For a quarter, Arizona looked like the best team, um, in Arizona Stadium.
Then, um, the rest of the game happened. It couldn’t sustain any momentum after the first quarter because it couldn’t stop the Colorado Buffalos for the rest of the game.
Well, they slowed them down, but that was hardly enough given Colorado ran for more than 400 yards in Arizona’s 24-13 loss in Arizona Stadium.
“We made some adjustments at half time (that gave us a chance) but we still let a couple (of big runs) get out the gate in the fourth quarter,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said in a postgame Zoom with the media. “
That makes it 11 consecutive losses. What does senior defensive lineman Roy Lopez tell his teammates to stay up?
“I came from a school (New Mexico State) that doesn’t win a lot,” he said, “so I’m not saying I’m experienced at losing but I remind them to keep their heads up. Each play counts, each play matters. The young guys that might be frustrated between not making a play or not playing they have got to understand that it will be their time eventually. I just try to keep their head up.”
Understandably, it’s tough. It’s been that way since the first loss to USC, when it had it all but won save for USC’s final drive. Since then, it’s been lose (Washington), lose (UCLA), lose (Colorado).
Arizona found another way to on Saturday night, after leading 13-0 in what was its best quarter of the season. It followed that with probably its second-worst quarter (you don’t really need to see the Washington game to see).
Saturday night, Arizona had another chance, but it couldn’t score in the red zone and it couldn’t stop Colorado’s big plays.
“We were able to run in the middle of the field …. They brought a lot of pressure and we didn’t pick it up,” said Sumlin. “Obviously, we didn’t make plays down there.”
In fact, Arizona’s offense was turned away nine straight times, twice late when it was inside the 5-yard line.
Arizona has been allergic to the endzone all season inside the red zone.
“It’s frustrating,” said running back Gary Brightwell. “But you just have to execute.”
For the year, it’s been 11 red-zone visits with just four touchdowns.
And imagine, Arizona had was able to get three turnovers – its first of the season – and only come up with three points from it.
“Those are wasted opportunities in a game like that,” Sumlin said. “Any game.”
This wasn’t just any game. For the second straight game, some thought this would be the one that would break the losing streak. After all, Colorado was the last team UA beat last season (doesn’t it seem like a few years ago?). And, well to begin the season it was thought it would be either Arizona or Colorado fighting to stay out of the bottom of the Pac-12 South. Now, Colorado is a surprising 4-0 and Arizona is, um, a predictable 0-4.
“We’re still locked in,” Brightwell said of where the team is at. “We’re not backing down from nobody.”
Said Sumlin: “We’re playing with effort … Everybody in that locker room is down, but we’re certainly together.”
Now, it’s get ready for Arizona State on Friday. Arizona will be back at practice on Sunday to get ready.
“We’ll review (the game), make adjustments and move on,” Sumlin said.
It’s not clear if Grant Gunnell will be back for the game, Sumlin said, although it was clear to the team Gunnell wouldn’t play against Colorado given the team knew on Monday.
The team will move on, well, because it has no other choice.