Saturday, September 4, 2010
Arizona: What questions on defense?
By ESPN.com staff
It's now clear: Arizona's game with Iowa is going to be a big one.
The Wildcats went on the road and outclassed Toledo 41-2 Friday night, outgaining the Rockets 518 yards to 183.
Nick Foles, Juron Criner and Nic Grigsby were the story for the offense. Foles completed 32 of 37 passes -- 86 percent -- for 360 yards. He threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for another score. His lone interception came when the ball bounced off running back Taimi Tutogi's hands.
Foles was completely in control. After Matt Barkley through five touchdown passes for USC, it's already looking like a mad dash for first-team All-Pac-10 at quarterback.
Criner caught 11 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, while Grigsby's 36-yard touchdown run was the highlight on the ground.
But the dominant defensive performance was perhaps even more impressive.
With seven new starters -- including all three linebackers -- the Wildcats were in completely control of the Rockets formerly potent spread offense, which was tops in the MAC last year.
Coach Mike Stoops lost both his coordinators in the offseason and replaced them with co-coordinators. It appears the four-coordinator system is working, at least based on the opener. Other than a lull in the first half when things looked as if they'd be competitive, the Wildcats had a well-conceived plan -- and made good adjustments -- on both sides of the ball.
The Wildcats play The Citadel next weekend. On Sept. 18, No. 9 Iowa comes to town.
A Rose Bowl preview? The way the Wildcats looked Friday night ... maybe.
Here's Ryan Finley's take: Yes, the defense was a bit of a surprise.