Where in the world does Arizona football go from here?
You already had a team battling fan apathy before the season and now this, a 45-38 loss to Hawaii deep into the night on Saturday.
Arizona had months to prepare for the season opener and that’s what they got, a lackluster, ill-prepared first quarter, mediocre second quarter and late rally? Oh, by the way, Arizona was an 11-point favorite.
As Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said in his postgame radio show his team was “inconsistent in all three (game) phases (offense, defense and special teams)” and that they did some “great things and did some awful things … and the result is losing on the road.”
That one yard quarterback Khalil Tate fell short at the goal line might as well have been a mile. As someone famously (someone up north) said, “you play to win the game” and Arizona didn’t have what it took to do that.
Surprisingly, not surprisingly. You’d think Arizona – a member of the Pac-12 – would have enough talent on any given day to beat a member of the Mountain West Conference, but not on this day/night.
Surprisingly, not surprisingly.
When Hawaii went up 14-0 early you knew it was going to be tough for Arizona. Tough but very likely it would find a way. When Arizona finally caught up in the second half, you figured it had found its way in paradise and had figured it out … then the defense collapsed again, and Hawaii took over – again.
That’s not good. Clearly, not a good sign for the future. And I’m not talking two weeks into the future but after the Northern Arizona game when Arizona faces Texas Tech, UCLA, Colorado and the rest.
Heck, fans – even the most loyal – were thinking this team would go 7-5 and to a bowl game. Now? It’s anyone’s guess.
And it’s anyone’s guess how many will show up for the NAU game in two weeks. Maybe 40,000? How about 35,000?
How can you Back the Cats after that debacle?
Arizona wasn’t prepared. It was even given – took? – six turnovers away from Hawaii and couldn’t muster a win. I’ll write that again: That’s six turnovers and still not win. That rarely happens.
“We didn’t capitalize on every turnover they gave us,” Sumlin said. “Consequently, we did some things – penalties and a couple of close calls that put us behind the chains offensively.”
Now, Arizona will be playing behind the rest of the season, even if it was just the first game.