in double figures 23 times, led Arizona in scoring five times and rebounds on 10 occasions, and posted a pair of double-doubles.
Routinely tasked with guarding the opposition’s top perimeter threat, Hollis-Jefferson leads UA in blocked shots (27), ranks second in rebounds (6.5/game) and third in steals (1.1/game), averaging 1.3 steals per game in Pac-12 play to rank ninth in the conference.
Hollis-Jefferson has shown marked improvement from a 2013-14 campaign in which he was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team, shooting better than 50 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the free throw line, and averaging almost a full rebound per game more.
After losing the 2013-14 stretch run to injury, Ashley made a tenacious rehab effort this summer and came back with a vengeance on his way to honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades. Ranked second on the team in scoring and third in rebounds, he ranks 22nd in the Pac-12 in scoring (11.6/game) and 11th in field goal percentage (.498).
The San Francisco native has started every game for the Wildcats, averaging 27.8 minutes per game. He is averaging a career-high 1.9 offensive rebounds per game and has attempted a career-best 131 free throw attempts, the third-most on the team. Ashley has scored in double figures 23 times on the year, leading the Wildcats in scoring eight times. He has paced UA in rebounds four times and blocks on eight occasions.
UA will open Pac-12 Tournament play at noon MST on Thursday when it faces the winner of the first-round game between California and Washington State at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Pac-12 Networks will televise the game, and Brian Jeffries and Ryan Hansen will have the call on the Arizona IMG Sports Network.
Posted in University of arizona, Uawildcats, Speak out on Monday, March 9, 2015 2:49 pm. Updated: 10:06 am. | Tags: Pac-12 , Stanley Johnson , Rondae Hollis-jefferson , Brandon Ashley , T.j. Mcconnell Comments (0)
Stanley Johnson has been honored for his efforts in a pair of Arizona wins last week with Pac-12 Player of the Week honors, announced by the league office on Monday.
The honor is the second of the season for Johnson, who was also named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Dec. 1, 2014, after earning MVP honors at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
The Fullerton, Calif., native averaged 20.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game as the Wildcats claimed wins over Colorado and eighth-ranked Utah at McKale Center. He shot 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the floor and 81.3 percent (13-of-16) from the free throw line in the two contests.
Johnson got the week off to a fast start with 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting in a 68-54 win over CU on Thursday, marking both a season high and his first 20-point game as a collegian. He added eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the game.
Saturday’s win over No. 8/8 Utah saw Johnson battle early foul trouble but post 18 points, nine rebounds and two steals in the second half as UA pulled away from the Utes for a 69-51 victory. He was 6-of-12 from the floor and 5-of-7 from the line, sparking Arizona to a lead as high as 21 points in the first meeting of top-10 teams in the Pac-12 since 2008.
Nine of Johnson’s 17 total rebounds on the week came on the offensive end, as UA was +18.0 on the glass for the week and averaged 15.0 offensive rebounds in the two games. The victories over Colorado and Utah also ran the Wildcats’ home winning streak to 32 games, the second-longest active streak in the country.
Johnson is Arizona’s leading scorer and rebounder with averages of 14.6 points and 6.8 rebounds, respectively. His mark of 1.6 steals per game ranks second on the team and sixth in the Pac-12.
He and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor are the only two freshmen in the major college basketball conferences averaging at least 14 points and six rebounds per game. Johnson is shooting 48.2 percent from the floor, including 40.4 percent from three-point range, and 70.2 percent from the free throw line. He has two double-doubles on the season and has led Arizona in scoring 10 times.
Arizona took advantage of two Colorado starters out with injury and beat the visiting Buffaloes 68-54 despite a career night from Askia Booker.
With teammates Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson in street clothes, Booker scored 30 points, including 6-9 shooting from three.
Arizona got 20 points from freshman Stanley Johnson, while Elliott Pitts added 12 on 4-7 three-point shooting.
The Buffaloes opened the half with seven of the first nine points, including a Booker three, but they gave their senior guard a rest and Arizona responded with five-quick points, including a Kaleb Tarczewski three-point play, just moments after Colorado shifted to a zone defense. After Tarczewski converted the free throw, the Wildcats led 44-42.
Booker came back in the game and promptly scored his 23rd point of the game, a long jumper. Booker missed his next two shots, but remained confident. A drive into the lane resulted in a foul and his two free throws pulled Colorado within six, 44-38.
Colorado cut the Arizona lead to four with a pair of easy buckets at the hoop, including a Jaron Hopkins two handed jam that drew a Sean Miller timeout, but the Wildcats responded with back-to-back threes by Elliott Pitts and T.J. McConnell that pushed the lead to 53-42.
After four quick points from Tarczewski, Booker answered with his sixth three of the night, but hurt his ankle and went to the locker room with his Buffs down 61-49 with 5:20 to play. Booker was out for 1:28 but Arizona could not take advantage as neither team scored. Booker’s return did not spark the Buffaloes, as the Wildcats scored seven of the next nine points, including four Johnson foul shots and an Elliott Pitts three-pointer.
The 10th ranked Wildcats improved to 14-2 on the season and will host No. 8 Utah on Saturday.
From January 5th to March 15th, Infiniti is helping 48 of the nation’s top college basketball coaches compete to raise money for charities in the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge. The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southern Arizona has been selected by UA Men’s Basketball Head Coach Sean Miller as the beneficiary of the challenge.
Coaches will count on their network of fans to advance to the finals. School supporters will have a chance to vote daily for their favorite coach in each of four rounds. Infiniti, a proud corporate partner of NCAA® Men’s Basketball, will donate to each participating coach’s selected charity. Arizona fans can support Sean Miller using #VoteCoachMiller.
Voting is cumulative in each round with 24 coaches moving on to the second round (earning $7,500 for the charity), 16 to the third ($10,000), and 4 to the finals ($15,000). Coaches who do not move on to Round 2 will receive $1,000 for their charity.
The 24 coaches who receive the most votes by 9:59AM on January 25th will advance to Round 2. The coach with the most votes in the final round will win $100,000, which will be awarded to his selected charity. The voting will take place at www.VoteCoachMiller.com.