On Friday night there was a lot of uncertainty on whether the Wildcats could win their first nonconference road game since 2001. After one night on the gridiron in Ohio, all those doubts were silenced with a convincing 41-2 victory over Toledo.
Arizona dominated and demoralized the Rockets of Toledo with a surprisingly dominant, defensive performance. Of what was percieved to be the Wildcats weakness, looked more like an obvious strength. Toledo only threatened to reach paydirt once, and that was well after the game was already in hand--late in the 4th quarter. Junior QB Nick Foles was simply magnificent, completing over 85% of his passes, and throwing for over 350 yards, with passes to 10 different recievers. No player on the field was more in control then Juron Criner, with 11 catches-- 2 of which landed on Friday night's Sporstcenter 'Top 10'. His receiving yards, 187, were more yards then the entire Toledo offense had all night (183). While the Wildcats struggled to get the running game established, there was no doubt that there passing game was superior. They should that they will once again be a force and a contender in the Pac-10 race this season.
What impressed me the most with this win was the play of the linebackers, who were supposed to struggle, not just in this game, but maybe all season. But they were fast, athletic, and looked the part of a top-line BCS defense. Paul Vassallo lead the way with 10 tackles, with sophomore Jake Fisher tallying 6 tackles, and even 1 sack. While Derek Earls only had 2 tackles (primarily because the Cats were in Dime and nickel packages all night), he did have one of the highlights of the evening, with a leaping one handed interception.
All-in-all, I was very impressed with this win particularly from the defensive side of things, and it defenitely looks like that date on September 18th vs. Iowa, is going to be a real battle. Next up for the Cats is The Citadel, this Saturday at 7pm MST in Arizona Stadium, and im sure that Zona Zoo will have that stadium rockin' like usual.
BEARDOWN!!! The Road to Pasadena continues...