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Jayden de Laura's 6 touchdown passes lead Arizona past Colorado

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Nathanial Stenchever | The Daily Wildcat

Jayden de Laura, sophomore quarterback on the Arizona football team, takes a snap from the shotgun formation in a game against Pac-12 opponent University of Colorado Boulder at Arizona Stadium on Oct. 1. The Wildcats would beat Colorado 43-20, extending their record to 3-2 on the season. 

The Arizona football team played host to the University of Colorado, Boulder in their Pac-12 home opener in Tucson on Saturday night.

The Buffs (0-5) came into the game at the bottom and looking up at the rest of the Pac-12. Arizona (3-2) took care of business against Colorado as sophomore quarterback Jayden de Laura threw for 273 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half alone. He finished the game with 484 yards and 6 touchdowns (both career highs), and he became the first Wildcat quarterback since 2012 to have back-to-back 400+ yard passing performances. 

His six touchdown passes in a game also tie the Arizona school record which was originally set in 1982. De Laura is now 7-0 in his college career when throwing 3+ touchdowns. The Wildcats get their first win against Colorado since 2019, as they move back over the .500 mark on the season.

Arizona won the opening coin toss and elected to receive the first possession. They methodically went down the field, picking up 24 yards on a run from junior running back Michael Wiley, 12 on a key third down to sophomore receiver Dorian Singer, and 11 more yards on a pass from freshman receiver Tetairoa McMillan to de Laura. The drive was capped off by an 8-yard receiving touchdown by Wiley to put the Cats up 7-0.

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Following a 36-yard gain on a screen pass to Colorado freshman tailback Charlie Offerdahl, the Buffs converted a touchdown on a quarterback keeper by freshman Owen McCown from the 1-yard line to tie the game 7-7.

After another long drive 11 plays and 72 yards de Laura and the offense faced a fourth down and three to go from Colorado’s 3-yard line. De Laura wound up and fired it to junior receiver Jacob Cowing for the touchdown to put Arizona ahead 13-7. 

Cowing officially hit 3,000 yards receiving in his career with that catch and notched his seventh touchdown of the season. His 12 catches on the day are also the third-most in a single game in Arizona history. Jayden de Laura threw for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

After a Colorado three-and-out, Arizona advanced quickly to the Buffaloes' 3-yard line after Dorian Singer made a 47-yard catch to the right side of the field. The Wildcats could not convert, however, as they turned the ball over on downs after Wiley was stopped at the goal line.

They quickly got the ball back into Buffalo territory, however, after another Colorado punt followed by a 19-yard pass to McMillan and a 36-yard catch-and-run by Singer. De Laura went right back to Singer on the next play, finding him in the back-right of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown catch. 

Arizona elected to go for two points but could not convert, so the lead stayed 19-7 over Colorado midway through the second quarter.

De Laura threw his fourth touchdown of the first half to redshirt junior tight end Tanner McLachlan to put Arizona ahead 26-7 with 3:42 remaining, following gains of 24 and 25 yards on the drive from Cowing and senior running back DJ Williams. McLachlan broke free from a would-be tackler to then score from eight yards out.

The Buffaloes drove the field in only 50 seconds before the half ended and capped off the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Daniel Arias to cut the Wildcat lead to 26-13.

The Cats would also attempt to score on a last-gasp effort before halftime, but sophomore kicker Tyler Loop missed a field goal from 42 yards to keep the score 26-13 to Arizona at the break. Singer totaled 122 receiving yards on six catches and a touchdown in the first half alone as well.

The Arizona defense picked up a sack on third down and forced Colorado to punt after a three-and-out to start the second half.

On Arizona’s first offensive play of the second half, Jacob Cowing made a defender miss after making the catch and he ran with it 29 yards near midfield. The Cats quickly found themselves in the red zone after a 13-yard pickup to Singer on third down and they showed off some trickery as de Laura pitched it to Wiley. This was followed by a pass back to de Laura behind the line of scrimmage, and then into the end zone where de Laura found McMillan for the 23-yard touchdown catch. Arizona increased the lead to 33-13 over Colorado with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter. 

Colorado freshman receiver Jordyn Tyson made a 42-yard catch on the next drive, and the Buffs would eventually score on a 7-yard touchdown run to freshman tailback Anthony Hankerson to make it 33-20 for Arizona.

Arizona would make it 36-20 with 1:22 left in the third quarter on a Tyler Loop 29-yard field goal. A holding penalty on a DJ Williams run caused the offense to stall in the red zone.

Down by at least two scores early in the fourth quarter, Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell elected to go for it on fourth down and three but failed to convert, turning the ball over on downs to Arizona near midfield.

After taking over on the Arizona 43-yard line, de Laura made completions to Wiley, Cowing, and then Cowing once again to advance to the Colorado 17-yard line. Wiley made his second receiving touchdown of the game as he caught a pass from five yards out for the score to put Arizona up 43-20. A new career-high 6 touchdown passes for quarterback Jayden de Laura.

Colorado was driving deep into Arizona territory late in the fourth quarter until McCown was strip-sacked by fifth-year defensive end Hunter Echols. Arizona recovered the fumble for their seventh takeaway of the year. From there the Wildcats were able to run out the clock and get the win over the Colorado Buffaloes 43-20.

Up next for Arizona football is No. 13 University of Oregon next Saturday, Oct. 8, in Tucson.


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