UA football notches its second win of the season in convincing fashion

Arizona get a big win over Hawaii but has concerns heading into Pac-12 play

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Jesus Barrera and Jesus Barrera | The Daily Wildcat Arizona quarterback races toward the endzone during a game against the University of Hawaii on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Coming into Arizona Wildcats football game versus Hawaii, there were plenty of questions about the team. Perhaps one of them has been answered. The UA offense started Saturday night off with a bang, and continued to pile up points and yards as the 'Cats defeated the Rainbow Warriors, 47-28.

This was the offense fans expected to see when they show up to Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats were effective in all three aspects of the game.

The running game was explosive, the passing attack was accurate and efficient, and the defense applied pressure in ways Arizona fans have not seen since Scooby Wright III was roaming the field.

Quarterback Brandon Dawkins displayed the kind of athleticism and accuracy required from a signal caller for a Rich Rodriguez offense to look like the innovative system it was at West Virginia.

Dawkins finished the game by throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown, while running for another 118 yards and three scores.

Dawkins appeared to have a level of comfort and ease that was not present last week in his first career start against Grambling State. 

“I was a lot more comfortable," Dawkins said. "The more reps I take the better I get. you just have to take every rep and learn from it. I definitely did that a lot this week, going off last week’s game and I finally got to showcase a little bit.”

The other star of the night was freshman running back J.J. Taylor who totaled 18 carries for 168 and a touchdown on the night.

“He’s a tough, competitive player,” Rodriguez said, “He’s got a lot of shiftiness to him and truly is mature beyond his years.”

Saturday night was the most proficient Arizona’s offense had looked since 2014 when the Wildcats won 10 games and earned a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

This was the kind of game and result that fans were hoping for when Rodriguez was hired.

It was supposed to be high scoring, fast moving and entertaining. Last season was littered with injuries, but the 2016 season did not start the way fans hoped it would.

That all changed on Saturday as Dawkins led the Wildcats to a victory and did so in convincing fashion.

The Wildcats offense accumulated 582 yards, scored 47 points and had 28 first downs.

Even though the UA offense was successful and showed what it is capable of, the defense once again left something to be desired.

The UA defense pitched a near shut-out in the first half forcing the Hawaii offense to punt five times, notching an interception and allowed only one scoring drive.

The second half was a much different story as the Hawaii offense scored on three straight drives.

“I thought we did OK defensively in the first half,” Rodriguez said. “The second half was awful, the penalties were really embarrassing and we have to fix that.”

The Wildcats will have to find an answer to their defensive questions if they hope to be competitive the rest of the season.

The Wildcats head into Pac-12 Conference play with a record of 2-1 and will welcome the Washington Huskies next week, who are picked by many experts to not only win the Pac-12 championship, but also contend for the college football playoff.

Arizona will host Washington Sept. 25 at 7:45 p.m. at Arizona Stadium and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.


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