(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Wildcats continue to stall in red zone, get worse after half
Arizona’s 27-17 loss to Iowa crystallized two Wildcats trends from the opening win against Central Michigan.
After a shaky first quarter, which saw them gain 7 yards of total offense, the Wildcats seemed to gain their sea legs in the 2nd quarter.
After two incomplete, passes by Quarterback matt Scott, Nic Grigsby broke a 58-yard run to the Iowa 1-yard line.
But with a shortened field, the Wildcat front got bullied, and went backwards, settling for a field goal.
They would never get that close again.
On their next drive, The Wildcats began what looked like a promising march, which included consecutive 20+ yard completions from Matt Scott to David Douglas. However, the next 4 plays netted Arizona a paltry 9 yards, and ended in a disastrous fake field goal, with punter Keenan Crier getting stopped for no gain.
If you’re counting, that’s 15 plays, 119 yards of offense, two trips inside the 25, and 3 points.
In two games versus FBS opponents, Arizona has been inside the opposing 35 nine times. They’ve scored seven times, but only two touchdowns, and the last one coming when the game was salted away. That’s 1-8 when it counts. They have five field goals, and have come up empty on three occasions.
3rd Quarter sleepwalking
The Wildcats third quarter woes continued as well. They had six true rushes for 18 yards. Excluding sack and penalty yardage, they had 23 yards of total offense in the quarter. They key play was the interception by Scott. He threw into deep thirds coverage, ignoring Nic Grigsby, who had been left alone at the moment of the play fake, and sat in the flat all alone. Arizona trailed only 14-10 at that point.
The Wildcats two game 3rd quarter totals (excluding NAU): 135 yards, three points
The Wildcats have shown an ability to flip field position early in games. However, it hasn’t mattered much. Their offensive line is getting no push at the point of attack. Perhaps some throws to the flat are in order, to get their scat backs in space. The receivers are constantly bracketed because opposing linebackers are paying no attention to flats. This is an adjustment coaching staffs must make at the half, but the Wildcats can’t even get close to scoring after the third quarter. With Rob Gronkowski out for the season, Offensive Coordinator may look to the model of his old boss Mike Leach, spreading the ball around. They don’t have game breakers, and thus may need to use confusion.
Arizona’s next two games are at Oregon St, and at resurgent Washington.