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Only last year at this time, Arizona did not have a quarterback. Rich Rodriguez was going to have his third different quarterback in three years.
Rodriguez had five viable candidates to fill the position but ended up going with the redshirt freshman Anu Solomon who had a lot of hype coming into 2013 season but eventually redshirted.
Most people in Wildcat Nation did not know a whole lot about Solomon except the fact that SI.com deemed him the number one recruit that could make an immediate impact and that people compared him to Marcus Mariota coming out of high school. I was one who didn’t think much of the comparison because people compare young players all the time and many of them do not live up to those exceptions. Remember Ryan Leaf?
Solomon had an up and down season in 2014, he threw for 520 yards in that memorable game against Cal and also threw for 425 yards in the opener against UNLV. But he also took a sack that ended the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State and looked flustered in the Pac-12 Championship game against Oregon.
Although his play varied throughout the season one thing stayed constant: Arizona won when Solomon played well. In two of four of Arizona’s losses in 2014, Solomon threw for less than 200 yards. He threw for 175 yards in the loss at UCLA and for only 34 in the loss to Oregon.
The exception to the rule is the USC game when Solomon carried the Wildcat offense when he had 72 pass attempts and completed 34 of them and threw for nearly 400 yards with no interceptions. The Wildcats lost on a missed field goal at the end of the game.
The other exception is the 27-26 victory against Washington where he completed 44 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns.
Some may argue that he played well in the Fiesta Bowl and Arizona still lost. While his stat line look like he played a solid game where he completed 57 percent of his passes and threw for 335 yards, he threw two crucial interceptions, both resulting in touchdowns for Boise State with one being a pick-six.
He also took the infamous sack that ended the game with the Wildcats inside the Boise State 10-yard line.
The biggest win of the 2014 by far is the upset in Eugene which many sport outlets have called it one of the top 10 upsets of 2014. In that game, Solomon completed 65 percent of his passes and threw for 287 yards with an impressive passer rating of 147.
He also shined in the most important game of the season: The battle for the Territorial Cup, when he completed 71 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions leading Arizona to a 42-35 victory.
After the Fiesta Bowl loss, Solomon owned up to the moment and apologized for the sack when he honestly didn’t have to, which shows not only how strong mentally he is but also how good of a kid he is.
I am truly sorry to all teammates and fans I disappointed everyone but mark my words I will get better everyday to overcome tonight Godbless
— Anu Solomon (@anu_solomon) January 1, 2015
I have faith in Solomon and you should too.
Nick Latta is an accomplished youth golfer from Tucson who follows high school sports and the University of Arizona closely.