Arizona Football

Arizona Wildcats run over Colorado, survive Buffaloes’ threat



Nick Wilson had more open spaces to run in the second half (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Nick Wilson had more open spaces to run in the second half (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

The Arizona Wildcats looked for an answer against a threatening Colorado team, one that was hungry for its first Pac-12 win this year.

Instead of running scared, which they appeared to do in the first half, the Wildcats ran and hid — from the Buffaloes’ defensive front — deep into the secondary in the decisive second half of a 38-20 win at Arizona Stadium.

Nick Wilson and Terris Jones-Grigsby combined for only 38 yards rushing by halftime. Wilson came alive in the second half to finish with 153 yards on the ground, including bursts of 33 and 39 yards.

He became the leading freshman rusher in school history with 763 yards. Nic Grigsby held the previous mark of 704 in 2007.

“Nick is a physical guy who runs hard, runs downhill,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “At times we didn’t push the pile as well but he runs low to the ground and he brings it.”

Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon rushed for a career-high 115 yards on 12 carries.

The Wildcats gained 288 yards on the ground, their most since posting 353 in the season-opener against UNLV. They gained only 314 yards rushing in the three previous games.

The mobility of Solomon, who appeared to be favoring a sore right leg in the second half, and rushing for Wilson in the second half enabled Arizona’s receivers more space on scoring drives in the fourth quarter.

Arizona receiver Samajie Grant was the primary benefactor with two touchdown receptions of 27 and 20 yards in the fourth quarter. Grant finished with a team-high six receptions for 83 yards.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

[table “” not found /]

This week:
Cal at USC (Thurs.)
Utah at Stanford
Washington at Arizona
Arizona State at Oregon State


[ezcol_1half id=”” class=”” style=””]

“He’s a tough guy with some of those runs,” Rodriguez said, noting Solomon’s sore leg. “He made a big difference for us.”

Wilson appears to be back at full strength after nursing a sore ankle the last three weeks.

“It feels great to get my legs back under me,” Wilson told the Pac-12 Networks. “I just got to keep going, rehabbing and getting stronger. In the second half, we just went in and made adjustments to what they were scheming.”

As the Arizona offense awakened, so did an opportunistic defense, which produced four scores off of Colorado’s turnovers.

Arizona’s defense settled down after the Wildcats were burned for a 75-yard touchdown pass from Sefo Liufau to freshman Shay Fields on Colorado’s first possession.

“I’m proud of our defense,” said Rodriguez, whose defense has yielded only 37 points in the last two weeks against UCLA and Colorado. “They made the big plays when they had to make them.”

Arizona did not score defensively this season until Tra’Mayne Bondurant returned a 22-yard fumble for a touchdown in the first quarter to tie the game at 7.


[ezcol_1half_end id=”” class=”” style=””]

Compiled by
[table “” not found /]

[table “” not found /]


The other turnovers and end result:

Arizona bandit safety Jared Tevis stripped and recovered a fumble. Solomon connected with Tyrell Johnson on an 8-yard touchdown pass to put Arizona ahead 14-7 in the second quarter.

Liufau’s pass was intercepted by Jourdon Grandon late in the second quarter. Solomon completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to David Richards to put Arizona up for good 21-17 with 11 seconds left before halftime. It was Richards’ first touchdown reception of the season. He is the 10th different receiver to catch at touchdown pass this season.

Another Liufau pass was picked by Devin Holiday in the fourth quarter. Solomon completed the 27-yard touchdown pass to Grant to put Arizona ahead 31-20.

Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, the consecutive Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week, led the defense with 10 tackles, including two for lost yardage with a sack.

Tra'Mayne Bondurant celebrates his fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Tra’Mayne Bondurant celebrates his fumble recovery for a touchdown in the first quarter (Pac-12 Networks video capture)

Wright is tied for third in Arizona’s season sack list with 13. Tedy Bruschi holds the record with 19 in 1993. He has 20.5 tackles for lost yardage becoming only the fifth Arizona player to crack the 20-mark.

The others are defensive tackle Tom Nelson (school-record 29) in 1968, end Bill McKinley (20) in 1970, nose guard Rob Waldrop (22) in 1992 and Bruschi (27.5) in 1993.

Arizona is 7-2 overall and 4-2 in the Pac-12. One more victory, perhaps against visiting Washington next week, will allow Rodriguez to match his victory total (eight) in each of his first two seasons in Tucson.

The Wildcats are fourth in the Pac-12 standings behind ASU (5-1), USC (5-2) and UCLA (5-2).

“I told our team that the more you win, the more is at stake,” Rodriguez said. “There is a lot at stake the next three weeks.” publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

To Top