Dawkins shows different side in win over UTEP

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Heather Newberry and HEATHER_NEWBERRY | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona quaterback Brandon Dawkins (13) follows blocker Gerhard de Beer (67) towards the endzone to score a touchdown during the UA-UTEP game on Sept. 15 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.

EL PASO-- It’s not easy to play quarterback and certainly not when the expectations of a team are as low as they have been in Tucson. Brandon Dawkins has found out the hard way that the backup is always more praised than the starter.

Thrust into a starting role for a majority of 2016, Dawkins struggled to find his way. Unable to complete passes with consistent accuracy, he would shy away from throwing in favor of using his legs to make a play work. This year has been no different, with one exception seen on Friday when the Wildcats took on the UTEP Miners on the road in El Paso.

In the second quarter after a scramble and score by Dawkins he ran over to the sideline. Instead of a joyful look or smile, he looked quite the opposite, pissed off was more his demeanor. Whatever the cause of his aggravation, Dawkins seemed hell bent on proving his critics wrong.

Dawkins missed only three passes on the evening and tallied 155 yards in the air. That may not seem like much, but his passing was significantly better than it had been. On one play to Shun Brown, Dawkins can be seen looking at his primary and secondary receiver before looking off the safety and striking his fellow receiver for a 36 yard touchdown strike. His footwork was better and mechanics were more solid than they had been.

Dawkins is a threat in the running game, everyone has known that, but his determination on several runs was something UA fans hadn’t quite seen from the redshirt junior. It was a refreshing style of anger that fueled him to the end zone time after time. In total Dawkins would account for 6 touchdowns, three passing and three running. He ran for 133 yards on 14 carries and willed his team to its best performance of 2017, and just in time.

Pac-12 season is finally here and it will finally answer just how good this team can be. The fact is, we still don’t know. This is largely due to Dawkins, a quarterback that has at times shown brilliance and has also fallen flat on his face. If Friday was any glimpse at the future, you’d be hard pressed to at least have a sliver of optimism for UA football in 2017.


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