Key stats from Arizona football's loss to Mississippi State

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Kohichiro Yamada | The Daily Wildcat

Wildcats Issaiah Johnson (left) and Roberto Miranda (right) have smiles on their faces before a game against Mississippi State University on Sept. 10, 2022 at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats would lose 39-17. 

3 Interceptions by de Laura

Jayden de Laura had a few interceptions Saturday at some very inopportune times to bring his total to four this year. The first pick against Mississippi State University set them up on Arizona’s 22-yard line, and it would only take them three plays to punch in the touchdown to give themselves the lead 12-7. 

He was picked off again in the third quarter followed by MSU immediately fumbling and giving the ball back to the Cats. Finally, trailing by only a score in the third quarter, de Laura was once again picked off at the MSU 30 after leading a drive from the Arizona 6-yard line. 

100+ rushing let up by Arizona defense

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A weak spot for the Wildcats two weeks into the season appears to be the run defense as they let up 100+ yards rushing to consecutive opponents. 

Last week at San Diego State University, the Aztecs had their way on the ground, racking up 170 rushing yards. Mississippi State followed that up with 122 rushing yards of their own, continuously finding big holes right up the center of the Arizona defensive line. Plugging up those holes could go a big way for our defense next week against North Dakota State University.

2 Takeaways for Arizona defense

Head coach Jedd Fisch said he wanted to improve in two specific areas this year: in the red zone and turning the ball over on the defense. The Wildcats turned the Bulldogs over two times on Saturday, with Treydan Stukes picking off MSU quarterback Will Rogers in the second quarter and defensive back Jaxen Turner forcing a fumble and returning it 47 yards to the MSU 4-yard line in the third quarter. 

Both turnovers would lead to an Arizona score, a field goal and a touchdown respectively. Last week they forced two turnovers at SDSU to bring their season total to four, only two games into the season. In all of 2021, the Wildcats were only able to force six turnovers.

MSU perfect in the red zone, Arizona only 1 for 2

Mississippi State made the most of the opportunities in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on all six of their trips inside the 20-yard line. Arizona was only able to reach the red zone twice all game, once after Turner returned a fumble to MSU territory which resulted in a touchdown. 

The only other trip to the red zone came with the game already well out of reach late in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats were unable to score, turning the ball over on downs. MSU also dominated the possession time in this one, 36:40 to Arizona’s 23:20. 


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