In the new era of head coach, Rich Rodriguez, the Arizona Wildcats began their season with an overtime thriller beating the Toledo Rockets 24-17. The game really shouldn’t have been very close considering that no Pac-12 team has ever lost to Toledo. After UA kicker, John Bonano missed a 25-yard field goal as time expired in regulation, it was clear that the kicking curse at Arizona will continue.
Although it’s a new season with a new coach and a new team, the Wildcats just couldn’t seem to shake off the curse of the kicker which could cause trouble later in the season. However, the Wildcat’s offense proved to be superior as new starting quarterback, Matt Scott, scrambled toward the sideline before firing a 10-yard touchdown pass on third down to Terrence Miller to take the lead.
With one last defensive stand, Arizona was able to secure their first win of the season and the first win for Rich Rodriguez.
However, the final score didn’t accurately represent the game. Arizona completely outplayed Toledo in nearly every stat as they out gained them 624 to 358 yards. It was the two touchdowns called back by penalties, the three turnovers and the two missed field goals which kept this game exciting.
Former Canyon del Oro tailback, Ka’Deem Carey put the Wildcats in the lead during the third quarter with his 73-yard touchdown run capping off a career night for Carey who finished with 20 carries for 147 yards.
The new face of the Wildcat team, senior Matt Scott, also had a career night breaking his previous records with 387 passing yards, 74 rushing yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Reflecting on the game, the Wildcats still have a lot to work on, starting with their unreliable kicking which easily could have been the difference between a win and a loss against Toledo. Penalties have also been a weak spot for Arizona which cost them two touchdowns. Lastly, turnovers have been Arizona’s achilles heel. Even dating back to last season, UA struggled with turnovers and had three of them against a sub-par Toledo team. Arizona must fix this quickly if they want to have a chance against powerhouse Oklahoma State on Saturday.
On the bright side, Arizona’s offense seemed like it couldn’t be stopped with the exception of a few careless turnovers. Matt Scott and Ka’Deem Carey absolutely lit up the Rockets defense behind a strong performance by UA’s offensive line.
With one game under their belt, Arizona has a lot to be excited about while still having many flaws that must be fixed in the near future. The Wildcats have a daunting task ahead of them as they take on the Cowboys of Oklahoma State coming fresh off of an 84-0 blowout.