In a matter of moments – minutes, in fact – all the goodwill Arizona gained in a close loss to USC last week was wiped away against Washington on Saturday night.
Didn’t last week give you hope? Even a smidge?
Then came Saturday night. Yikes!
Washington’s dominance put an end to all of that. From its first score early in the first quarter to its last score in the fourth quarter (to make it 44-6), Arizona was never really in the game. Surely, the 44-27 Washington win wasn’t even that close for Arizona, now on a school record nine-game losing streak.
Nothing seemingly worked … save for a fourth quarter that helped make the game respectable (such that it was).
When asked if he was surprised given how competitive Arizona was last week, Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said, “Of course.”
As he should, although it’s still a big debate just how good – or whatever word is appropriate – USC really is.
“There’s no doubt this is a good football team we played tonight,” Sumlin said of Washington. “It’s disappointing (how UA played).”
Again, it wasn’t even close – forget the score. Just 3:33 into the game and UW was, well, off and running – well, passing. Washington threw a curve at UA early by passing more than running – and just blew up UA’s defensive game plan.
From there, Arizona never had a chance. So much for last week’s over performance on defense.
“We thought they’d change it up a little bit, because they wanted to run first,” said Jalen Harris. “They probably knew we’d be preparing for that. … We just got to do our job.”
No matter what Arizona tried it didn’t work. Eventually it couldn’t stop the pass or the run in what proved to be the deciding factor in the game: UW’s dominating first half. UW had a 24-0 lead, later stretching it to 37-0 by the end of the third quarter.
It didn’t sit well with UA quarterback Grant Gunnell, given he was seen on the sidelines frustrated with UA’s situation. Heck, who wouldn’t be?
“We were expecting to win,” said Gunnell, when asked what UA was expecting going in. “We don’t want to lose. We’re expecting to win. Thought we were going to win.”
Again, that went out the door early.
Washington made Arizona look like the team the media thought it would be at the end of the season: the last-place team in the Pac-12 South.
And that’s both on offense and defense would have to find its footing. It took three quarters on Saturday.
For some – if not most – of the night, Gunnell was concerned more with UW’s defensive line closing in on him than moving the ball forward. UW made it tough on Gunnell, save for the final 15 minutes, but by that time it was long over.
Stalled drives were routine. Defensive stops were not.
So, here Arizona is, losers of nine straight. Only Kansas has a longer losing streak … two basketball programs with mediocre football programs.
“I don’t think I’ve ever lost two games in a season,” Gunnell said. “We’re doing everything we can. We’re pushing. I’m telling you we’re going to win. It’s going to happen. We’re going to click.”
Tick, tick, Tick.