Five years since Arizona football's last "White Out" and the 'Cats get ready to do it again
Arizona won 49-45 against Cal during UA footballs first white game and first Pac-12 conference game at Arizona Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2014. Cal took the lead in the first quarter and maintained that lead through all four quarters except the last second of the 4th quarter. Arizona redshirt senior Austin Hill (29) caught the ball in the end zone when the time clock hit 0:00.
Do you remember where you were on Sept. 20, 2014? If you’re an Arizona fan, then chances are you were probably at Arizona Stadium to see one of the wildest games in Pac-12 history or watching it on TV.
When Arizona took on University of California —Berkeley five years ago, most people expected a shootout — a back and forth game totaling near 100 points and well over 1,000 yards of offense. Well, that’s what happened, but getting there wasn’t the easiest thing for the Wildcats football team that eventually went on to win 10 games and make a New Year’s Eve bowl game.
Arizona was trailing 31-13 to Cal going into the fourth quarter in the first ever “white-out” game at Arizona Stadium. But that’s when everything changed. The Wildcats would go on to score 36 points in the final quarter, capped off by a 47-yard hail mary pass from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill just as time expired.
Solomon finished the game with 520 total passing yards and 5 touchdowns. That mark of 520 still stands as the most passing yards in a single game by an Arizona quarterback.
Why does all of this matter five years later? Because coming up this week, Arizona faces off against Texas Tech University, which plays a similar style of football as Cal did. It’s another September matchup and it’s another “White-Out.” Many of the same storylines heading into the game this weekend are similar to the ones five years ago, and Head Coach Kevin Sumlin talked about what makes Texas Tech so dangerous.
“They’re playing really well right now. Defensively, they’ve been a more complete front and they move around and have great speed,” Sumlin said. “And offensively, they have a quarterback who’s completing 71% of his passes and thrown 5 touchdowns and only one pick.”
Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman likes to throw the ball around the field. He threw for 2,638 yards last season, and in the two games he’s played in this year, he’s up to 696 passing yards. Bowman also likes to get that ball out to many different receivers.
Last game, Texas Tech had 12 different receivers make a catch and, at the game before, they had 11. Expect plenty of deep plays down the field against an Arizona secondary that gave up 41 points to NAU and also had no answer for Hawai’i’s Cedric Byrd II. When asked about his defense and their performance against NAU Sumlin said:
“You’ve got a little bit of everything [big mistakes and little mistakes] and it was a tale of two halves. We had some other guys out there, we got some starters but we had a communication problem. Communication between some players was an issue. We had some guys in and out of positions and some rotational problems.”
The game will be high scoring, fast-paced and has the potential to have a combined final score over 100, despite Texas Tech only giving up a combined 13 points in their first two games to Missouri State and University of Texas at El Paso. They’re facing a different offensive animal in Arizona that is No. 11 in the country, averaging 51.5 points per game this season.
Kickoff for the second ever “White- Out” game is set for 7:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium against Texas Tech, and the game will be aired live on ESPN.
Follow Jack Cooper on Twitter