Arizona football midseason report card: Offense
Arizona is halfway done with its schedule and headed into a bye week, Here’s our midseason report – beginning with the offense.
Through the first half of the season, Arizona has been anything but a run-oriented team, as was expected under head coach Rich Rodriguez — and it’s all thanks to senior quarterback Matt Scott.
Scott is fourth in the nation with 386.8 total yards per game, second in completions and has 13 touchdowns to go along with seven picks. His dual threat ability has slowed down significantly since the Oregon game, but Scott still has the most rushing yards for a non-running back in the Pac-12 at 222.
Scott’s biggest mistakes this season have occurred late in games. In the final five minutes of regulation and overtime of close games — within a touchdown — the senior has struggled.
His completion percentage drops from its season average of 64 percent down to exactly 40 percent, going 6-for-15 with 55 yards.
While Scott has been the star this season, sophomore running back Ka’Deem Carey has flown under the radar.
Carey’s 112 average rushing yards per game places him 16th in the nation, and his 10 rushing touchdowns is the fourth overall. The young back has also shown an ability to catch the ball, hauling in 220 yards and another score.
If Carey keeps up his pace, he’ll finish with 1,340 yards and 20 touchdowns, placing him third in UA history in yardage and second all-time in touchdowns. If the Wildcats rebound and make a bowl game, Carey will have a shot at breaking Art Luppino’s 21-touchdown season, a record held since 1954.
Junior Daniel Jenkins only has 100 yards this season and half of his 24 carries came against South Carolina State. On his 12 attempts against FBS opponents, Jenkins only has 24 yards.
The receiving duo of Austin Hill and Dan Buckner has been efficient, with both currently in the top 20 nationally in yardage — Hill at No. 11 and Buckner at No. 19.
Both Hill and Buckner have been on the receiving end of more than 40 percent of Scott’s completions.
This unit is built on depth, as five other receivers have had at least one game of at least 50 yards. David Richards, Terrence Miller and Johnny Jackson all have games where they’ve shined, and Richard Morrison and Tyler Slavin have been constant contributors.
The latter two have also made a name for themselves with drops, though, including several in crucial situations. Actually, the receiving corps as a whole hasn’t had the most reliable hands this season.
It’s always tough to gauge the play of the offensive line during the course of a game, at least statistically. It’s been clear so far that the line’s improved from last season, but as a whole it’s been the weakest facet of the offense.
Matt Scott has been sacked 12 times this season, which is tied for the sixth most in the conference, making Arizona 82nd in the nation. The ground game also hasn’t been as consistent as expected, averaging just 4.7 yards per attempt, which is 46th overall.
Rodriguez has said several times this season the line needs to create more push, but with the way it’s been hit by injuries, it’ll be hard to improve.