The Arizona Wildcats improved to 2-0 with a 58-13 win over the UNLV Rebels Saturday. Here’s a report card from yesterday’s game:
Yes, B.J. Denker can run. But can he throw? Not so much. The senior continues to show his impressive speed, as he produced his second 30-plus yard touchdown run of the season. However, with a more open playbook, Denker looked nervous in the pocket, completing less than 50 percent of his passes for less than 100 yards and getting sacked twice. He also fumbled once. Backup Javelle Allen played in garbage time, rushing the ball twice for one yard without attempting a pass.
Running Backs: A
The backfield continues to show its depth as four players combined to rush for 336 yards on 50 carries with three touchdowns. Ka’deem Carey led the way with 171 yards and two touchdowns, while Daniel Jenkins and Jared Baker rushed for 82 and 66 yards, respectively. Kylan Butler added 17 yards and a touchdown.
Wide Receivers: B
It’s not their fault that the quarterback couldn’t get them the ball. Nate Phillips had three catches for 35 yards, Garic Wharton had two catches for 17 yards and Samajie Grant and Johnny Jackson caught one pass each.
Offensive Line: B
It was a pretty average game for the Wildcats’ offensive line. While they paved the way for 397 rushing yards, they did allow seven tackles for loss. Two of those tackles for loss were sacks, but they were more as a result of Denker’s inability to get rid of the football. They also went their second-straight game without a holding penalty.
Defensive Line: B
It was another impressive game for the Wildcats’ biggest weakness from a year ago. Starters Reggie Gilbert, Tevin Hood and Sione Tuihalamaka combined for nine tackles (two for loss) and one forced fumble. They also showed their depth, as Justin Washington, Kirifi Taula and Dwight Melvin combined for five tackles (one for loss).
The trio of Scooby Wright, Jake Fischer and Marquis Flowers is starting to look like one of the better linebacker corps in the conference. Wright led the team with seven tackles, Fischer returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and Flowers recovered a fumble and returned it 36 yards to UNLV’s 9-yard line.
If there was one weakness on the Wildcats’ defense, it was the cornerbacks. While the defense only allowed 125 passing yards, 69 of those came on a touchdown pass to Devante Davis. They also only recorded one pass breakup.
Tra’mayne Bondurant is playing on another level right now. The junior recorded his third interception in two games, returning it for his second defensive touchdown of the season. He also added four tackles, one of which was a sack, and now has more touchdowns than the Arizona passing offense. Jared Tevis added four tackles.
Special Teams: B
It was a much better game for the Arizona special teams. Jake Smith made 3-of-4 field goals and all seven of his extra points, setting a single-game points record for an Arizona kicker with 16. He made kicks of 41, 29 and 30 yards, while missing a 39-yard attempt. Johnny Jackson handled punt return duties, muffing one, but returning five for 59 yards.
Rich Rodriguez showed a lot more of his playbook, but the Wildcats still ran the ball 68 times compared to 21 pass attempts. Rodriguez is going to have to figure out a way to establish the passing game if the Wildcats want to see continued offensive success.
Previous Report Cards: NAU
Topics: 2013 Football Report Cards, Arizona Wildcats, B.J. Denker, Daniel Jenkins, Dwight Melvin, Follow, Garic Wharton, Index, Jake Fischer, Jake Smith, Jared Baker, Jared Tevis, Javelle Allen, Johnny Jackson, Justin Washington, Ka'deem Carey, Kirifi Taula, Kylan Butler, Marquis Flowers, Nate Phillips, Reggie Gilbert, Rich Rodriguez, Samajie Grant, Scooby Wright, Sione Tuihalamaka, Tevin Hood