What went right
For possibly the first time this season, the WSU defense held its own. Though helped when Arizona quarterback Nick Foles was knocked from the game in the second quarter, WSU yielded 352 yards of total offense – only 101 after halftime. That’s 55 yards less than any game this season. The group, led by safety Tyree Toomer’s two sacks off the blitz, got to UA quarterbacks a season-high six times.
What went wrong
The offensive line once again had trouble keeping the Arizona front four off of quarterback Jeff Tuel. With pressure coming mainly from the outside, he was sacked a season-high seven times and pressured many others. The Cougars were also flagged three times for holding. The 35 yards in losses from sacks was doubled by losses on other running plays, leading to WSU having just 40 yards on 34 carries.
Down just 14-0 at the half, WSU got the ball to start the second half. On second-and-4 from his 29, Tuel tried to connect with Daniel Blackledge, open deep in the Arizona secondary. But the pass was just a hair too high and Blackledge couldn’t come down with it. Ricky Elmore broke through for a sack on third down, Reid Forrest dropped the snap on fourth, and, a Nic Grigsby 7-yard run later, Arizona was up 21-0.
Keola Antolin came into the game as the Wildcats’ third option in the running attack, having carried the ball 25 times for 126 yards. But Saturday the 5-foot-8, 186-pound junior was a workhorse, getting 21 carries and gaining 92 yards. He also scored Arizona’s first two touchdowns. “We wanted to come out with a running game and we did,” Antolin said. The Wildcats finished with 142 yards on 47 carries.