Before Saturday’s game against Washington State, Arizona safety Will Parks said this matchup was a chance for the Wildcats to “pad the stat book for everybody.”
The tongue-in-cheek quip was a little cocky, sure, but after the show the Wildcats put on in Pullman, Parks’ comment turned out to be more of an accurate prediction in a 59-37 blowout victory for No. 15 Arizona.
All the padding the Wildcats could’ve wanted was taken care of in the first quarter alone — and the rest was just plain fun.
What’d the victory look like by the numbers?
Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon threw five touchdowns to five different receivers before getting pulled in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach in the Wildcats’ favor.
Solomon threw for 282 yards and no interceptions in the matchup and went 26-38 on the night. In the first quarter alone, he was 15-19 for 169 yards and two touchdowns.
Conversely, Connor Halliday threw his 500th pass of the year in the fourth quarter on Saturday night, and went 56-79 with 489 yards for four TDs and two interceptions on the night.
Arizona’s defense flew all over the field, as standout linebacker Scooby Wright sacked Halliday three times and added eight tackles for loss to his stellar statistics. He also forced three fumbles, and was assisted in his defensive effort by both Parks and cornerback Cam Denson, who snagged an interception apiece.
The Wildcats held the Cougars scoreless until 6:36 left in the first half.
Terris Jones-Grigsby led Arizona on the ground with 107 yards on 13 carries, averaging 8.6 yards per carry to assist with the Wildcats’ total of 159 rushing yards on 35 rushes.
Wazzu attempted only 20 rushes and managed a meager 54 yards — the Cougars also scored their fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
Arizona capitalized on Washington State mistakes, racking up 14 points off of two Cougars turnovers.
Wazzu actually put up 92 more yards than Arizona as well as eight more first downs and 25 more plays, plus possessed the ball for almost 10 more minutes total. But a quick start and defensive domination sealed the solid victory for Arizona.
The Wildcats improved to 6-1 and thus became bowl-eligible for the third straight year in as many seasons under head coach Rich Rodriguez.
And finally, it was Dad’s Weekend at Wazzu when the Wildcats came to town. A part of the festivities included the annual “pumpkin drop”, during which the gourds were chucked off the roof of a 50-foot building. With four sacks and two interceptions on the night in another loss, Halliday just may feel like one of those pumpkins Sunday morning.