There's Anu sheriff in town
Redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomn (12) throws a pass during Arizona’s season opening 58-13 victory against UNLV at Arizona Stadium on Friday. Solomon’s 425 passing yards
broke the freshman single-game passing yards record.
In his first game as an Arizona Wildcat, redshirt freshman quarterback Anu Solomon impressed his teammates, coaches, fans and even opposing supporters with his historic performance.
Solomon exited the game midway through the fourth quarter with the following stat line: 25-44 passing attempts, 425 passing yards, four passing touchdowns, 50 rushing yards on eight carries and 50,103 jaws wide open.
Not only did he set the freshman single-game passing yards record, he engineered the offense that obliterated the program’s single-game total offensive yards record that was set in 1969 against New Mexico.
The previous record was 691 total offensive yards, and Solomon orchestrated the new record of 787 total offensive yards on Friday.
Seemingly, one play led to another and that play led to a score.
And it’s just the first game of the season.
As the always-wise rapper Fabolous once said in his song “Diamonds,” “Now that’s what the fuck I call a chain reaction.”
In this explosive situation, there’s little doubt that Fabolous’ lyrics can be a forewarning for what the Pac-12 is looking to go against this season. Not only can the Wildcats run the ball, they can pass with the best in the nation.
Four of Arizona’s seven touchdowns came on the heels of plays of at least 39 yards, with the longest coming on a 92-yard touchdown reception from redshirt senior wide receiver Austin Hill.
For the rest of the season, even if Arizona is only half as prolific as it was against UNLV, it would still average just under 400 total yards per game. The scariest part about that is an average of 400 yards of total offense per game would be incredibly low for a Rich Rodriguez-coached team.
Last year’s team averaged just over 458 total yards of offense per game, and, apart from the departure of star running back Ka’Deem Carey, this offense is much more complete at the skill positions.
Leading the way amongst the offensive skill groups is a deep, varied group of receivers. Just against UNLV, 10 different players caught a pass.
However, that’s not even the most telling sign that the offense will continue to be explosive.
The play calling on Friday seemed eerily similar to something that would’ve been seen on last season’s run-heavy team, but generated significantly different results in the passing game.
The majority of the credit for that positive change can be attributed to solid reads from Solomon in his first career start. Despite several overthrown deep balls early, he rebounded nicely from that point on and, specifically, in the third quarter.
Solomon was 13-25 for 243 passing yards at the half and a tad bit inconsistent on some throws. However, he rebounded after the half and was 11-16 for 167 passing yards in the third quarter alone. He only had one passing touchdown in the third quarter but was responsible for leading Arizona on four scoring drives in the quarter.
To make matters even better, he did this all without committing a turnover of any capacity.
While it’s only the first game of the season, I can say with certainty that there’s a new sheriff in town, and his name is Anu.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseofPayne555