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Arizona Wildcats report card: UA 24, Toledo 17 (OT)

2012-09-02T01:45:00Z 2012-09-02T07:16:52Z Arizona Wildcats report card: UA 24, Toledo 17 (OT)By Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

ARIZONA’S REPORT CARD

FINAL SCORE: Arizona 24, Toledo 17 (OT)

Quarterback: B+. Matt Scott was stellar in his first start since Oct. 30, 2010, completing 30 of 46 passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns and rushing 14 times for 74 yards. His 461 total yards of offense mark the third-best single-game performance in UA history; Willie Tuitama gained 512 against Washington in 2007, and Keith Smith went for 502 against Cal in 1996. Strange as it sounds, Scott’s numbers could have been much better; he overthrew a handful of receivers, and was intercepted once.

Running back: B+. Arizona’s spread-option offense relies on its running backs to make big plays, and Saturday was a good start. Ka’Deem Carey rushed for a career-high 147 yards on 20 carries, and scored a 73-yard touchdown. The sophomore averaged 7.3 yards per tote.

Wide receivers: C. Dan Buckner (10 catches, 116 yards) and Austin Hill (7 catches, 139 yards, TD) posted stellar numbers, and Terrence Miller (6 catches, 80 yards) grabbed the decisive touchdown in overtime. But the Cats’ receivers were responsible for two fumbles, and Richard Morrison dropped a first-quarter touchdown pass. That sloppiness won’t stand starting next week.

Offensive line: B+. Hard to knock a line that led Arizona to 624 total yards, the second-best performance in program history, all while allowing just two sacks. The group showed its versatility when guard Chris Putton — and then his replacement, Cayman Bundage — went down with injuries. Lene Maiava came off the bench to play significant snaps at tackle.

Front-six: B. For two units that were widely expected to be the team’s biggest weakness, the Wildcats’ defensive line and linebackers played surprisingly well. The Wildcats limited Toledo to just 3.8 yards per rush, and finished with two sacks — exactly 20 percent of last year’s season total. Linebacker Jake Fischer played every defensive snap, forced a fumble and finished with a team-high 13 tackles. First-time linebacker Marquis Flowers finished with 10 tackles and 1 ½ sacks. And Sir Thomas Jackson was a royal surprise, racking up seven tackles in the first extended game action of his career.

Back-five: C. Arizona’s new-look secondary broke up seven Toledo passes and held strong when it needed a stop in overtime. Safety Jared Tevis finished with 12 tackles, and Shaquille Richardson overcame an early torching to make a few nice plays.

Special teams: D+. The Wildcats’ kicking woes continue. John Bonano missed two field goals inside of 30 yards, including a 25-yarder that would have won the game on the final play of regulation. On the bright side, Kyle Dugandzic averaged 43.5 yards on four punts, and quarterback Matt Scott turned a “quick kick” into a 54-yard punt.

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