Notables and quotables from Arizona’s 48-14 loss to USC yesterday. Information from Arizona’s media relations department contributed to this report.
Arizona Head Coach Rich Rodriguez quotes from postgame press conference:
On fifth-string QB Matt Morin (4 of 8 for 84 yards with a TD and interception)
“I thought he battled, he’s a competitive guy. It’s tough when a guy only gets snaps at quarterback for one week of practice. He
hasn’t played quarterback in five years, when in high school. He’s been taking snaps for a week and a half and he did alright.
Obviously, everything is kind of new to him. I’m not sure of what our quarterback is going forward, but we have at least two
weeks now to figure something out.”
On the attitude of team
“We’re 2-5, we’ve had some adversity. We can fix problems in recruiting and the other problems we can fix in the short term.
People’s opinions are people’s opinions. We’re not happy when we are not winning.”
On Khalil Tate’s performance (7 of 18 for only 58 yards with an interception)
“He’s not the nervous type. He seemed okay during the week and at the beginning of the game, but there are times when a 17-
year old freshman looks like a 17-year old freshman. He’s a competitive guy, but it was a challenge. They have some pretty
good dudes over there.”
Arizona senior defensive back Tellas Jones
On the weather
“It was hot, but everybody is playing in the same heat so that’s not an excuse. We’ve just need to play better, condition better
and we have to do a lot of things better than what we have been doing because obviously it’s not working.”
On USC’s productive passing game (22 of 35 for 254 yards and five touchdowns)
“I can take responsibility for some of that. I had two busted coverages. I just need to be better.”
OL Freddie Tagaloa (knee) and QB Anu Solomon (knee) — players who have started this season — did not play. Solomon,who did not travel to UCLA and Utah the last couple of weeks, was seen on the bench next to Tate providing instruction while wearing a headset communicating with coaches in the press box.
DT Parker Zellers played for the first time in three games with a brace on his left knee
LB Michael Barton and CB Jace Whittaker started for the second consecutive time. Paul Magloire Jr. returned to the starting lineup at linebacker. FS Jarvis McCall Jr. also started after coming off the bench against Utah last week.
FB Jamardre Cobb also saw action after sitting the previous five games with a knee injury.
• Senior wide receiver Nate Phillips finished with three catches for 39 yards with a long reception of 17 yards. Phillips now has at least one catch in 40 straight games, which is the fifth longest active streak in the nation. Phillips’ first catch of the game didn’t come until the third quarter when he hauled in the 17-yard pass from Tate. He is two shy of the school record of 42 held by Bobby Wade and Dennis Northcutt.
• Tate started at quarterback for the Wildcats and became the first true freshman to start at QB for Arizona since Willie Tuitama in 2005. That season, Tuitama came out of his potential redshirt on Oct. 22 against Oregon, then started the next
week in a 29-27 win at Oregon State on Oct. 29. Tate is the fifth true freshman to start for Arizona at quarterback since 1978, when the Wildcats joined what was then the Pac-10. The other true freshman starting QBs were Tom Tunnicliffe (in 1980), Ronald Veal (1987), Kris Heavner (2003) and Tuitama.
• Junior RB Nick Wilson had 47 yards on six carries Saturday. Wilson now has 2,424 career rushing yards. He passed Jim Upchurch and Keola Antolin on Arizona’s all-time rushing list and is now 10th all-time at Arizona. He’s 106 yards away from Clarence Farmer for ninth all-time in school history.
• WR Samajie Grant caught a fourth quarter touchdown from Morin, giving him 12 career touchdown receptions. He’s now tied with Rodney Williams for 14th all-time at Arizona. Grant is one behind current teammate Nate Phillips for 13th. Grant, a senior, has touchdown catches in three straight games for the first time in his career.
• With his three catches Saturday, Phillips now has 139 for his career. He passed Jon Horton, who he was tied with for ninth all-time at Arizona with 136 catches and now has ninth place all to himself. Phillips is now three catches behind Grant for eighth all-time.
• Arizona is now 43-20 at Arizona Stadium since the start of the 2007 season. Rodriguez is 22-9 at home in his Arizona career.
• Saturday’s outcome was the first Arizona-USC game to not be decided by eight or fewer points since 2006.
• Morin saw his first career action at quarterback. A tight end who began his career as a quarterback at San Diego State, Morin found WR Cam Denson, formerly of Salpointe, for a 51-yard gain on one play.
• Sophomore S Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles, another Tucson product, led Arizona with 11 tackles, establishing a new career high. Flannigan-Fowles’ previous best was nine stops against Grambling State earlier this year. Flannigan-Fowles leads the Wildcats with 43 total tackles this season.
• Sophomore CB Jace Whittaker had two pass breakups in Saturday’s game and now has 10 this season. That’s the most in a season by an Arizona defender since Jonathan McKnight had 13 in 2014. The team leader for the Wildcats in 2015 was Will Parks (now of the Denver Broncos) with seven. Michael Jolivette has the team record with 20 pass breakups in a season set in 2001.
• Freshman DE Finton Connolly picked up his second tackle-for-loss this season on Saturday. Connolly has three tackles this season with two of them going for a loss.
• Junior S Kwesi Mashack finished with a career high four tackles. His previous high was three earlier this year against Washington.
• Junior CB Dane Cruikshank tied his career high with eight tackles, which was set earlier this year against BYU. Cruikshank also had a pass breakup; his sixth of the season.
• Arizona rushed for more than 200 yards in a game for the 31st time under Rodriguez. Tate led the way with 72 yards and a touchdown. Wilson had 47 yards before leaving the game with discomfort in his ankle and Zach Green added 46.
• Junior OG Jacob Alsadek made his 30th career start Saturday; the most by any current Arizona offensive lineman. The current active leader in starts for the Wildcats overall is Grant, who made his 36th career start Saturday.
ARIZONA PLAYERS WHO RANK IN TOP 50 STATISTICALLY NATIONALLY
YARDS PER RECEPTION
SOLO TACKLES AVG.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.