Arizona Football: Five Takeaways in the Wildcats’ big win

TUCSON, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 14: Running back Darrius Smith #20 of the Arizona Wildcats rushes the football against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half of the NCAAF game at Arizona Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
TUCSON, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 14: Running back Darrius Smith #20 of the Arizona Wildcats rushes the football against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half of the NCAAF game at Arizona Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

TUCSON, AZ – It’s been almost a whole day since Arizona Football scored a huge win over Texas Tech, and here’s five key takeaways from that win!

It was a great day for Arizona Football last night, and waking up today, it’s an even better day as Wildcats fans, with Arizona coming up with a big win over Texas Tech!

Can’t say I saw this kind of a game coming from the Wildcats, but nonetheless I don’t think I’m alone here in saying I am thrilled with the win, and pleasantly surprised at how well they played.

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Arizona Wildcats

But with the game finishing over 12 hours ago, here are some of the biggest takeaways from the win!

1. The Defense played to their potential

Through the first two games, Arizona didn’t look too great defensively, and there have been plenty of calls (including from myself) for a change of leadership at defensive coordinator.

However, last night Arizona looked focused, hungry and more importantly like a group we had all expected coming into the season.

So do we finally have a defense worthy of competing in bigger games? Who knows, as it’s still too early to say, but the Wildcats were able to find success, and last night was a great result as it showed just how much potential this group has or could have!

Coming in, many were anticipating a shootout, and senior safety Tristan Cooper tried to warn fans that a win was coming. They certainly didn’t disappoint!

For 40 minutes, the Wildcats looked great! They held Texas Tech to just 411 yards and 14 points, while forcing two turnovers.

It’s hard to say if the Wildcats will continue to see this kind of success, but last night they showed their potential, and should they continue to play with this much effort and intensity, look out!

2. Arizona might have the best running backs in the Pac-12

This observation shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but Arizona may be the best rushing team in the Pac-12 again this year, and it starts with the talented corp of players they have in the backfield.

Last night, Arizona dominated not only the time of possession 34:52 to 25:08, but also the line of scrimmage en route to the 28-14 win in which the Wildcats out-rushed the Red Raiders 314 yards to just 104.

In the process, the Wildcats used four different running backs, showing off their amazing talent and overall depth!

When J.J. Taylor was pulled from the game for being “nicked up”, Gary Brightwell came in to pick up the slack, showing what he does best, and that’s being a very reliable back to carry a significant load.

Brightwell finished the day with 21 carries for 85 yards and two touchdowns! Additionally, Bam Smith had one heck of a game, finishing with 63 yards on nine carries.

3. The Zona Zoo showed up AND STAYED!

For the second straight home game, the Zona Zoo showed up! Who would have thought that in a game against a Power Five team, it would be the Zona Zoo that would be carrying the fans!

In the 28-14 win, last nights attendance was rather disappointing, with just 37,207 fans showing up. So why the disappointing attendance?

Well, the weather certainly wasn’t an issue, nor could it be attributed to a late of a kick off as the game against NAU was even hotter, later and Arizona still saw 40,741 fans.

However, one of the bright spots from the game was that the Zoo was packed, rocking and they stayed throughout the whole game!

I understand it’s not easy to get students to stay, but the Zona Zoo showed up last night in a big way, and it definitely helped!

4. Lorenzo Burns played his best game 

Generally targeted the most by opposing quarterbacks, redshirt junior cornerback Lorenzo Burns had a tall order ahead of him playing against Texas Tech last night, and he certainly answered to the call, perhaps playing his best game as a Wildcat!

Granted the Red Raiders still threw for over 300 yards, however, it was Burns who was one of the major standouts in my opinion. When Arizona needed him, he turned in one heck of a performance, totaling six tackles (three solo), with three pass deflections and an interception.

And so far, he’s having a solid start to the 2019 season! Through three games, Burns has 13 tackles (10 solo), with two interceptions and two pass breakups.

Should he continue to play this well, he’s going to really help shore up that secondary!

5. Khalil Tate is still an electric player

In 2018, we all wondered where the 2017 version of Khalil Tate went, and so far through 2019, we’re seeing a bit of his former self. Last night wasn’t the greatest passing performance, but he still did enough there to help the Cats win, make a couple big throws!

However, what stood out was his tremendous athleticism, where he again showed off his speed, and reminded folks that he is one of the most exciting players in college football!

Tate finished the day with 185 yards with a touchdown to two interceptions on 14 of 23 passing! What really stole the show was his running, where he finished the day with 129 yards rushing on 17 carries with an 84-yard touchdown run!

When Arizona needed a big play, he delivered, and he was a big reason the Wildcats were able to knock off the Red Raiders last night!

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Anyways, these are just a few things that stuck out to me from last nights game! What were some of your observations? As always, Bear Down, Arizona!