Don’t you dare complain about this game.
“The Cats should’ve won by 30,” you say. I don’t want to hear it. “Should’ve won by more” is far superior to “Should’ve won.” You know what they say:
‘Tis better to have stunk and won
Than never to have won at all.
We knew the letdown was coming. If you have been following this program for any length of time you can rattle off countless examples of games where the Cats played down to the level of their completion. The same was true this weekend. But something strange happened.
The Wildcats won anyway.
The game script was looking straight out of our Arizona Football nightmares. When you play a team with a bad offense there are three things you want to avoid: Turning the ball over, giving the other team a short field, and yielding defensive or special teams touchdowns. We suffered through the ugly trifecta…and still won by two touchdowns.
The secret to Arizona’s success the last couple weeks has been the equivalent of keeping the president and vice-president on separate planes. As long as only one goes down in flames the country survives.
One-ply defense against Stanford? Don’t worry, we’ve got 43 points waiting. Butterfinger O versus the Bruins? Fear not, we’ll shut the UCLA offense out of the end zone.
I don’t care how bad UCLA’s quarterback was (or their next one, or the one after that). It was good to see the Cat defense looking fast again. I loved the caboose blitz where Cam Nelson followed Xavier Kelley through the same hole and leveled the quarterback. (I have no idea what it’s really called but doesn’t using cryptic lingo make it sound like I know what I’m talking about?)
Uniform fun fact of the week: Arizona is 3-0 when wearing red jerseys and blue pants against UCLA and 1-3 when wearing them against anyone else.
Uniform unfun fact of the week: Every time Arizona wears red Nick Foles throws three interceptions in the first half.
So there goes the Heisman. You figured Foles would come back to earth at some point and he did it with style. Nick had a direct hand in all five turnovers (although Nwoko was officially credited with the one fumble) that led to all 13 of UCLA’s points. But if a horrible game still looks like completing 65% of your passes and throwing two TDs, you’ve got to be excited about the future.
Bad: Nic Grigsby running to avoid contact and re-aggravating his shoulder injury anyway. Good: Keola Antolin getting 17 touches and looking sharp.
Speaking of looking sharp, Foles and Antolin might just be the hairiest backfield in the nation. Put in Taimi Tutogi at fullback and we could get Paul Mitchell as a game sponsor.
As we head into our second and final bye week the name of the game is health. They say you can’t overlook anybody in college football but for the next two weeks I hope Arizona does just that. The Cats have to do just that. Instead of spending two weeks preparing for Washington State I hope we spend three weeks preparing for Cal.
What I mean is nobody on the injury report should play against WSU. Start Nick Booth at tailback. Play the second-string defensive line. Go deep down the O-line depth chart. It’s worth gambling that Wazzu is indeed that bad in order to give the Wildcats the best possible chance to beat the California Golden Bears on November 14.
One could argue it was good that the Arizona offense played poorly this week. The inevitable letdown game is out of the way and the coaches now have plenty of things with which to get the players’ attention during the time off. It’s not like the team is going to spend the next two weeks hearing how great they are.
Offense: Five turnovers, huh?
Defense: I think Stanford just scored again.
Special Teams: THREE missed extra points?!
But you aren’t going to hear me complaining. Yes, I was just as frustrated and nervous as you during the game (Fall on the ball, Terrell!!!) but now that the dust has settled and win #5 is in the books I’m more than satisfied with the big picture.
The Cats are guaranteed to spend the next two weeks in the Top 25. Our next game is against the worst team in the league. All the big dreams are still out there. This was a great weekend for Arizona Football and no one can convince me otherwise.
I can even wait on that Heisman Trophy.