Oct. 23, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin ran for two touchdowns apiece, Matt Scott had no trouble replacing Nick Foles and No. 15 Arizona easily handled up-and-down Washington 44-14 Saturday night.
Arizona (6-1, 3-1 Pac-10) overcame occasionally poor tackling with a balanced offense and by harassing Jake Locker into an ineffective game.
Scott held his own after Foles went down with a knee injury last week against Washington State and looked like he was the starter all along against the other Evergreen State school. He threw for 233 yards and two touchdowns, including a fumble-the-snap, 21-yard heave to Juron Criner in the fourth quarter, and added 65 yards on seven carries.
Washington (3-4, 2-2) continued its season-long, win-one, lose-one pattern, following last week's thrilling double-overtime victory over then-No. 24 Oregon State with a defensive clunker.
Locker finished 17 of 29 for 183 yards with a touchdown and lost 24 yards on six carries before being replaced by Keith Price early in the fourth quarter.
Antolin finished with 114 yards on 14 carries and Criner caught eight passes for 108 yards to give Arizona its best start since opening the 1998 season 6-1.
The Wildcats had hoped to be on better footing than last year's game at Washington.
Arizona lost what's now known as the "Shoe" game in Seattle when Mason Foster returned an interception 37 yards for the go-ahead touchdown after the ball caromed off the size 14 1/2 cleat of Arizona's Delashaun Dean. The Wildcats disputed the call - Dean said it hit the ground - but were kicking themselves more for being in position to cough up a 12-point lead in the final four minutes.
Arizona made sure it didn't get tripped up by a close call this time by steamrolling Washington's noodle-strainer defense - 199 points the past five games - for 467 total yards.
The only question mark came early; Taimi Tutogi fumbled on Arizona's opening drive and Locker marched the Huskies for a quick score, rolling left and throwing across his body for a drop-it-in-there 26-yard touchdown to Jermaine Kearse in the corner of the endzone.
After that, all Arizona almost all the time.
Led by Scott, the Wildcats carved up Washington's 98th-ranked defense, piling up 356 total yards on their way to a 30-14 halftime lead.
Scott looked a lot like Locker on Arizona's first score, rolling left and throwing across his body for a 17-yard touchdown to David Roberts. He then led the Wildcats to a 29-yard field goal by Alex Zendejas and set up Antolin's first TD, a 1-yard dive left, with a 32-yard rumble on an option.
Locker tried to rally the Huskies by setting up Chris Polk's 7-yard touchdown run, but the defense parted on the next play, allowing Antolin to burst up the middle for a 78-yard touchdown.
The Wildcats still weren't done.
Quick Takes: Players Post-Game
Grigsby capped the first half with a 4-yard touchdown run and opened the second with another after Ricky Elmore stripped Locker and the Wildcats recovered.
Scott added a put-it-out-of-reach scoring pass early in the fourth quarter, dropping the snap out of the shotgun and firing a TD strike to Criner just before being laid out on a roughing the passer call.
The starter over Foles the first three games of 2009, Scott finished an efficient 18 of 22 and gave Arizona a confidence boost if Foles isn't ready to play next week at UCLA.
Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops' Post-Game:
"This certainly was a good overall team win for us. We had a great week of preparation. We challenged the offensive line to be more physical, to protect the quarterback better. Everyone really responded positively this week. They knew they wanted to do a better job this week, and we were a lot more diversified. Matt Scott did an outstanding job, going 18-for-22. We've had a ridiculous throwing percentage for this time of the season. I give a lot of credit to him, our offensive line, and the coaching staff. They all did very well in getting prepared for this game tonight. I'm pleased to see that Matt responded well on the field, even with the loss of his position."
"The defensive had a very hard week of preparation. Locker and Washington run some very unorthodox plays, and we positioned ourselves well on the defense. It's very lethal to have a group that rushes the quarterback, and we were able to get through and make it uncomfortable for Washington to run the plays that they wanted to run."
"Matt was not very skittish going into tonight. He was ready, focused, and well prepared for the game. I'm sure he was a little antsy come kickoff, but it did not show. We got off to a good start tonight, and that's very important."
"Giving Matt this experience keeps our options open. Nick (Foles) is close, but he's not quite ready yet. Having them both get quality game experience gives us another dimension that we really need. I told Matt to be yourself, and to use your instincts, and he did exactly that for us tonight."
"Nick did dress, and he did want to warm up, but he was not going to be an option for us."
"Having the quarterback run is important for our numbers, and it's a great threat to have someone like Matt with that ability."
"We challenged the receivers better, and the (pass) rush was a big plus for us. We pressured more on third down, and we did miss some coverage early, but our rush was a lot more effective tonight. We played better on offense tonight, and we were a lot more balanced, which is encouraging. For defense, when you play six or seven games, you start developing a characteristic. As we move to the later part of the season, it's going to come down to some critical defensive stops, like it did tonight.