By the same score as a season ago, the Arizona Wildcats blew out the UNLV Rebels, 58-13. Led by freshman quarterback Anu Solomon, the 'Cats broke the school record of yards gained by pounding 787 yards in their season opener.
For those that may not believe that history repeats itself, take a look at Exhibit A, a.k.a. the University of Arizona and their ownage of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.
It was Saturday, September 7, 2013, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when the Arizona Wildcats laid the hammer on UNLV in their own house by a final score of 58-13. Fast-forward to Friday, August 29, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona, and you guessed it, the ‘Cats blew out the Rebels again. Where things get interesting is on the scoreboard. The final from the Friday night mauling? 58-13 Arizona.
What does this mean, other than that Arizona is damn consistent when they step on the gridiron with UNLV? It means quite simply, that the offensive guru himself, Rich Rodriguez, is at work.
It took long enough to announce Anu Solomon as the starting quarterback, but not a single member of the fan base is disputing the decision now. Passing for an astounding 425 yards and four touchdowns (and no interceptions), the redshirt freshman from Las Vegas, gave Arizona fans a glimpse at what may be the future of Wildcats football.
The 6'2" dual threat option also pounded out 50 yards on the ground, to amass a whopping total of 475 yards for the game. Of course, with the ‘Cats breaking their school record for yards in a single game with 787, those kind of things will happen.
To think that even Rodriguez, Solomon and crew could ever pump out 800 yards against anyone in the Pac-12 is a bit of a stretch, but as a season opener, it gets no more impressive than that.
On the topic of impressive, Terris Jones-Grigsby is at the forefront. In a rushing attack that saw nine different players have at least a rushing attempt on Friday, Jones-Grigsby led the pack. Carrying it 13 times for 124 yards rushing, the senior from Long Beach, California, ran like a man possessed. Even in the second half, with the Wildcats firmly in control, Jones-Grigsby was running as if he had a point to prove. Although there have been whispers about a running back by committee in Tucson, Terris wants nothing to do with it.
Tearing off Arizona's longest rush of the night (it was not the longest play since Solomon would hit Austin Hill on a 92-yard pass) was another member of the cluttered backfield, Nick Wilson. On a simple, one-play, 85-yard drive, Wilson put the ‘Cats up by five scores and put himself over 100 yards rushing despite carrying the ball only seven times.
As UNLV quarterback Blake Decker found out, major Division-I college football is diametrically opposite from junior college. Although they were behind the entirety of the game, the Rebels simply have to help Decker in the running game in the future. Passing for over 250 yards and rushing for over 50, it was one-man show for UNLV-a situation they did not want.
Despite leading 24-6 at halftime, the ‘Cats ran away and hid with the lead in the second half. Junior kicker Casey Skowron would add three made field goals in what was an eventual blowout.
With less than a week to prepare for UTSA (University of Texas at San Antonio), the Wildcats will have to hope they saved some offense in the tank for their trip down to the Lone Star State. The game will take place on Thursday, September 4, at 8:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1, meaning it will be national televised.
In front of what should be a mass audience, Solomon and the rest of his offensive weapons will get to showcase their explosiveness ahead of the upcoming Pac-12 schedule.
It may just be Week 1, but Arizona has already established they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.