And just like that, did the Arizona Wildcats football team give you hope? Even a smidgen?
Maybe, maybe not. But that was not the team that lost to Northern Arizona just a week ago. That was a team that moved the ball; that looked determined to show progress.
And, well, it did despite the one-sided score.
But, it wasn’t exactly a one-sided game. Arizona, arguably, outplayed the No. 3 team in the country despite losing 41-19 in Eugene.
It has those in Eugene why the Ducks played down to their opponent. It has people in Arizona wondering where has that team been?
What does it all mean? Probably not a lot, given Arizona has now lost 16 consecutive games.
But, at this point Arizona is looking for bright spots. Any bright spots.
And as head coach jedd Fisch said “lot of good football that was played” on Saturday night.
Who would have thunk it?
It’s the best Arizona has looked through four games (heck more than a season), save for those five pesky interceptions by new starter Jordan McCloud. Still, he’s the one that helped Arizona move the ball consistently all game.
“Really excited and proud of the step forward that we took in a lot of areas, but one of the things that we talk about all the time is before you learn how to win, you have to keep from losing,” Fisch told reporters in Eugene after the game. “And when you turn the ball over five times and commit nine penalties that’s what’s gonna happen.”
It’s also a reason why McCloud will continue to be the starter moving forward.
“He has an ability, the more we were with him, the more he understood the system,” Fisch said. “The biggest concern I had going into the season was he only got here in training camp, and we didn’t have him in the spring like we had the other two … He just had the poise to keep on battling. He was never afraid to throw the football. I’m sure he’s very upset right now. And I hate that for him, but those things happen, and we’re going to grow from it and get better, but he’s our best player at that position and that’s why we played him.”
He and the rest of the Wildcats will have a week to get healed and rested before UCLA comes to town.
Again, there’s hope. Arizona may have finally – three-plus games in – found a quarterback and perhaps an offensive line that helps with a good running game. Saturday, the running game produced more than 200 yards in gains.
“Our guys are becoming more and more comfortable with the scheme and they’re becoming more and more comfortable with what we’re trying to get accomplished,” Fisch said. “The runners ran with a real sense of purpose. Sometimes with the run game, especially a zone running game, which we run, is you have to have a discipline. You have to discipline to press a block and cut back. You have to have a discipline to know when to bounce it (outside). And I feel like with reps and opportunities, they’re showing that they can get better at it.”