While many games this season have included many ups and downs, Saturday’s affair with Washington turned out to be a much more positive game than Arizona has experienced in recent weeks. The Wildcats should up in all three areas of the game and saw several players step in and contribute to the victory.
The 52-17 victory for UA was the largest margin of victory for the Wildcats over a FBS opponent this season and really allowed the Wildcats to get back on track after a rough start to the conference schedule.
The offense was clicking on all cylinders, the defense played its best game of the season, and special teams played about as flawless of a game as you can expect it to. There isn’t much negative you can say about UA’s performance against Washington and it really showed how good Arizona can be when it’s on top of its game.
Ka’Deem Carey and the entire rushing attack: Carey continues to be the biggest weapon the Wildcats have. The running back continues to run the ball with authority and rarely gets brought down by the initial tackler. He set a career high with 172 yards on the ground and punished the Huskies with his bruising running style.
It wasn’t just Carey that ran the ball well. Quarterback Matt Scott was impressive, rushing for 43 yards and a touchdown. Even Jared Baker and Daniel Jenkins ran the ball with purpose, combining for 49 yards on the ground.
Matt Scott: Scott’s only blemish was an interception that wasn’t necessarily his fault and, to his credit, he kept his head in the play and made the tackle. Otherwise, Scott was both impressive and efficient in the victory. On top of his 43 yards rushing, Scott threw for 256 yards and four touchdowns.
Garic Wharton: It was the first time Wharton was a real factor in the offense and it would be surprising if he doesn’t see more of the field after his performance on Saturday. Wharton caught a 33-yard touchdown pass that displayed his speed and a set of skills that should be a valuable asset to Rich Rodriguez’s offense.
Austin Hill: Hill continues to be a huge play maker and although he just caught two passes, both went for a touchdown. Each catch showed a unique trait of Hill. The first touchdown, he burned the entire Washington secondary. On the second, he stiff-armed Sean Parker to the ground before running it in.
Dan Buckner: Buckner continues to have a big season, adding a five catch, 86-yard performance to his season resume. Buckner’s frame is rare and he continues to use it to his advantage. He consistently shows strong hands, even in traffic, and can fight off defenders better than most wideouts.
Offensive line: I can’t imagine how tired this unit is at the end of each game, but it certainly labored through it. For the most part, UA’s run and pass blocking was impressive as the line was able to control the trenches.
Defensive line: This unit played its best game of the season. Justin Washington appears to be getting back to form, which is both a surprise and a relief. Washington’s presence has been a factor recently after not seeing the field for much of the early part of the 2012 campaign. Defensive end Reggie Gilbert also produced one of his best games in college, collecting 1.5 sacks.
Marquis Flowers: The junior linebacker was in the Huskies’ backfield consistently and had Price on the run. Flowers aggressiveness sparked the pass-rush, which collected a season-high four sacks, and freed up the defensive linemen.
Shaquille Richardson: After weeks of struggling, Richardson played his best game this season. He flanked Washington receivers and had a big pass break-up in the second quarter. Richardson collected five tackles and split a tackle-for-loss with Patrick Onwuasor.
The entire secondary: It wasn’t just Richardson who put in a good performance. Both Tra’Mayne Bondurant and Jourdon Grandon collected interceptions and the rest of the secondary was able to hold UW’s passing attack in check.
Richard Morrison: The 63-yard punt return can’t go unmentioned. It was good to see Morrison dart in and out of the UW defense on the long run and I am sure scoring was a big relief for the junior wide receiver.
Penalties: Arizona committed eight penalties on the night and while many of them came when the game was virtually over, it still shows this team can lose a little focus from time to time.
Turnovers: Sure, UA only turned the ball over twice, but the timing of them – not to mention how close together they occurred – is also a little concerning.
UA can be a very streaky team and coughing the ball up in two consecutive opportunities could have been much more problematic against a stronger team.