The UA’s report card for its 42-16 home win over Oregon.
Quarterbacks: A: It’s hard to imagine B.J. Denker playing any better than he did against the Ducks. The senior made the right reads all game long and took what the defense gave him. He finished 19 for 22 for 178 yards and two touchdowns and added 102 yards on the ground on 14 carries. He was poised and in control for all four quarters and put together the best quarterback performance of the season against Oregon. The UA needed a masterful performance from its quarterback to shock No. 5 Oregon and got it from Denker, who went over the 2,000 passing yards for the season.
Running backs: A: If Saturday was Ka’Deem Carey’s final game in Tucson, it was a heck of a way to go out. The Canyon del Oro High School product finished with 206 yards and four touchdowns on a career-high 48 carries. His 48 carries were the most by an FBS running back this season. As he normally does, Carey got better as the game went on and was a force in the fourth quarter when the Ducks defense was starting to get tired. It’s the fourth time in Carey’s career he’s gone over 200 yards in a game, but first time he’s done it against someone other than Colorado or Utah. The junior was at his absolute best against a talented Oregon defense.
Wide receivers: B+: The wide receivers put together a very solid performance in the dominating win over the Ducks. Senior Terrence Miller had his best game of the season, catching nine passes for 88 yards and his first touchdown of the season. He was a reliable target all game for Denker and made tacklers miss in the open field. Freshman Nate Phillips caught his team-leading seventh touchdown pass of the season and finished with three catches for 32 yards. Samajie Grant had three catches for 38 yards and Trey Griffey had three for 25.
Offensive line: A: From the press box, this seemed like the offensive line’s best game of the season. Denker wasn’t sacked once and more important than that — he wasn’t rushed much. He had time to make decisions and was rarely flustered by Oregon’s front. Carey often made his own holes, but the line paved the way for him plenty and was stronger than Oregon’s front in the second half when it needed to be. Mickey Baucus appeared to hurt his leg in the first quarter, but never missed a play and locked down the left tackle spot. Fabbians Ebbele also had a strong game at the other tackle spot.
Front six: A-: Oregon still got its yards, but this group clamped down when it had to. All three starting linebackers had strong games. Jake Fischer had a team-high 14 tackles, including one for a loss. Marquis Flowers was active all game and getting pressure on Marcus Mariota. He finished with eight tackles. Scooby Wright, a week after not playing much against Washington State, had an interception on the first play of the game and had six tackles, one going for a loss. The defensive line didn’t get a ton of stats, but they were solid all game. End Sione Tuihalamaka, who finished with five tackles, had a couple of important open-field tackles on running back De’Anthony Thomas.
Back five: A: It was important for Oregon to have some turnovers in order for Arizona to earn a victory on Saturday and the back five made that happen. Shaq Richardson was great, forcing an interception on the first play of the game and then getting his own in the fourth quarter. Jared Tevis and Tra’Mayne Bondurant each forced fumbles and Jourdon Grandon recovered one. Jonathan McKnight had five tackles and a pass breakup and the secondary didn’t give up any big plays in the win.
Special teams: B: Drew Riggleman bounced back from a tough game last week, averaging 44.7 yards on three punts and landing one inside the 20. Denker also had a pooch punt, which traveled 44 yards and landed inside the five. Jake Smith didn’t attempt any field goals, but was perfect on his extra point attempts. He averaged 55.1 yards on kickoffs with no touchbacks. The only return was a 16-yard kickoff return by Samajie Grant.