For one night everything came together for the Arizona Wildcats football team.
Tim Kish’s debut as the interim head coach was a rousing success and the blowout of UCLA should be enjoyed as long as possible.
Just don’t try to read anything into it.
This win should stand alone. A one-game perfect storm of emotion and execution. Don’t try to make it a predictor of things to come. I know Arizona’s remaining Pac-12 opponents each lost their last game and the combined score was 185-60, but the Cats don’t need any expectations.
As if they weren’t already going to be big underdogs playing a 5-2 team on the road, half the two-deep will be missing from the secondary for at least a half against Washington.
Enjoy the UCLA game, let the Wildcats go out and play ball, and enjoy the UCLA game some more.
On we go…
The Arizona offensive line had a tremendous showing on Thursday. In addition to the 254 rushing yards the Cats only allowed one sack, had just one holding penalty and committed no false starts. There were no illegal snaps either.
Early in the 2nd quarter Arizona was at the UCLA 34 and Kish faced the first 4th down of his head coaching career. First of all, you know things are going well when you have 21 points before you see 4th down. But even with a 14-point lead Kish went for it on 4th-and-4. Nick Foles converted with a pass to Gino Crump, the Cats scored three plays later and the rout was on. There is no reason for the KishCats not to keep gambling as the year goes on.
On the attendance
It was the smallest crowd at Arizona Stadium since Mike Stoops’ first Pac-10 game, and it was very disappointing. I probably shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up for a big turnout but I did.
Playing on a Thursday isn’t an excuse because there were over 50,000 at the Dennis Dixon/Oregon game four years ago. I get that some people couldn’t get off work early but showing up late is better than not showing up at all.
I’ll never understand the strategy of only going to games (or even scrimmages) when the team wins. It’s like planting a field, complaining about how long it’s taking to grow and then saying you’re not going to water it again until you see some crops.
Those who were at the UCLA game were treated to a great show and I look forward to sitting among you the rest of the year.
On the uniforms
Forget the double-eagle flex, Kish’s biggest adjustment was obviously doing his uniform combination research. He found the only home combo with a perfect record and added to its perfection.
Contrast that to Stoops who sent his team out for the Oregon State game in the same combination that had lost to USC the previous week. It was the first time Arizona had worn the same combo following a loss since the Cal/USC games in 2005. Both then and now the fashion faux pas contributed to five-game losing streaks. When you don’t dress for success you undress for failure. Speaking of which…
On the streaker
I’m not going to be pretend to be morally superior. I laughed. I thought it was an impressive prank. But if the guy was hoping for leniency from a judge and/or university officials he shouldn’t be doing interviews where he says his only regret is not doing a sack dance.
On the brawl
Again, I’m not going to feign righteous indignation. It was exciting. It was great to see the Wildcats fighting for each other after a week (and season) of turmoil. No, you shouldn’t throw punches at anyone and those who were suspended got what they deserved. No, I don’t want to see Arizona starting any more fights this season. But showing some fire in a game between two desperate teams the week after your coach got fired? Seeing a bunch of Wildcats leaving the sideline a couple days after reading this? Didn’t ruin my night at all.
On the record book
Eight different players share the UA record for most touchdown receptions in a game with three, but Juron Criner became the first Cat pass-catcher to do it twice. Criner’s triple against UCLA matched his output against Oregon in the what-might-have-been game in 2009.
On good company
The most thrilling finish in college football this weekend was Michigan State’s Hail Mary. The Spartans just happen to be coached by Mark Dantonio, the best friend of Tim Kish. The most thrilling finish in the NFL this weekend was the Denver Broncos’ 15-point rally. Tim Tebow just happened to be praying with Spencer Larsen during the game-winning kick.
Coincidence? You decide.
Either way it was a great week to be associated with the Arizona Wildcats.
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