With all eyes on the battle for the starting quarterback spot, it was a punishing running game and a stout defense that stole the show for the UA football team Saturday night at Arizona Stadium.
During the last scrimmage of fall camp, sophomore Matt Scott started the night at quarterback but could only guide the team to one first down on his first two drives. Redshirt sophomore Nick Foles took his turn leading the offense and produced the scrimmage's first points.
Wide receiver William ""Bug"" Wright hauled in a 13-yard pass for a score to cap a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive and gave the crowd of roughly 5,000 something to cheer about. Following that drive, however, the UA defense showed it might be the strength of the team.
""I think we're defending well,"" said UA head coach Mike Stoops. ""You can see our skill and we understand the pass concepts pretty well, but we still have to be a better and more physical run defense.""
Just ask starting strong safety Robert Golden.
The sophomore was on the receiving end of a crushing hit from redshirt freshmen running back Greg Nwoko, who has been catching the attention of players and coaches throughout the fall. Nwoko, third on the depth chart at his position, broke free down the left sideline and bounced off Golden when Golden tried to make the tackle high. Cornerback Trevin Wade wouldn't make the same mistake and he went low on Nwoko, forcing the bruising 6-foot-2, 220-pound tailback out of bounds after a 36-yard gain.
""I love what our backs are doing,"" Stoops said. ""I think Greg Nwoko continues to shine and show what a physical runner he can be, we just need to keep giving him some reps.
""I feel really good about our running back position and the way we're running the football.""
In all, Nwoko had 54 yards on three rushing attempts to lead the UA ground game of 151 yards on 30 total carries.
The Wildcats' aerial attack wasn't close to being on that level of production.
Foles had the more efficient night as he completed 11-of-16 passes for 104 yards and one touchdown. He also had a 6-yard touchdown run.
Scott finished the scrimmage 9-of-19 for 85 yards and added 20 more on the ground on five carries
Part of the poor showing was due to numerous dropped passes by the wide receiving corps, but no signal caller separated himself from the competition on Saturday night.
In fact, the quarterback situation might have gotten even murkier as a result of the scrimmage. With Scott starting the night under center — and getting more reps for the first team players in practice throughout fall camp — it appeared as if he has a leg up on Foles for the starting job. But Stoops said he was more impressed with Foles' effort during the scrimmage and hasn't yet made a decision on who will be the No. 1 quarterback for Arizona's first game on Sept. 5 against Central Michigan.
The most consistent part of Saturday night's scrimmage was the play of the Wildcat defense, which limited the offense to 347 yards during the 75 plays of the night. Reserve linebackers junior college transfer C.J. Parish and redshirt freshman R.J. Young led the team in tackles with six and five, respectively, as the Wildcats' defense gave up 14 points on the night.
""Basically, we were just getting back into the mix of things really,"" said defensive back Corey Hall, who had one of three UA sacks on the night. ""It was real good to be out here one more time before September 5. We just got to hit it up and get our bodies ready because we know we've got a long season ahead.""