Iowa hands UA humbling defeat
IOWA CITY — The Arizona football team had more than its fair share of chances, but in the end the Wildcats were their own worst enemy in a 27-17 loss to Iowa.
The game was perhaps best summed up by each squad's first possession. The Hawkeyes drove 75 yards in 10 plays on their first series of the game. Running back Adam Robinson capped off the scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Wildcats appeared discombobulated and had to punt after quarterback Matt Scott tripped on his own feet on a third-down play near midfield.
While Arizona kept the game close — at least as far as the scoreboard was concerned — until the start of the fourth quarter, in reality Iowa never looked back after its opening score. UA cornerback Trevin Wade scored on a 38-yard interception return midway through the first quarter, but that proved to be the high point for Arizona as it never found a rhythm on offense and was overpowered on defense during the lackluster effort in Iowa City.
""These guys (Iowa) are very, very efficient. They're bigger and they're faster than people want to give them credit for,"" said UA head coach Mike Stoops. ""… They're a very good football team. I think they're better once you play them in person.""
Running back Nic Grigsby was the lone bright spot for Arizona's offense as the junior gained 15 yards on 11 carries, but his efforts weren't enough to lead his team to a win. Grigsby had an electrifying 58-yard run, weaving from sideline to sideline after taking a hand-off up the middle. The Wildcats couldn't punch the ball across the goal line and settled for a field goal try. They wouldn't get close to scoring a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.
""That's the thing that you have to do when you go on the road and you play a good team. When you have 1st-and-goal from the one (yard line), you have to score a touchdown,"" said UA offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes. ""When you have receivers wide open you have to be able to protect and you have to be able to throw the ball to them and you have to be able to catch it.""
Not only did Arizona leave Iowa with a loss, but there could be a quarterback controversy on its way back to Tucson as well. Matt Scott was unimpressive as he regularly missed open receivers and was indecisive in the pocket. The sophomore quarterback was also picked off by Iowa safety Tyler Sash, who seemed like he was catching a lazy fly ball on the baseball diamond after Scott heaved up a long ball.
""We had a tough time doing a little bit of everything today. I had a couple of open passes that I missed and that kind of hurt us."" Scott said. ""… I couldn't tell you what it was. There were open passes, I've just got to hit them. We need to figure it out as a team and as an offense.""
Following that drive, Scott was yanked from the game and redshirt sophomore Nick Foles entered the game. But he didn't fare much better. In all, the Wildcats' gained 105 yards passing and 148 rushing. Scott finished the night completing 4-of-14 passes for 50 yards and gained 39 yards rushing on 7 carries. Foles ended the game completing 6-of-11 passes for 55 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats' defense didn't do the team many favors either. Outside of Wade's interception, the UA defensive unit seemed outmatched by a physical Iowa team. The Hawkeyes didn't dominate statistically, but they executed well and controlled the game's tempo throughout the contest. In all, Iowa gained 205 yards on 20-of-32 passing, rushed for 133 yards on 42 attempts and held the ball for 37:56 while completing 10-of-19 third downs.
""We gave up so many plays that we make every single day. Every play that we gave up we saw in practice,"" said Arizona defensive end Ricky Elmore. ""It's really frustrating when you prepare for it all week and then when you play in a game and you can't stop it.""
Arizona's goal heading into the weekend was to win on the road against a tough team, and possibly earn a national ranking in the process. But now, the Wildcats head back to Tucson licking their wounds before facing Oregon State next weekend in Corvallis, Ore.
""You could see (Iowa) was a physical football team, a very mature team and we feel short in some of those areas within looking at ourselves."" Stoops said. ""We're going to have to be much better when we go on the road next week to Oregon State.""