UA football sets school-record 787 yards to bury UNLV

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                </div>  The Arizona Wildcats football team just beat UNLV in the season opener, 58-13.  That’s the exact same score of last year’s Sept. 7 game that was played at Sam […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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The Arizona Wildcats football team just beat UNLV in the season opener, 58-13.  That’s the exact same score of last year’s Sept. 7 game that was played at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.

That’s kinda scary.

But probably not nearly as scary as the way the Cats did it this year – at least if you were on the Rebels’ side of the field.

Arizona piled up 393 yards of total offense in just the first half to take a 24-6 lead at halftime.  And then, after the Rebels had a chance to catch their breath during intermission and make some adjustments, the roof fell in again when Anu Solomon found wide receiver Austin Hill on a 92-yard pass play for another touchdown that dashed any hope the visitors had for getting back in the game.

The Cats finished the game with 787 yards of total offense to break a school record that had stood for 45 years.

Neither Solomon nor Hill were participants last year.  Solomon was roaming the sidelines as the back-up quarterback to B.J. Denker and the redshirt senior Hill was nursing a torn ACL that kept him out the full season.

Solomon emerged just this week from a pack of four starter hopefuls to get the nod from head coach Rich Rodriguez to start under center for yesterday’s opener.  And the youngster from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas made his coach look like a genius.

Playing his first college game in front of a raucous crowd of 50.103 fans in Arizona Stadium, he completed 25 of his 44 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns, becoming the first freshman (true or redshirt) to ever start a season opener at Arizona.  He broke the freshman record of 418 yards in a single game that was set back in 1969 and now finds himself on the school’s all-time list in a tie with Nick Foles for ninth place.

Another 50 yards rushing gave him 475 total to claim the No. 4 spot on that list.

“Anu did a good job keeping his poise,” his third-year head coach said in analyzing his performance after the game.  “He didn’t seem nervous. Mentally, he was pretty sharp.”

But it was so much more than just Solomon that will keep the UNLV coaching staff up all night wondering what they could have done differently.

Solomon spread the passes around, using 10 different receivers to give the UNLV secondary fits. Two of them piled up more than 100 years each, as Hill had three completions for 110 yards and sophomore Samajie Grant pulled in four passes for 101 yards.

And the ground game was just as productive, with senior Terris Jones-Grigsby rushing for 124 yards on 13 carries and freshman Nick Wilson adding 104 yards on seven carries.  That brought back memories of last year when Denker and running back Ka’Deem Carey each notched 100 years in a November game.

It was the first time the Arizona program has had two players rush for 100 yards and two with 100 yards receiving in the same game.

Arizona’s offense had a huge rushing advantage, 353 to 119 yards; averaged better than eight yards a play; and its defense held the Rebels to 5.2 yards a play and limited their third-down conversions to just four out of 15 attempts.  Scooby Wright III led the Cats with eight tackles and a sack.

It was a game of total domination on a day when everything seemed to go according to the script.

Like we said… kinda scary.

(Photo: Arizona Athletics)