5 important stats from Arizona's home opener against NAU
Arizona football defeated the NAU Lumberjacks in the home opener of the 2019 season. Here are 5 crucial stats from tonight's matchup:
Arizona football scored a program-high 51 points in the first half of the home opener against the Lumberjacks. In the first thirty minutes of play, the Wildcats scored 6 touchdowns, with 21 points in the first quarter and 30 in the second to close out the half. The Lumberjacks were only able to score 13 in the first half.
After the first thirty minutes of play, the Wildcats had a total of 517 yards from a combined 257 rushing yards and 260 passing yards. Quarterback Khalil Tate threw for 142 yards before being subbed out for 6-foot-6-inch freshman phenom Grant Gunnell, who threw for 118 yards in the first half.
J.J. Taylor rushed for a team-high of 102 yards in the first thirty minutes of play. Gary Brightwell tailed right behind Taylor at 98 yards in the first half after an impressive 94-yard touchdown run during the first quarter.
Arizona had a total of 11 penalties compared to the Lumberjacks' 4 after four quarters of action. The Wildcats' penalties resulted in 127 yards against Arizona, which definitely contributed to NAU's 41 points on the night.
"We got to get better and we're going to... You shoot yourself in the foot when you do that to yourself... We're gonna stress it upon each other," said redshirt senior cornerback Jace Whittaker on Arizona's defense and the team's 11 penalties.
Arizona running back and junior Gary Brightwell ran in a 94-yard touchdown halfway through the first quarter to give Arizona its third touchdown of the night and a 21-0 lead very early in the game. Brightwell's 94-yard run is tied for the second-longest recorded in UA history.
"I saw the hole and I took it. I just did everything we practiced on," said Brightwell tersely.
Arizona defense had some trouble stopping NAU's passing game, as the Lumberjacks were able to rack in 373 passing yards compared to their measly 69 rushing yards. NAU was held to negative rushing yards for the majority of the game but pulled its rushing game together during the fourth quarter.
Arizona's defense needs to find a way to stop the passing game before heading into next Saturday's game against Texas Tech at home.
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