Arizona Football

Arizona-Colorado: Day-after thoughts

Samajie Grant did some good things vs. Colorado (Photo courtesy Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics)

Samajie Grant did some good things vs. Colorado (Photo courtesy Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics)

You know that Arizona Wildcats basketball pregame hype video, the one that ends with someone, usually coach Sean Miller, saying with conviction, “This is … Arizona.”

It feels like the football team had that moment, too, against Colorado very late Saturday night — of course it was late, duh, because that’s the only time Arizona football seems to play this season — when coach Rich Rodriguez was talking about how kickoff man Edgar Gastellum had suffered a concussion in practice.

RichRod became increasingly frustrated, agitated and animated as he talked about how Gastellum was out because he was hit in the head with a football.

“Didn’t have his helmet on. I don’t know what happened, maybe he wasn’t just paying attention,” Rodriguez said.

“It’s hard to believe. The ball hit him on the head; probably can happen to all of us. Somehow, it caused a concussion and he can’t kick. That’s a first, too. That’s a first. I mean, are you kidding me? A kicker has a concussion. … Wow. You can’t make this stuff up. I mean, I wish I was.”

This is … Arizona football.

Game in a ‘graph

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau passed for three touchdowns and Phillip Lindsay ran for three as the 12th-ranked Buffaloes scored 28 unanswered points in the middle of the game and sent Arizona to its seventh consecutive loss, winning 49-24.

Arizona player of the game: RB Samajie Grant

In only his third game at the position after moving from receiver, the senior remains the standard for playing hard, rushing 16 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns. He had a 45-yard burst and scored his first touchdown when he hurdled a would-be tackler at the line of scrimmage before finding the end zone on a 2-yard run.

“He’s really played well,” Rodriguez said. “Boy, he’s a competitive guy.”

Ugly stat, Part I

Arizona combined to complete 12 of 26 passes, its FOURTH consecutive game with less than 50 percent accuracy. And this from an offense that should feature quick-strike passing and completion percentages in the 60 to 65 percent range.

Brandon Dawkins was 9 of 19. Anu Solomon was 3 of 7 after taking over late in the third quarter.

“Brandon was running the ball well, but throwing the ball … some of the protection was breaking down,” Rodriguez said. “Anu went in and did some good stuff. I may start him this week.”

The Cats are 37 of 95 passing (38.9 percent) in the past four games, a combination of Dawkins, Solomon and Khalil Tate.

Rodriguez added that he would have to watch the film to make a further determination if Solomon would get his first start since the season-opener.

Ugly stat, Part II

Health matters. Colorado, in its surprising season, has had 18 players start every game, or all but one game. Arizona has had 10.

Ugly stat, Part III

Arizona has lost seven consecutive games, its longest streak since 2004, when first-year coach Mike Stoops was beginning to shovel out from the wreckage of the John Mackovic era.

Ugly stats, all of them

The NCAA tracks 25 team stats on its website. Arizona ranks 100th or worse in 17 of them. (There are 128 FBS programs.)

By popular demand, here they are:

100 — passing offense (187.2 yards per game)
102 — punt returns (4.73 yards per attempt)
105 — fewest penalty yards per game (63.8)
109 — passing yards allowed (266.5 per game)
111 — passing efficiency (115.94 rating)
112 — total defense (466.5 yards allowed per game)
113 — scoring (22.4 points per game)
114 — third-down conversion percentage (33.6)
116 — first downs, defense (245)
117t — scoring defense (38.3 points per game)
117 — passing efficiency defense (148.75 rating)
117 — turnover margin (minus-0.8 per game)
118 — red zone offense (74.2 percent conversion)
118 — time of possessions (26:09 per game)
122 — kick returns (17.3 yards per attempt)
123 — fourth-down conversion percentage (26.7)
124 — third-down conversion percentage defense (50.3)

Attendance matters

The announced crowd was 41,068, which is bad enough, but even worse when … uh … half didn’t show up and you could count the stalwarts by hand at the end of the game.

The game as a Sinatra song

Quote to note

“If anybody needs to be motivated, they probably shouldn’t be on the team. You play this sport to win games. But, obviously if you get dealt a bad hand, you have to keep rolling with the dice and just keep it going.” — QB Brandon Dawkins

What’s next?

Arizona plays at Oregon State in a game that will kickoff at 8:30 p.m. Tucson time. The Beavers are 2-8 overall, 1-6 in the Pac-12, and and have lost five in a row. Yes, I’m saying there’s a chance.

With the ASU game already set for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff on Friday, Nov. 25, that means 10 of the Wildcats’ 12 games this season will have started at 7:30 p.m. or later.

Things change

Colorado will move on this week to play host to Washington State in a battle of Pac-12 division leaders. That is officially the strangest sentence I have typed this season.


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