Notebook: A wrap up of certain things that stood out in Arizonas win over UTEP
The Arizona Wildcats dismantled the UTEP Miners on Friday night in a 63-16 win to improve to a 2-1 record as they closed out non-conference play in El Paso.
Despite failing to score a point in the first quarter, Arizona went on to score 63 points in the remaining three quarters, including 49 in the second and third quarters combined.
A lot of criticism has been directed toward Arizona’s Brandon Dawkins over the last 13 days about his ability to play quarterback, but it appears he has silenced some of that criticism - at least for now.
Arizona struck gold with Dawkins’ performance against the Miners as the dual-threat quarterback completed 18-21 passes for 155 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 133 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
“Was it six?” Dawkins asked when a reporter relayed his final stats. Dawkins nodded and smiled,“It was fun.”
Dawkins made arguably his best throw of the season when he threw a 36 yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Shun Brown on a seam route to put the Wildcats up 14-0 early in the second quarter. From there the quarterback showcased why he deserved to be Arizona’s starting quarterback as he took full command of the offense.
“We were just executing, guys were getting open, and the throws were there,” Dawkins said.
A Special Run By Shun
Two weeks ago, Shun Brown had an electrifying 66 yard punt return for a touchdown versus NAU in the season opener, but he had a 63 yard touchdown return against UTEP that will be played on highlight reels for a long time.
Brown was making his way down the sideline during the return when he pulled out a spin move that could have been from a video game and completely fooled two incoming UTEP defenders. The touchdown return was nominated by Sportscenter to be one of its “Top 10 Plays” of the day.
Defense Continues to Make Plays
For the second straight week, Arizona’s defense came up with big plays and big stops. UA’s defense held UTEP to only 218 yards of total offense and allowed a measly 17 yards of rushing.
The defense also forced two turnovers including a interception by linebacker Colin Schooler and a fumble recovery from Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles.
A Pair of Firsts
Two Arizona Wildcats found themselves celebrating in the endzone for their first career touchdowns. Freshman tight end Bryce Wolma shed the narrative that Arizona doesn’t throw to tight ends as the 6 foot 3 receiver hauled in a team high six catches for 41 yards and touchdown.
Freshman running back Nathan Tilford got his first experience in Rich Rodriguez’s offense as the 206 pound tailback carried the ball 8 times for 37 yards and found the endzone, not once but twice on Friday night.
Arizona’s win in El Paso against the Miners is just the first Wildcat regular season victory on the road since Oct. 17, 2015 when they beat Colorado 38-31. The team also ends its non-conference schedule with a 2-1 record.
The Wildcats will play another Friday night game next week against Utah, only this time it will be in Tucson. Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. local time.
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