The Arizona Wildcats move to 2-0 on the season with their road win over the Nevada Wolf Pack 44-20 on Saturday from Reno. Here are five things we learned.
He’s baaaaaack: Nick Wilson had a couple nice runs but was not able to get things going in the opener against UTSA last week. This week was a different story. Wilson looked like the one who burst onto the scene as a freshman last season, tearing apart the Nevada defense. He cleared 100 yards with 2 scores in the first half alone, and finished the game with 194 yards and three touchdowns. It’s already his 8th career 100 yard rushing game.
Defense adjusts without Scooby: In the first half the Wildcat run defense was a big issue. With Scooby Wright out with a knee injury the ‘Cats defense struggled to contain Don Jackson for the Wolf Pack who got a majority of his 94 yards rushing on the night in the first half. Running to the right side or the middle was an issue for the leaky defense. The Wildcats ultimately made adjustments in the second half and did a nice job containing the run allowing them to pull away.
Keeping the QB on his toes: One thing that was consistent defensively from start to finnish was the pass rush, which was non existent against UTSA. Seniors Jeff Worthy and again Reggie Gilbert made Nevada Quarterback Tyler Stewart uneasy getting their first sacks of the season after none against the Roadrunners. One of which was a half a yard short of a safety. The defensive line is critical during the absence of Scooby Wright and the line, led by the two seniors, really stepped up.
Special Secondary: Of all the areas on both sides of the ball, the secondary finished a close second to the running game on offense in terms of the most impressive aspect of the Wildcats game. A notable improvement from last week as we saw a lot more of Davonte Neal, Sammy Morrison and Cam Denson in press coverage which contested many of Navada’s routine short throws. UA came up big on third down situations where Nevada’s high percentage throws simply weren’t there. Rich Rodriguez said after the UTSA game that his defense did not do a good enough job getting off the field. That was not the case this week as Nevada was six for 18 on third down and the secondary had a lot to do with that.
Caleb arrives in 2015: Caleb Jones had a breakout game against Nevada finishing with six catches for 103 yards. He made plays in a variety of situations. Down the field, quick slants to the middle of the field and quick screens to the outside. Jones had a quiet opener against UTSA though it did include a touchdown last week. This time around, he was targeted much more and took advantage. The deep receiving core of the Wildcats is well documented and many of them are capable of making big plays. When Jones is at his best, the Wildcats are at their best.
The Wildcats are back home next Saturday against Northern Arizona University.