Arizona Wildcats bounce back in rout over NAU Lumberjacks
TUCSON, Ariz. — Gary Brightwell ran for 141 yards and a touchdown on five carries, Khalil Tate accounted for three scores and Arizona bounced back from a disappointing opening loss by routing Northern Arizona 65-41 on Saturday night.
Arizona (1-1) had an extra week off to think about its opening loss to Hawaii.
The Wildcats took it out on the FCS Lumberjacks (1-1), scoring on their first seven drives and racking up 517 yards while setting a school record for points in a half for a 51-13 halftime lead.
Arizona had 720 yards of total offense, 431 rushing. Brightwell scored on a 94-yard run, Darrius Smith scored twice, and J.J. Taylor ran for 102 yards and a touchdown.
Tate hit 14 of 17 passes for 138 yards and threw two touchdowns to Tayvian Cunningham before being replaced by Grant Gunnell with 7:56 left in the second quarter. Tate played two series in the third quarter before sitting for good.
Coming off an opening win against Missouri State, Northern Arizona had a few good offensive moments against Arizona, but dug too a deep of an early hole to ever have much of a chance.
Case Cookus threw for 373 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Lumberjacks.
Arizona’s onslaught started from the opening drive, when Tate hit Cunningham on a 47-yard score. Next series, Taylor broke free for a 49-yard run, then scored on a 25-yard burst up the middle.
Brightwell made it 21-0 midway through the first quarter, making one defender miss and racing past the rest on a 94-yard touchdown run, tied for second-longest in school history.
Gunnell stepped in and threw TD passes on his first two collegiate drives, hitting Drew Dixon on a 9-yarder and Thomas Reid III on a 75-yarder. Gunnell added a 1-yard TD pass to Smith in the fourth quarter to put Arizona up 65-27.
Northern Arizona never stood much of a chance against the bigger, faster Wildcats, but the experience could help once the Big South season hits.
Arizona bounced back nicely from the Hawaii loss with a dominating performance, even if it was against an FCS opponent.
Northern Arizona hosts Western New Mexico next Saturday.
Arizona hosts Texas Tech next Saturday.