The Arizona Wildcats concluded their regular season with a loss in the Territorial Cup, against long time rival, Arizona State University. With a final score of 41-34, the Wildcats wrapped up their season with a 7-5 record and a 4-5 record within the Pac-12.
Improving from their 4-8 record of last season, the Cats did make some major strides under first year coach, Rich Rodriguez. The most notable change between seasons is that this year, Arizona is bowl-eligible due to having the required six wins needed to be considered for a bowl. In addition, the Wildcats were able to go in and out of the top-25 rankings throughout the season, losing their final game as the 24th best team in the nation.
The most evident changes that coach Rodriguez brought were wins against Oklahoma State, USC, Washington, Utah and Colorado, which were all teams that beat the Wildcats the season prior. However, Rodriguez and the team were not able to beat conference foes, UCLA and Arizona State, who were beaten by the Cats last season.
When it comes to the statistical part of the game, Arizona made a dent in nearly every major category. The most impressive number all season was 25. That is the number of Sophomore running back, Ka’Deem Carey who graduated from Canyon Del Oro high school in 2010.
Carey put up remarkable numbers as he led the entire nation with 1,757 rushing yards and was among the best in rushing touchdowns. In fact, he is tied for fifth in the nation with total points at 126.
Along with Carey, much of the Wildcats success this season is in part because of the success of senior quarterback, Matt Scott and his top receiver, Austin Hill. Scott ranks 21st when it comes to passing yards, however much of his success came from scrambling and making plays by running. In the meantime, Hill accounted for over one third of Scott’s passing yards and nine of his 24 touchdowns, ranking him ninth in total receiving yards.
In the end, the Wildcats have to be happy with their improvement from last season, but must still be disappointed with some of the games they lost. The inconsistency and failure to beat the best teams in the Pac-12 seems to be a re-occurring theme with Arizona football.
Although they were able to beat ranked teams such as Oklahoma State and USC, Arizona simply failed to string a couple of key wins together. For that reason, the Wildcats continue to fall towards the bottom half of the Pac-12 and continue to come up short of being considered an elite team.
However, the season is not completely over. The Arizona Wildcats are projected to play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on December 15th against the Nevada Wolf Pack to finally conclude their season.