Arizona-Washington: Five Things We Learned This Week

Tom PhillipsCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2009

1. Arizona Has Red Zone Issues

The Wildcats were in the red zone eight times. They scored three touchdowns and four field goals.

When the Wildcats ran it inside the 10, they got stuffed. When they tried to throw it, the Huskies had the coverage to shut down the pass.

It was a game of cat-and-mouse all night. Outside the red zone, Arizona was the cat and Washington was the mouse. Inside the red zone, the roles were reversed. Washington became a different defensive team inside the 20-yard line. They came with more energy, more focus, and more urgency than the Wildcats did.

The play-calling was questionable in the red zone for Arizona's offense. It seemed that Washington knew exactly what play the Wildcats were running before they snapped the ball.

If the Cats are going to take the next step, they have to capitalize on these situations. If they want to let teams hang around so they can lose at the end of the game then they should keep calling plays that lead to field goals.


2. Arizona's Running Game: Grounded

After averaging over 200 yards a game and leading the Pac-10 in rushing, the Wildcats were held to 77 yards in Seattle.

This was without the Wildcats' top two running backs, Nic Grigsby and Keola Antolin. Both played, but lingering injury issues caused them to be sidelined.

Greg Nwoko was very ineffective at running back, minus the touchdown run, as teams finally have game tape on him and know they have to wrap him up.

Nwoko has a bright future in the program but will have some growing pains, as all freshman do. He is very good as a receiver out of the backfield but most learn to become a more effective runner.


3. When In Doubt, Screen It Out

With the running game mostly ineffective against Washington, Arizona decided to use the quick wide receiver screen as their running game.

For most of the night it was very effective, with Arizona using it back-to-back on multiple occasions. In the final quarter, it seemed to be the only play that they were running.

Only two players averaged over 13 yards a catch, but neither of those players had more than two catches. This shows how much that Arizona relies on the short pass to get down the field and utilizes it as part of the running game.

Unfortunately for the Cats, it also led to the game-winning score for the Huskies.


4. David Roberts Has Become Foles' Go-To Guy

Roberts has gone from being an afterthought sixth or seventh receiver on this team to becoming the guy who Foles has the most faith in throwing to.

Roberts had 12 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. In the Washington game, he matched his career receptions and passed his career receiving yardage while getting into the endzone for the first time in his career. A pretty big night for the sophomore.

Over the past two games he has lead the teams in receptions (17) and yardage (190). No other receiver has more than eight catches in these games.

Foles happened to have started and played well in both these games. Coincidence? I think not.


5. The Interception Off The Foot Is Not To Blame

You knew it was going to come up, so say it with me, Wildcats fans. The interception off the foot is not the reason Arizona lost.

The overturned fumble call. The missed sack when Locker ran for the touchdown. 4th-and-three inches. Four field goals in the red zone. The interception off the foot.

The blame can go to any number of things, but when it all comes down to it, Arizona didn't execute when it needed to.

If Arizona is going to be a team that turns the corner then they are going to need to learn how to close out games. They got a taste of this last week against Oregon State.

Arizona was up 12 with three minutes left, they should have won this game but they let it slip away.



— The kickoff game has to be addressed. Alex Zendejas' kicks are landing between the 20 and ten-yard lines. Most kickers can get the ball between the ten and the goal line. This is giving the other teams great field position when they are returning the ball.

— Despite only giving up one sack, the offensive line looked overmatched. Washington was able to get a lot of pressure on Foles. They did a good job of stopping the running game and making it ineffective.