Friday, September 5, 2014

Wildcats Edge UTSA, 26-23

Casey Skowron kicked four field goals and Nick Wilson picked up 174 yards on the ground, leading Arizona to a 26-23 victory over UTSA on Thursday night in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Arizona posted 454 yards of total offense in the contest, 85 of which came on the first play of the game, when Anu Solomon found Cayleb Jones for an 80-yard touchdown strike to give the Cats a 7-0 lead.

Solomon finished the game 17-of-32 for 231 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

Jones led all receivers with 143 yards on four receptions.

Wilson, filling in for an injured Terris Jones-Grigsby, picked up his second 100-yard effort in as many collegiate contests, picking up 174 yards on the ground, including one score, a week after he gained 104 yards against UNLV in his collegiate debut.

Wilson’s 174 yards were part of a Wildcat ground assault that gained 223 yards. Jared Baker rushed for 32 yards on four carries while Solomon picked up 11 yards on eight attempts and Nate Phillips gained eight yards on his lone carry.

The Wildcats’ special teams were spectacular in the contest as Skowron connected on all four of his field goals, including a 44-yarder in the third quarter, his longest of the game. Two of Drew Riggleman’s punts were downed inside the 20-yard line; the junior had a long of 54 in the game.

Arizona’s offense had difficulties converting in the redzone, getting inside the Roadrunner 20-yard line on four drives, but coming away with a touchdown on just one of the drives.

Jared Tevis stood out on an Arizona defense that allowed UTSA to rack up 349 yards of total offense. Tevis led the team with 16 tackles and had the game’s lone interception, a pick that proved to ice the game for Arizona. Scooby Wright had 11 tackles, including one of Arizona’s three sacks on the night. Reggie Gilbert and Tellas Jones also came up with sacks in the contest.

On the game’s first play from scrimmage, Anu Solomon connected with Cayleb Jones on an 85-yard touchdown pass to give Arizona a 7-0 lead 18 seconds into the game.

The Cats would add to their lead after forcing a UTSA three-and-out. Arizona capped a seven-play, 38-yard drive with a 38-yard field goal to give Arizona the early 10-0 lead.

The Roadrunners would respond. After forcing an Arizona punt, UTSA took over at its own 15 with 5:56 remaining in the first quarter. Eleven plays and 85 yards later, Tucker Carter found David Morgan II on a 10-yard touchdown strike to cut Arizona’s lead to 10-7.

On its next possession, Arizona put together a promising drive, only to have it stall inside the UTSA 10-yard line. Casey Skowron’s 23-yard field goal capped a 12-play, 69-yard drive that took 3:44 off the clock.

UTSA grabbed its first lead of the game on an 18-yard rush by Kam Jones, finishing off a nine-play, 79-yard drive by the Roadrunners.

After the teams traded punts, Arizona took over at its own three yard line. On third down, the ball was snapped over Solomon’s head, causing the quarterback to step out of bounds for a safety and extend the Roadrunners’ lead to 16-13.

The freshman responded, leading the Wildcats on a nine-play, 85-yard drive before the end of the half. Wilson punched it in from two yards out after UTSA committed two key penalties on the drive, including a pass interference in the end zone, which gave Arizona the ball at the Roadrunner two-yard line.

On the Cats’ first drive of the second half, Arizona used the leg of Skowron to extend its lead. Skowron’s third field goal of the game, this a 44-yard try, gave Arizona a 23-16 lead with 8:31 remaining in the third quarter. The field goal concluded an 11-play, 57-yard drive that took 3:50 off the clock.

Skowron bailed the offense out on the ensuing drive when it sputtered in the red zone once again. Wilson and Solomon marched the Wildcat offense to the UTSA 10-yard line, but the Cats were unable to find the endzone and Skowron connected on a 28-yard field goal to give Arizona a 10-point lead.

After missing a field goal that would have brought UTSA within a touchdown, the Roadrunners found the endzone on their next drive to bring the score to 26-23. David Glasco II scored from six yards out for the Roadrunners, capping an eight-play, 80-yard drive.

Arizona was unable to get anything going on its ensuing drive, turning the ball over to UTSA with 5:09 remaining and 80 yards away from taking a late lead. The Arizona defense rose to the occasion, forcing a three-and-out, punctuated by Reggie Gilbert’s first sack of the season.

The Wildcats punted the ball back to UTSA with 2:04 remaining; the Roadrunners took over at their own 15. After picking up 16 yards on the drive’s first three plays, Carter was picked off by Jared Tevis with 1:20 to go.

Arizona would turn the ball over on downs with 0:20 remaining, but UTSA was unable to muster anything on its final possession, giving Arizona a 26-23 victory.

The Wildcats return to action next Saturday when they welcomes Nevada to Arizona Stadium on Sep. 13 at 8 p.m. MST on Pac-12 Networks.

No comments: