Solomon shines in Arizona debut

August, 30, 2014
8/30/14
2:12
AM ET
The Anu Solomon era started with a bang for the Arizona Wildcats. After going scoreless on his first two possessions (chalk it up to early jitters and adrenaline) the redshirt freshman quarterback showed the strength, poise and athleticism that led Rich Rodriguez to name him the starter.

He closed his first career start completing 25-of-44 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns in Arizona's 58-13 win over UNLV.

Here's a five-play look at Solomon growing up on the job:

1. Look what I found

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His early "highlight" was probably recovering a Terris Jones-Grigsby fumble, which is actually sort of comical since he was outrunning the back. Not sure if he was looking for someone to block. It's almost as if he was surprised Jones-Grigsby was still on his feet. But there's something to be said for right place, right time.

2. On the board

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The first touchdown of his career came on Arizona's third drive, when Solomon placed a perfect ball for Nate Phillips on a 39-yard score. Nothing tricky here -- throw to the spot and let your receiver get underneath it. After overthrowing four balls on his first two possessions, he showed a little bit of touch in scoring Arizona's first touchdown of the season.

3. Second strike

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Touchdown No. 2 was a different kind of throw, but with the same result. The first pass (by design) had some air under it. Solomon's second touchdown, a 63-yarder to Samajie Grant, required a little more drive going over the middle. If his first score showed off his touch, No. 2 showed off his arm strength.

4. He's got legs

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If you want to play in Rich Rodriguez's offense, you also have to be able to run. Remember, last year BJ Denker rushed for 949 yards and 13 touchdowns. The year before that, Matt Scott had 506 yards with six scores. Solomon finished with 50 yards on the ground, including this 31-yard scramble in the second quarter. He saw the rush and the middle open up, and he reacted. Perhaps the best part? Two hands on the ball as he was getting hit. Coaches love that.

5. Supporting cast

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Arizona feels like it has the deepest, most talented group of wide receivers in the country. After his debut, Solomon might agree. His fourth touchdown of the game was a 16-yard slant to Austin Hill, who turned it into a 92-yard touchdown. Recall, Hill was a Biletnikoff semifinalist in 2012 but was sidelined all of 2013 with a knee injury. He showed off his strength and speed (and padded his QB's stats along the way).

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